When I was a little girl, the answer to “what would make you happy dear?” was never the same, though ice cream, a new Barbie and all the Lego in the world were regulars. As I got older the answer changed to a slightly more difficult ideal, namely world domination, but the theme remained the same, my happiness could be bought by one thing. The clock did not stop and as I got older my pursuit of happiness became more of a paragraph than one or two words. It would ring something like this “I will be satisfied when I earn enough to live comfortably, I have two healthy children, I am slender and fit and my husband is handsome and loves me” wait I am not done “when I am in a church where I can serve my fellow man, I am well read in philosophy, art and world history, I have a master’s degree and two great danes, two cats a cockatiel and a hedgehog, a house I designed myself and finally (for now atleast) 3 world tours behind me. My ticket to happiness became everything, or what Oprah would call a balanced life.
I have often heard people say something along the lines of “I had everything but there was still an emptiness, a God-shaped hole in my heart.” They go on to explain how happy they are now that that hole has also been filled. That is nice, but I believe in something better.
What I believe about God’s place in our lives can be explained through the following metaphor; Imagine God gives us at birth a ball of clay, this clay represents our talents, personality and everything else we are born with. As life progresses more clay is added; life experiences, friends, knowledge, partners jobs etc. We use this clay to fill a mould that represents our hearts. This mould has been formed by expectations, pride, hurt… We struggle to fill our heart mould with the clay we have, holes remain and we have to start filling them. Enter husband, charity work, and extra hours at the office, God. We believe we now have a full life, but why aren’t we happy with it? We shuffle the bits of clay around stretch it here and there, even try to reshape the mould. Still…
The answer to this nagging search for happiness, a full heart, lies not with the clay, but the mould. When we respond to God’s knock on the door, we should not ask for his bit of clay to add to our own, but we should surrender and accept the perfect gift, a God shaped mould.
The beauty of a God shaped mould is that He has designed a mould unique to each person. He takes into account everything you have. Everything you don’t have. God in His majesty designs a mould that fits perfectly inside you. The wonder of God is that He doesn’t stop there, He takes our clay and over time He kneads the clay, takes the parts that life handed you as hurt or disappointment away. He adds colour in the form of understanding and forgiveness. He spreads it out into friendships, family.
On a fine summer’s day you look at your heart, and it is a beautiful work of art. It suits you like a glove and the clay fills the mould flawlessly. That is what happens when you surrender your clay, your mould. The pressure lifts from your shoulder and life becomes an experience, a roadtrip with God at the steering wheel rather than a chase for the unattainable. Happiness, no more than that, Joy.