Want to be happy?
If you can pull these four things off, you have a shot.
- Think of something you need to buy this week. Buy it next month.
- Pick a week and be in bed for at least 10 hours each night. No screens, no books, just reflect and sleep.
- Think about your favorite thing to do. Stop doing it until you read a complete book, cover to cover.
- Call in sick and skip work for a day. Take $100 if you have it, less if you don’t. Spend the time and money — no more, no less — on someone you care about.
Each of these activities requires of you to practice the elusive act of RESTRAINT.
While it may be difficult to do, if you can get good and not getting what you want, according to Jeff Sibel of USA Today (1), you’ve got a shot at not only being happy but becoming wealthier, having less debt, curbing addiction, and experiencing overall satisfaction with your life.
I’ll go a step further.
Restraint will do wonders for your spiritual life as well.
Some Things Just Take Time
- It took JRR Tolkien seventeen years to write The Lord of the Rings.
- It took two-hundred years to build The Great Wall of China
- It took Michelangelo twenty-six years to sculpt the Statue of David.
Although God showed off his ability to accomplish quite a lot in a short amount of time by throwing this place together in six days, He seems to work on a timeline similar to mere mortals when crafting most of His other masterpieces.
- It took God thirteen years for God promote Joseph from the pit to the palace.
- It took God thirty years to open Sarah’s womb after promising she and Abram a son.
- It took God forty-three years bring Moses back from exile to Pharaoh’s court with the message,“Let my people go.”
In each case, more than a little restraint was required of each worshipper during the extended periods of waiting that they were forced to endure.
In fact, Abram’s lapse of restraint in the case of siring Ishmael through his servant Hagar is a testament to not only how difficult the waiting period can be, but also how grave the consequences are when we tire of the bog, throw off restraint, and take matters into our own hands. (2)
But thankfully, as was the case with Abraham, the realization of the fullness of God’s promise has less to do with our perfection and more to do with our faithful endurance and perseverance.
This is something I need to be reminded of quite often.
Although I’m not in the same spiritual company as these three biblical characters, I’ve been waiting on some things long enough to have experienced not just frustration, but anxiety, desperation, and even disillusionment.
Here’s a snapshot of my waiting list:
- My son has had epilepsy for four years.
- My day job has increased in pressure and emotional drain for six years but not in pay.
- I’ve been in a ministry holding pattern for three years.
- I’ve been waiting on God to provide financial relief for…I lost count.
These things aren’t just marginal “wants” that gather indifferently on the outskirts of my mind. Instead, they are core to my identity and the wellbeing of my family and future.
They weigh on me daily.
These are prayers whose answer I desperately long for.
My faith in regards to these things ebbs and flows.
Sometimes I maintain a nice rhythm of trusting in God’s process wholly and completely.
Others…well, sometimes I just get fed up with the whole thing.
I start unbuckling the restraint harness and ready myself to take matters into my own hands.
After all, I could do sooooo much better.
But at the last minute, God’s grace somehow pulls me back, harnesses me back in, and persuades me against my will to keep waiting just a little while longer.
What might you be waiting on?
- Are you waiting for God to heal you of a chronic sickness?
- Are you waiting for God to send you a spouse?
- Are you waiting for God to open a ministry door?
- Are you waiting for God to bring financial provision?
- Are you waiting for God to resolve a family conflict?
In what ways are you required to RESTRAIN yourself in order to stay in alignment with His plan?
How secure is your harness?
Buckle-up. It’s the law.
- “Want to be successful and happy? Restrain yourself.” Jeff Sibel, USA Today, December 8th, 2017.
- Genesis chapter 16 – KJV
Get unstuck by believing the TRUTH about yourself.