We live in a world that is constantly telling us, “You will be happy when…”
This seemingly innocuous phrase can become a relentless soundtrack to our lives if we are not careful.
How often have you found yourself saying, “I’ll be happy when…”?
It is a phrase that resonates with us all.
We are sure that happiness will come once we achieve that next goal, whether it’s paying off student loans, finding your soulmate, making a successful career switch, seeing a business idea come to fruition, completing a degree, reaching the end of the diaper era, or getting to the point of not living paycheck to paycheck.
My heart is thrilled for my now high-school graduate. Yet, it aches at the same time that the diapers, the first steps, the bedtime stories, the endless curiosity, and even the emotional roller coaster of adolescence are all part of a chapter that we just turned the page on.
I don’t want to wish away another moment, no matter how irrelevant or uncomfortable it may seem at the time. The danger of “I will be happy when…” is that we push pause on the present and place our dreams on a future pedestal.
Consider changing the phrase to this: “I am happy NOW because…”
This phrase doesn’t ignore challenges but acknowledges God’s grace amidst them.
It embraces the ordinary, everyday miracles we often overlook.
The comforting calm of a quiet house after everyone has drifted off to sleep, the privilege of having a roof over our heads, and the profound satisfaction of extending a helping hand to someone in need.
Happiness doesn’t have to be a future condition. It can be a present reality.
It is a decision to find joy in our current circumstances instead of waiting with bated breath for the destination. Because, trust me, once you reach your goal, there will be something on the other side of it that will make you say the “I will be happy when…” phrase yet again.
During my breast cancer treatment last year, it was all too easy to succumb to the ‘I will be happy when this is over’ thought pattern. True, there would be relief and joy in healing, yet each day demanded an intentional choice for joy. Therefore, I had to change my words and mindset to something like this:
I am happy now because a compassionate team supports me.
I am happy now because I’ve been gifted resilience to endure this storm.
I am happy now because I can ignite a spark of hope in my fellow waiting room patients who may need it just to get through their day.
Each moment is a gift from God, meant to be lived fully, not simply looked through as a window to some elusive future promise. Because the most powerful time in your life isn’t WHEN.
It’s right NOW.