This has been a struggle for years. I have always thought that being happy meant needing or having something substantial, having an impressive resume of life’s accomplishments. I found out the hard way that I was very wrong.
I had an awesome job, making well over six figures, single, an apartment downtown, walking distance to clubs and bars, friends, family, I packed up and traveled anytime I felt like it, I was able to pay bills, buy anything I wanted, and still have money left over. I had a drop top convertible that I loved to drive in the summer time. Outside looking in, I had it made. I was on top of the world. But I was MISERABLE! As I am typing this and thinking about my past, there is no way I would want to go back to that time in my life.
Every morning I would wake up and try to thank God for waking me up just so I could have some sense of inner peace and appreciation of my blessings because externally, I had nothing to complain about. My prayer wasn’t heartfelt and He knew it. I would walk to work, headphones on and head held high looking like I was happy and jamming to a song when really what was playing on my ipod was John P Kee’s “Comfort Me Lord” or CeCe Winans “He’s Concerned About You”. I would go into work hoping today will be better than the last when honestly all of my days were the exactly the same from start to finish. My days were a blur and honestly I can’t remember what happened at work from one day to the next. My name was very popular in the workplace. I was very busy all the time with meetings, leading a team of people offshore, leading projects and initiatives in the office. Outside looking in, I made some major accomplishments. Honestly I felt like I accomplished nothing. If you were to interview me and ask me what was my greatest accomplishment during this time at my job, I honestly wouldn’t be able to tell you. There would be a blank look on my face. Everyday I would ask myself, who am I helping? What am I doing to make a difference? What is my purpose? The more I asked myself those questions, the more depressed I became.
That was only my work life. My personal life was worse. I would come home looking out my balcony contemplating on whether I should jump. I had friends, family, men that were interested in me, but I was so lonely. I had a bookcase full of Joyce Meyer and other Christian life books, 4 different versions of the bible, journals full of years of letters to God and they were all sitting there collecting dust. I would just stare at them telling myself I should crack open one of the books but I would just delay it and say “maybe tomorrow”. I thought maybe if I decorated my apartment that could bring some personal fulfilment. A smile to my face. I went out and spent over a thousand dollars on wall decor, a new tv, new furniture for my bedroom and that didn’t help at all. All that did was just make my friends compliment my place when they came to visit but it did nothing for me. At that point, I spent nights crying because I just could not understand why I was so unhappy. I felt so empty with no substance. I had no meaning. I felt that if you were to look up my name in the dictionary, the definition would be blank. So finally I decided to crack open one of my dusty journals and write.
During this time, I was teaching dance fitness on the side. I always loved to dance so it was an outlet for me. It was really my passion but I felt I couldn’t make any money off of it alone so I didn’t put my all into it. One night in my journal I asked God the same question that I always ask, what is my purpose? I am not sure if He had been answering my question and I was not hearing Him but I definitely heard him the next day. I went to class and there was an abundance of people there. It overflowed!!! There was literally no room to move. But that wasn’t why I was excited. It was like God turned my head and said “look”. I noticed people were congregating. Talking, laughing with each other. There was a sense of community there. My students have gotten to know each other and some were even exchanging phone numbers! Then it clicked. Those questions I had ..what is my purpose, who am I helping, what am I doing to make a difference..those questions were being answered right there in that moment. I had a sense of fulfillment, a sense of purpose. The weight of depression was lifted but not all the way gone...yet. The ironic thing was this realization wasn’t about me. It was about my students. I wanted to give myself and my time to making them happy, making sure they left my class with a smile on their face. I wasn’t concerned about weight goals or anything. I just wanted to make them smile. When I saw them smile, I smiled and it was heartfelt. My happiness came from sensing others happiness and knowing God working through me was what made it happen.
Finally Truly Happy
So I made the best decision I have ever made and the dumbest decision the world would say I made. I quit my job and gave up my 6 figure salary. To make it worse by the world’s standards, I don’t even make much doing dance fitness. I actually come out of pocket more than I have money going into my pocket. I even teach for free alot! But I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I am the happiest I have ever been. I don’t have a sense of needing anything anymore. I realized everything I felt I needed was actually what I wanted. I now understand what a blessing really is. My job, nice apartment, nice car, money were all blessings yes, but I could do without those and I have. The real blessing I have is love, peace, and my favorite..serenity. Because of this realization, I now have a husband, 2 children who smile at me everyday, a nice home, my community of students and I have never been happier and that is truly from the heart.
My dad used to say “I would rather be broke and happy than have a million and be miserable.” I thought he was insane until now. I get it. What I learned was to be happy no matter where I am in life and to see the beauty in everything. If you are able to wake up and smile, go outside and take the time to notice how beautiful it is, and most of all say a prayer thanking God and meaning it from the bottom of your heart and smiling while thanking Him. That’s internal happiness.