Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Two Kinds of Ice Cream

This is part of a series of posts on the book Behind Those Eyes. It was written by Lisa Whittle and is being hosted over a Lelia's site. This week was on "Ms. Happiness."

I do not know the musician or all the words. But there is part of a song that has stuck in my head since about 5th or 6th grade. Here's what I know: "Happiness is two kinds of ice cream, finding your skate key, telling the time. Happiness is learning to whistle and tying your shoe for the very first time . . . ." Wow, just think, Steak-n-Shake must have heard that song too when they started their side-by-side milkshakes. I'll take my happiness as chocolate and strawberry please.

Wouldn't it be nice if happiness were that simple? Maybe as a child it is enough. Children get joy out of the simplest of things. But as an adult, telling the time usually means we are running late because we couldn't find the car keys and there aren't two items in the house to make an edible meal.

So, just like Lisa writes, we pretend. We put on our happy faces and pretend that we are okay. "How are you?"

"Fine, great. You?'

"Good. Your husband?"

We go on pretending to be happy, but every time we pretend, we sink a bit deeper into the muck. Pretending to be happy is like trying to tread quick sand. There's no on to pull you out because they're all convinced that you two kinds of ice cream have satisfied.

I love the distinction Lisa makes between happiness and joy. There is such a huge difference. She quotes CS Lewis: "We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition, when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by an offer of a holiday at the sea."

That is so me. My friend Sandy once described my relationship with God like that. God wanting to cleanse me but me only willing to stick my foot in lest I make the ocean dirty -- never imagining it was a well spring of living water. Hopefully, I've changed since then, but that image has stuck with me.

I am the child happy with the mud pies or two kinds of ice cream. Because of that, I miss out on joy in a deep and lasting way. I go on pretending to be happy even when I'm not.

God calls us to put off the pretending and find joy -- not happiness -- in Him. Lisa writes:

Because while happiness cannot readily be achieved and is often impersonated, the reality is joy that comes from our heavenly Father is easily achieved and readily offered.

The rub is admitting I'm not happy and that I need God to give me that joy. God, please pour out your joy on all of us.





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10 comments:

Darlene said...

"God wanting to cleanse me but me only willing to stick my foot in lest I make the ocean dirty -- never imagining it was a well spring of living water."

Oh, this is sooo good. That will stick with me, as well! What a great analogy.

Glad to be on this journey with you,
Darlene

Kim@Seasons of My Heart said...

I'm so thankful that my Jesus is willing to cleanse me....and usher me into his presence where I can find healing.

I loved your quote about the ocean/springs of living water. Very powerful.

Joyful said...

Amy, I know that song too! Click here for your lyrics, http://www.musicsonglyrics.com/L/leasalongalyrics/leasalongahappinessduetwithgerardsalongalyrics.htm

I love the verse in the Psalms that says, "In His presence is fullness of joy".

Becoming His,
Joy

Jill said...

Great words! I can relate to the pretending, but also have had a touch of the living water and know that's what He wants for us. Praying for that joy as well.

nothingcanseparateme said...

It was easier as a child to find happiness in the simplest of things before "life" knocked on our door. May be we should go back to being a child just for a time....

I pray that you will find joy in this day!

blessings,
Kim

Paula (SweetPea) said...

As I stated in my post, I first really began to look at happiness and joy so distinctively different when my pastor preached about it. Ever since I realized as he said God is not concerned with our happiness, I've really tried to stop focusing on that since HE is not. Rather, I want God to fill me with His joy. I often wonder if I really even know what that feels like. Yes, I feel I felt it in spurts and in moments but not on a consistent basis.

Paula said...

Hi Amy, I love this - "God wanting to cleanse me but me only willing to stick my foot in lest I make the ocean dirty -- never imagining it was a well spring of living water." What struck me here is that although I long to swim in His living water, part of me thinks that I will muddy the water with my past if I do. He loves me, mud and all, so I need to honour Him and do the same. A tough call but one that I am working towards.

We need to forget the mud pies and concentrate on the ice-cream. We deserve so much more than gritty, horrid tasting pies! I have to admit that I don't feel happy today; hence why I've removed myself from the world and am working alone in an office today, but I can feel God's joy working deep (and I mean DEEP) down inside. I just need to get passed me to let His joy shine.

Love your post, and love doing this journey with you. In Him, Paula

Carol said...

Amy, what a honest and open post. I love what you said "God wanting to cleanse me but me only willing to stick my foot in lest I make the ocean dirty -- never imagining it was a well spring of living water."

Isn't it true we try to get all cleaned up before coming to Him like He needs us to do that. A pastor friend once said to a group in a recovery service we don't get in the bath tub clean folks.

I'm glad to be on this journey with you, and finding our joy with Jesus.

Carol

Lelia Chealey said...

Pretending to be happy is like trying to tread quick sand.


Loved that & loved what you said about getting the ocean dirty.

You are such a blessing Amy. Great truthful post.

Pamela (MrsJoeB) said...

Amen amy!! I choose His joy over my happiness any day.

In his Graces~Pamela