Where is your “Happy Place?”

When you think “Happy Place” do you think of your toes sinking in the sand while hearing the roar of the waves? Do you envision the sky painting a picture of colors as the sun sinks behind craggy mountaintops? Do you feel the rush of the wind against your cheeks on a boat zipping through a lake’s waters, or as you zigzag down a snowy ski slope?

Is it your family gathered around the dinner table laughing and talking? Is it you cheering a child or grandchild at an athletic competition, academic endeavor or an artistic recital? Is it in a museum, at a dance performance, or listening to your favorite band?

Do you find your “Happy Place” in front of your computer? Curled up with a good book? Or laughing at your favorite TV sitcom?

Where is your “Happy?” Watching an “all-ends-well” Hallmark movie? Hugging a puppy? Holding a newborn?

Do you put your “Happy” on while riding a roller coaster at an amusement park? Serving others in need? Exploring an exotic travel location?

Perhaps hiking on trails surrounded by trees, walking through a botanical garden full of colorful blossoms, or seeing a waterfall flow over boulders is where you find a “Happy Place.” Maybe you experience beauty, happiness and tranquility most in the outdoors.

Can your “Happy Place” be found when hearing good news? Celebrating a friend’s accomplishment? Giving your best effort?
How about cheering victors at a ballgame? Gathering with friends for fun?

It’s become popular to talk about retreating to a “Happy Place” in times of trial, difficulties and stress. That, of course, is meant as a metaphorical place that one envisions in his or her mind. Certainly, it’s no surprise that as humans we seek to escape from heartache that hurts, words that wound, and conflicts and confrontations that cut to our very core.

The reality is that no place, no person, no possession can make us deeply, continuously happy here on earth. All of those can bring happiness and enjoyable moments into our lives, but none of those can be all things to us.

The Happy Place is within us. It is within our mind as we fill it with knowledge and wisdom and experiences – and memories. It is within our heart as we fill it with love, emotion, and empathy. It is within our souls as we come to know the God who is creator, healer, giver and forgiver. As we understand and experience a love deeper than we can imagine, a forgiveness greater than we deserve, a hope higher than a mountaintop, we find true joy.

Nothing’s wrong with going to a real place that makes us happy, or taking a mental vacation to visualize something that makes us feel better. Both can be enjoyable, allow us to develop perspective, and even give us a break from the real world. But we can’t stay on vacation forever – soon that would stress us out with the expense and the lack of purpose. And, we can’t zone out for extended periods of time when responsibilities loom.

We can, however, find real peace and abiding joy in the One who created all beauty, in the One who cherishes relationships, in the One who chose to offer us peace and mercy through His son, Jesus. It is in God’s presence and in His purpose that we find a joy-full life – a “Happy Place” on earth, and an eternal place of joy in heaven.

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.                   Psalm 16:11 NIV  

In what ways did you experience happiness this week?”

What “Happy Place” has been a refuge for you?

Is spending time with God in His Word, prayer or worship a “Happy Place” for you? If not, why not?

As you seek your “Happy Place” my prayer is …
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 NIV

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