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Your Morning Cup of Inspiration

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Very often, when I become overwhelmed by life, I stop and ask myself, “Why are you running yourself ragged? Who are you trying to impress?”  Typically, the answer is that I am trying to impress other people.

Trying to impress others is a recipe for stress. For instance, I have a friend who lives in a gorgeous, historic home.  It is quite impressive!  He loves the house, but often refers to it as the albatross around his neck.  It involves an incredible amount of work to maintain, and its repairs can be costly.

Likewise, having an important job has its perks – money, prestige, etc. But there is a personal cost that goes along with high powered jobs.  Typically, they are high-pressured, and involve long hours, business travel, and less time with one’s family and friends.

And trying to be beautiful or handsome by the world’s standards is a losing battle. We all age, and with aging, our faces and bodies naturally change – and generally not for the better.  Unfortunately, there is no diet, surgery or magic skin cream that can stop that.

So, trying to impress the world is a good way to be frustrated. Instead, if you want to be happy, try impressing God.  The things that impress God are the same things that make us happier.  They are the same things that make us better human beings and improve our relationships with others.

For example, God is not concerned with the size of your house or your bank account. He is concerned with whether you are kind to other human beings, animals and the planet.  God doesn’t care what kind of job you have.  He does care about whether you have developed the qualities of self-control and patience.  God isn’t impressed with whether you are physically beautiful.  Rather, he cares about whether you exhibit the qualities of goodness and gentleness.

When we work to impress God, then, we are working for those things that ultimately will make us happier people in the long term. When we focus on developing the “fruit of the Spirit” – love, kindness, self-control, peace, gentleness, faithfulness, patience, joy and goodness – we are laying the foundation for a happy life.  We aren’t working for the momentary joy that comes from getting a fancy car or a bigger house.  Instead, we are working toward developing the skills that we need for better relationships with others.  We are working toward becoming more relaxed and peaceful individuals.  We are developing those qualities that will allow us to be personally successful, not merely financially successful.

I’ve seen this simple lesson at work in my own life. Whenever I attain things that are impressive by the world’s standards, the joy is fleeting.  My new car was exciting for about a week.  After that, it was just a way to get from Point A to Point B.  However, as I’ve developed my faith in God, I’ve become better equipped to handle whatever life throws at me.  Similarly, as I’ve worked at being more patient, I’ve become a better wife and mother.  So, I know I my efforts are best spent on impressing God.  When I do so, I am working at achieving “the right” things.

This week, think about the areas of your life in which you are feeling stress. Are you overwhelmed because you are working to impress others?  Or are you trying to impress God?  Remember that when we work to impress God, we are on the path to being truly happy.

(Photo Courtesy of Pexels)

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