In Others’ Words: Beyond Happiness

Happiness quote 1.6. 2014 Anne Morrow Lindbergh

There were years I waited and watched for happiness. Hoped for happiness.

And then … well, I wanted more.

Happiness doesn’t stick around very long. It’s a minute by minute occurrence. Circumstantial.

And I can’t control my circumstances.

But oh, I’ve discovered I’ve changed through years of great happiness and great unhappiness — both fleeting.

And I’ve discovered I can grow out of fear into courage. Out of weakness into strength. And I’ve also discovered laughter is my favorite sound.

I can’t stay angry with someone when I share a laugh with them. And sometimes … sometimes, even as tears stream down my face expressing the ache in my heart, there’s an echo of a sweet laugh or two that softens the sharp bitterness of the moment.

So as I walk out of the shadow of 2013 and into the sunlight of 2014, I empty my pockets of the bits and pieces of happiness that have gathered there. Instead, I’m cramming them full with courage and strength and a liberal dose of laughter.

In Your Words: What would you wish for today? Happiness? Something else entirely? Join our first conversation of 2014 and tell me what you need most of all.

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The 3 things you need more than happiness Click to Tweet

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  1. January 6, 2014, 5:45 am   /  Reply

    I love this line: “And I’ve discovered I can grow out of fear into courage. Out of weakness into strength. And I’ve also discovered laughter is my favorite sound.”

    Happiness is for just a moment, but joy–that’s eternal and I’ll choose that any day. Such a beautiful post this morning, Beth. I loved it. Here’s to brave new year!

    • January 6, 2014, 11:45 am   /  Reply

      Yes — here’s to being brave in 2014!

  2. January 6, 2014, 6:50 am   /  Reply

    Here’s to a “liberal dose” of laughter! *Clink* (This morning’s coffee choice: hazelnut!) 🙂

    • January 6, 2014, 11:44 am   /  Reply

      Thank you sharing laughter with me today, Cynthia!

  3. January 6, 2014, 7:40 am   /  Reply

    What a beautiful post on which to ponder as I enter into the first full week of 2014.

    What do I wish for today? Laughter with my boys, peaceful moments with Jesus and the beginning of understanding what ENOUGH (my 2014 word) will look like in this day.

    • January 6, 2014, 11:43 am   /  Reply

      I love your word for 2014. Looking forward to the next year with you, my friend.

  4. January 6, 2014, 7:47 am   /  Reply

    I love that you said laughter is your favorite sound. Me too. 🙂

    And yeah, happiness is nice…but it’s also all sorts of temporary. Joy, though…and peace…those are two things I want to have in abundance. They’re not determined by circumstances but by deep, confident trust in God. Which is an area of life I’d like to grow in. 🙂

    • January 6, 2014, 11:43 am   /  Reply

      Thank you, Melissa, for reminding us where courage and strength and joy come from — a deep, confident trust in God.

  5. Susan Mason
    January 6, 2014, 7:53 am   /  Reply

    Well said Beth & Melissa! Joy & happiness, I’m learning, are definitely a conscious choice each day. You can’t sit around and wait for something to make you happy. You must CHOOSE to feel happy now!

    Wishing you all joy!


    • January 6, 2014, 11:41 am   /  Reply

      And joy to you, Susan.
      Sometimes I make right choices and sometimes I make wrong choices.
      I am so thankful for God giving us a new start every day. New chances for strength and courage and joy.

  6. January 6, 2014, 7:58 am   /  Reply

    I’ve found joy in the most surprising places. Not always happiness, but joy — it’s deep, resonant, and strong. Everlasting. Today I wish for joy, even in the mundane, even in the things I’m not crazy about (like returning to work!), even in the trials and the pain. And of course, in the fun things too!

    • January 6, 2014, 11:38 am   /  Reply

      Joy: deep, resonant, and strong.
      Perfect descriptors.

  7. January 6, 2014, 9:58 am   /  Reply

    Laughter — My absolute favorite sound. I’m working on peace and joy in my life. The peace of God that transcends all understanding and that deep abiding joy that permeates you regardless of the circumstances. :0)

    • January 6, 2014, 11:37 am   /  Reply

      I know you had some practice on choosing peace in the midst of all circumstances recently. May life be a bit more peaceful.

  8. January 6, 2014, 10:33 am   /  Reply

    Laughter is my favorite sound, too, especially that of young children.

    What am I wishing for today? To have my relationship with God taken to a deeper level. I realize this may bring sufferings and/or afflictions of some sort. It usually is those moments of desperate need that we realize how much we need Him. But I’m also hoping to make the extra effort to deepen my life walk with Him in the good, happy moments in life. I think He’d like for me to share those with Him, too.

    Blessings for the new year, Beth!

    • January 6, 2014, 11:35 am   /  Reply

      I like where you are setting your sights for 2014.

  9. January 6, 2014, 10:38 am   /  Reply

    So agree with everyone that laughter is the best sound. And I’d rather have joy any day than happiness. It last so much longer.

    • January 6, 2014, 11:34 am   /  Reply

      I know 2014 is going to be a wonderful year for you, Pat — a dream-come-true year!

  10. Bernadette DesChamps
    January 6, 2014, 10:44 am   /  Reply

    “…courage and strength and a sense of humor – I will need them all.”

    Love that. Yes, I will need them all.

    • January 6, 2014, 11:34 am   /  Reply

      Isn’t this a great quote, Bernadette? That’s why I wanted to start the new year with it!

  11. January 6, 2014, 12:46 pm   /  Reply

    What I would like to find is my ‘word’ for the year, recently realized…


    The past year was physically and mentally rough beyond any other, and 2014 is starting with a physical state that I simply can’t describe. I don’t know how to face this. It’s more frightening than anything I have yet faced. And yet…

    In trying to live with composure, there grows a serenity which gives me the ability to take the joys of each day and hold them, and to recognize the pain and fear for what they are. Not fleeting things, by any means, but adversities that have both limits, and the ability to make me something better than I have been.

    It’s not courage, because I am not brave. It’s not acceptance, because I won’t give in. It’s simply accepting the hand I’ve dealt, and playing it mindfully, without either false bravado or dismay.

    • January 6, 2014, 8:50 pm   /  Reply

      Composure: “It’s simply accepting the hand I’ve dealt, and playing it mindfully, without either false bravado or dismay.”

      There’s a lot of hard-won wisdom in those words, Andrew.

  12. Teresa R
    January 6, 2014, 5:44 pm   /  Reply

    “…courage and strength and a sense of humor” – – I could use all of these

    Today I wish for laughter and bubbling joy

    • January 6, 2014, 8:49 pm   /  Reply

      And maybe a little leftover for tomorrow.

  13. Susan
    January 6, 2014, 5:51 pm   /  Reply

    “…and a sense of humor.” That was my favorite part of the quote. Totally jumped out at me. I love laughter:) and all too often need to pull out my sense of humor. Sometimes we just need to laugh.

    • January 6, 2014, 8:48 pm   /  Reply

      Indeed, Susan. Laughter can be cleansing. Healing. Refreshing.

  14. January 8, 2014, 12:38 am   /  Reply

    Love to laugh and yes, I will need them all too.

    • January 8, 2014, 5:05 pm   /  Reply

      I’ll share ’em with you when your supply runs low.

  15. January 9, 2014, 7:10 am   /  Reply

    Being away, I’d missed this but it is also wonderful. How do you generate such beauty & wisdom fairly quickly. It is a gift, but then you are a gift. These are all keepers–worthy of a book in themselves. May God bless & increase you more & more.

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