Happiness is Highly Overrated

Or so it seems.

The very definition of happiness can be elusive, so why do we think our pursuit will end in anything other than a temporary feeling?

Maybe we should consider the vastness of this chasm:

To one, the idea of happiness is found only in the absence of trouble…

…while another sees it merely as the pleasure of a single moment or perhaps even a season.

Webster says this:


Full Definition of HAPPINESS

1  obsolete :  good fortune :  prosperity
2  a :  a state of well-being and contentment :  joy

    b :  a pleasurable or satisfying experience

REALLY, Webster?  obsolete?  That’s it?  I don’t think you could fit the definition into a volume, so I’ll forgive you, but I think even you were stumped by this one…

I will never get out of my head the words of my sweet father-in-law during his final hours.  A nurse had come in to check on her patient, and before leaving she asked of him, “Is there anything I can get for you–anything you need?”  His reply was a simple,


Whether it’s a pat on the back, a compassionate hug, or a kind word, the ATTITUDE of encouragement can make a huge difference in someone’s day.  Often our happiness is determined by our current situation, and many times it is based on circumstances beyond our control.  It just might happen to be a choice that we’re making despite our circumstances and a simple act of kindness would make a world of difference.


Kindness doesn’t change a person’s situation, of course, but it does speak to their heart, and says,

“I care.”

“You’re valuable.”

“I hear you.”

“I’m sorry.”

“It matters.”

“I love you.”

“You’re not alone.”

Simple acts of encouragement just might change the direction in someone’s day or perhaps even the course of a life headed in the wrong direction.

My little granddaughter is only a year old, and she has learned to hold her hand out for a handshake whenever someone says, “Happy to meet you!”  It’s absolutely precious–and irresistible!  No one could deny the sweet face of a baby–even the grumpiest old codger or the most negative of nay-sayers could resist the temptation to put on a smile and reach their hand out.

I’ve been hesitant in the past to speak of spiritual gifts as a personal testimony, fearing that anything that I say would sound braggadocious, but it has become increasingly obvious to me that one of the things that God has given me a passion for is encouragement.

These are gifts that the Bible speaks about in Romans 12 and it is very obvious that He is speaking of ways that the Holy Spirit will enable us to accomplish the purposes that God has intended for us.  Sometimes He calls us to do hard things, but He always enables us.

Because I believe He impressed upon me to start this blog (during the time of my father-in-law’s hospitalization), I also believe that He had a plan for it that I didn’t even know or see at the time. I only wanted to be obedient.  So here I am, over the hill and finally willing to say that one of the gifts He has given me is the gift of encouragement.  At least He’s given me the passion to be an encourager, so I am trusting that He will show me HOW.

Being willing to learn is something you never outgrow, so I’m asking you to help me in this journey.  I would be honored if you would take the time to respond to one or more of these questions:

What are some simple things that encourage you the most?

Who has been your biggest cheerleader and what makes them stand out?

What’s your favorite gift to give?

What’s your favorite gift to receive?

What do you wish someone had done for you during a difficult time in your life?

There is no degree in encouragement, but if there were, I would be the first to sign up, and would go for the double major in kindness!

Won’t you share a kind word today?

The blessing is yours when you do. signature

10 replies »

  1. Vickie, this is what I needed to read today. My sister is coming into town tomorrow (Monday) and thank you for encouraging me to show her kindness. We’ve had a lot of relationship problems in the past and I’ve always thought it was her fault, but God is showing me that I’m as much at fault as she. Please pray for us this week that God will work on healing our relationship. And thank you for this post!! 🙂



  2. Such an encouraging post (no pun intended!) I’m glad you decided not to hide your gift–God doesn’t give us those little lights to hide them under a basket! My greatest cheerleader has been my husband. He believes in me, even when I don’t believe in myself. But then, his gifting is encouragement, as wel! And I think that’s what makes a true encourager–they just love people and believe in them!


  3. One of the nicest, most thoughtful things anyone ever did for me was about 5-6 weeks after I had major surgery. A friend insisted she was going to bring a cooked meal to my house for my family and me. I told her it wasn’t necessary. I was able to do more and more, and really, I was fine. I was even starting back to work that week! When she showed up at my house with a nice meal, in containers I didn’t have to worry about returning, and a hug and some encouraging words, I admit that I shed some tears! She explained that she had experienced the same surgery. She also knew that families are very attentive when you first get home from the hospital, but once you get up and start doing again … that’s over! They don’t realize how hard we women push ourselves to get back to our normal routine and being the family caretaker again! So, I would say, remembering people several weeks AFTER a major loss, surgery, life change, divorce, death, etc is a form of effective encouragement.


    • Thanks, Jeanne! I know from having two surgeries that it’s never easy! My husband says the only “minor” surgery there is, is when it’s done on someone else! 🙂


  4. 1) when I see one of my children do something random without being told to do so. It validates that we have instilled values in them.
    2) early years-my parents. They were always there….at church, in the stands, at home, etc. adulthood-my husband. He tells me EVERYDAY that I’m beautiful and that he loves me.
    3 & 4). I love gift giving and receiving. I don’t have a favorite gift to give but I love surprising someone with something they’ve asked for but can’t dream it could be possible to receive. My favorite to receive sounds cliche but I don’t NEED anything so just having my family spend time with me is the best gift now. I’ve only had one child move out on his own “so far” but when he calls out of the blue and asks “what’s for dinner” it warms my heart.
    5) I honestly can’t think of a difficult time that I didn’t have support and encouragement! Praise God! But the things I loved having done for me in the past was ~a month of meals provided by friends after each child was born; ~calls and texts seeing how I’m doing if things are rough ~friends faithfully praying through a season of unemployment for my husband ~seeing our LifeGroup at church respond immediately when someone sends the entire group an email or Facebook message saying they are hurting, sick, depressed, etc. Pastor Doug never fails to emphasize the importance of getting plugged into a LifeGroup and this is one reason it’s so important to find one and get to know one another!!!


  5. One of the things that bring me happiness is a real, live telephone call from someone in my family, OR a dear friend!!! I also am reminded of an important aspect of encouragement every time I see the little pillow which Vickie gave me shortly after her father-in-law, my husband, died, which says, “Faith is all we need, that and a hug.” That’s what encourages me and makes me happy, in a nutshell—telephone calls and hugs.


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