Don’t you love that definition? Even though our Declaration of Independence imbues us with the inalienable right to pursue happiness, I think too often we get stuck in the pursuit phase and never sit down to enjoy the blessings our Creator surrounds us with every day.
If I just get this new job, I’ll be happy.
If I just hit the bestseller list, I’ll be happy.
If my ill child will get well, I’ll be happy.
If the pain will go away, I’ll be happy.
Philippians 4 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible because it is so full of joy. Verses 4-7 acknowledge that worry is a part of the human condition, but we can choose to rejoice anyway, to focus on thanksgiving and thereby gain a peace that defies human understanding. This is how Paul can claim to be content in all circumstances (v. 11), and he teaches us how to do the same – by changing what we think about. We are to think about whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy (vs. 8-9). Hard to do when politics are so ugly and cancer is running rampant and Satan throws flaming darts of worry at us over and over again.
Sometimes, we need to turn off all the noise and negativity and intentionally find something lovely or admirable to focus on. That’s what I did this past weekend. I spent a few precious moments dancing with monarchs.
Texas is the main funnel for the monarch butterfly’s migration path to Mexico for the winter months. So in the fall, I have the joy of being in the midst of hundreds of specimens of God’s most lovely of creatures. Yet my daily schedule too often distracts me from this beauty. This weekend, as I was rushing off to the grocery store, I happened to notice that one of my neighbors had dozens of butterflies flitting about the flowers at the edge of her yard. So, I made a plan. As soon as I returned from the store, I was going to walk down to her house and enjoy the dancing show.
So I did. I only stayed for about 10 minutes, but that short time changed my entire outlook for the day. I had focused on something lovely, and I felt better for it. Hope had a stronger grip on my spirit, and that peace that surpasses understanding blessed my day.
I hope you enjoy the pictures and find a moment in your day to stop and discover your own piece of loveliness. Maybe it’s a dandelion growing through a sidewalk crack or a cloud shaped like a crocodile or a smile on the face of someone you pass in the hall. Even if you are in the middle of something incredibly hard, take a minute to look. God surrounds us with blessings if we will only open our eyes and see.
So what about you?
- What are some of your favorite lovely things to think about?