Caring for the Soul

December 20, 2009

The Spiritual Realm and Genuine Happiness

I remember when I was a child I would go to Vacation Bible School every summer.  There we would sing the song “When you’re Happy and You Know It”.  It’s a fun song which most people have heard at least once if not one too many times as the song repeats itself over and over.  You clap your hands, then stomp your feet and it just makes you feel good.    If you were not happy before singing the song you will be by the time it’s over.  Happiness is a good thing.  It cures the soul.  It’s when we are happy that we are most successful and fulfilled.  However, ironically enough, happiness is not always a good thing.

It’s Not All about Me – Matthew 20: 1-16
When we occupy ourselves with reaching the state of being happy we lose sight of the true meaning of happiness.   We become so engrossed in the search itself that we become inwardly focused and self-absorbed. True happiness must be outwardly focused.  We cannot truly be content if we are possessed with a self-consumed mentality that causes us to forget about others. Happiness is coming to the point of realizing that it is not all the time about me.

Look Beyond the Self – Luke 15:11-32
Yet it is so hard to look beyond the self in such a post-modern culture which says, “Do whatever makes you feel good.” We see this post-modernistic reality in all areas of life including, but most definitely not limited to, the music industry which releases hit singles with the titles: “It’s all about Me, Let’s Talk about Me, Songs about Me, What About Me” and the list could go on and on.  Our culture is so egotistically absorbed with the self and what makes the self happy.  If we just follow eight simple steps or register to receive a daily email from, we can achieve the ultimate state of satisfaction. However, this happiness which is referred to is only an illusion which disappears when the smoke and mirrors are gone and we find ourselves alone.

Don’t Forget What’s Right – Proverbs 10:9
It is at the point when we become more concerned about our own happiness and identify with it being okay to be self-absorbed that we forget about morals.  We cannot view things in the light of being right or wrong if we are guided by selfishness.  Black and white; good and bad; right and wrong, no longer matter.  But what begins to matter is “as long as you are happy then it’s okay”.  We forget about Godliness or better know as holiness, which in today’s society is a forgotten term.  Yet scripture still commands that we are righteous and keep His commandments in order to be happy.

Genuine Happiness – Jeremiah 29:11
When we forgo what is right in order to be happy for a moment we also forgo genuine happiness.  But what is genuine happiness?  Helen Keller once said, “Many people have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” As Christians this worthy purpose is our relationship with Jesus Christ.  Genuine happiness is living in unity with Christ.  Yet this does not mean we live a life without trials.

If we do not have a relationship with Christ we have no purpose in our life.  When one has no purpose, hopelessness resides.  It is only when our eyes are open to this reality that we are truly happy.  It is only when we are filled with the Holy Spirit that we are happy.

Filling our God Shaped Void – John 6: 35
Without Christ we have a God shaped void, my mentor once said.  Meaning this void cannot be filled with money or success, but can only be filled by God.  Without filling this void we will continue without vial to be happy.  Therefore, it appears that Godliness is the ultimate true happiness.  If we do what is pleasing to Christ then we lead a fulfilled life which eventually leads to an eternal life for those who have this “fidelity to a worthy purpose”.   There can be nothing more satisfying than to know that we will live forever in true bliss without pain, tears, or sadness.

So genuine happiness is coming to the point where we can look beyond our selfishness and realize that it is not all about me in order to live a righteous lifestyle.  But the first and foremost key to the success of achieving happiness is filling our God shaped void; for without we will have truly missed the reason for our existence. Happiness is not in the material but in the spiritual.  Our earthly lives are not to be self-consumed but a mirror reflection of our eternal life of praise to our Heavenly Father.  Happiness is freedom and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.

October 30, 2009

Child Care and Learning your ABC’s

According to the New International Version of the Bible, Psalms 127:3 states, “Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him.” A child is a precious gift directly from God and therefore should be greatly appreciated, cared for and helped in all ways possible. My philosophy on how to best help a child is as simple as remembering your “ABC’s”: “Admit”, “Believe” and “Care”.

1) Admit: a child is a real person with real problems and needs one on whom to depend.

In experiencing everyday life one needs to admit the reality that is at hand. By this I mean, be aware that we do not live in a make-believe fairytale that can be scripted to our liking. When considering the life of a child, facing reality is crucial. First, one must admit that a child does not have a choice of whether or not to enter the world or to whom or where to be born. Yet the fact remains that the birth of a child is a real occurrence. Be reminded that existence is not the fault of a child and blame of being born should not be placed upon a child. Beyond the fairytale, in the real world, a child will have real problems and these need real solutions. This brings me to my second point of admitting that a child can and will have problems. Never underestimate what a child is going through by considering it insignificant.

To a child, even what may appear to be the smallest dilemma can be disturbing. Third, admit that, wanted or unwanted, pleasant or unpleasant, since a child is a real person with real problems he or she needs to have an individual upon whom to depend; a person to whom problems can be brought. A child needs this stability in order to have a feeling of security. Remember that you can be that special someone who can make a difference in the life of a child simply by being available; physically, as well as emotionally.

2) Believe: in a child and support him or her no matter how many imperfections are present.

When a person has someone to believe in him or her, this provides to that individual what I like to call a “reach the sky” potential. A feeling of self-worth is instilled within those who are believed in and supported. Therefore, it is important to believe in a child, whatever his or her potential may be. Believing must also involve acceptance. One must accept a child as a unique individual who is human. Being human involves imperfections and when evaluating a child we should not expect perfection. When dealing with a child, allow for failure with acceptance. This acceptance of imperfections needs to be followed by approval. Not approval of failing, but approval of the child. Accept the total child with flaws and all. Let the child know that even when failure comes about he or she is still supported and loved. Believe in a child even in the midst of failure. One must believe in a child’s capabilities and support his or her actions and decisions but this should be done with the child’s best interest at heart.

3) Care: for a child with genuine affection.

Finally, to best help a child, show genuine concern and affection. Show a child that you really care. As humans, we are emotional beings and each of us has a need for affection. According to Maslow, affection is the third level in his hierarchy of needs. The first level in Maslow’s hierarchy is physiological needs and the second is the need for safety. Although it is third on the list, I would argue that it is of no lesser value than the need for one’s physiological or safety needs to be met. The need for affection must be satisfied for an individual to feel content with him or herself and eventually in the words of Maslow to become “self-actualized”. It is in my opinion that the need for affection is one of humanities most important needs. It is very important in the early development of a child’s life that affection is given. Without this, development is hindered. If one does not receive affections from others as a child then that individual will not properly know how to give or receive affection. With affection, comes the sense of purpose.

Without affection, the opposite is true, and this will result in the search for belongingness. The manner in which a child can be told that he or she is cared for can be done in many more ways than just words. Words must be followed by actions. Listening, being available, and paying attention to a child are all ways of saying “I care”.


Ways to best help a child are among the simplest. It is important to take preventative measure that aim to protect a child and allow that child to have the emotional strength to function. If we instill within a child positive investments, which are, found with in the “ABC’s” discussed above, as the child becomes an adult he or she can use these qualities to counterweigh the negative aspects that unfortunately exist.

DATE WRITTEN:  January 28, 2004