I bought the book Happier at Home on accident while learning to use my Kindle. In fact, I didn’t even realize that I’d bought the book until a month afterwards, and I didn’t get around to reading it until a year later on a 12 hour plane flight. It struck a chord with me because I believe happiness matters. Of course, real joy that comes from God no matter what I’m going through, but I like the idea that I can proactively invest in my own well-being.
Maybe because we live in the Middle East, I’d never heard of Gretchen Rubin’s first book, The Happiness Project. But Happier at Home ended up being one of the books I enjoyed most last year.
Is it okay to make joy or happiness a priority?
Christians often feel like their own happiness should not be a priority. We’re taught to put others and their needs first and not think about ourselves. Of course serving is part of being like Jesus; we all need to combat the selfishness that so easily grows within. But we’re sometimes left with a vague feeling of guilt about considering our own needs and happiness.
The importance of caring for ourselves
Serving and caring for others is a top priority. (It also tends to make us happier people!) But ultimately we’re better wives, mothers, employees and friends when we care for ourselves and mindfully consider our own needs. If I keep giving out without putting anything in, my well runs dry and I end up without much to give.
That’s why I loved Happier at Home. Here are the three messages I took away from it:
Gratefulness: We need to wake up to how happy we already are, and start appreciating our blessings, small and big.
Mindfulness: Life will pass us by if we let it. It’s a gift to be appreciated, not to be wasted or taken for granted. This includes being fully present to the moments with our loved ones.
Intentionality: Let’s think about what brings us joy and happiness and make space in our lives for those things, whether it’s buying a new perfume or tackling a household project in order to feel ultimately more peaceful.
The book inspired me to think about a happiness project of my own. Instead of a systematic, well-thought out plan like Gretchen Rubin’s, I just have a brainstorm list.
My Happiness Project:
- Morning quiet time with God.
- Learn to knit. (Again.)
- Write for 25 minutes a day.
- Read 12 books this year.
- Go through last year’s digital photos and print some.
- Date my husband.
- Play more gin rummy with my son. (Only one more year with him at home.)
- Hug my daughter and laugh with her more.
- Call friends without waiting for them to call me because “it’s their turn.”
I’d love to hear what you think. Do you think it’s okay to make happiness a priority in our lives? What is something that makes you happy?