I always cook with spices. You just have to have spice for it to be exciting and delicious! Isn’t it the same everything in life? What type of “spices” do we need in life to be happy and satisfied? A huge one I have stumbled on living in Japan is variety. You have heard things like, “Variety is the spice of life!” As humans, we are built to crave change and to strive forward for better. We mistakenly take that striving at times for wanting more materials, possessions, new relationships (leading to affairs or break-ups), or unhappiness. People forget the spiritual aspect of their being. That striving, that inner crying or aching, may be for a closer connection to God, to your spirit, and life itself. Words of advice that really has stuck with me in the past can be summed up to, “Everything in life will change–except God.” That is why God is called our Rock; the One stable, reliable source in our life. I think our culture, our society, gives us the false impression that things should stay the same in some aspects and buying new things will make you feel great. How many products are on the shelf to keep us looking young? To keep our same hair color? To lose more weight and be that size you use to be? To keep the same loving feeling? Get a new car and feel good? New movies, new clothes, new houses, new diets. On and on it goes. Many people are changing their appearances, their home decor, their outsides, but they are remaining the same in the ways that matter most. We live in an advertising, money-focused, capitalist society where money/possessions are suppose to equate to happiness and without our realizing it, we get sucked in unless we realize it is happening.
The advertising industry realizes we need variety in our life. There is truth there. But where we find it can be lasting or temporary. I am looking for the lasting kind more than anything, and I feel I have found it. We need change, we need variety in the areas of our lives that matter most which would be your work, improvements to finance and home life, improvements to your relationships, or spiritual life. And giving. Our culture is so all about taking and getting. The true essence of Christmas has been stripped by the marketing world and leaked into our hearts. Many have been dubbed into believing it is better to get than to give. And these are good-willed people I am talking about. I am guilty, too.
It will take a lot of will, time, and practice to make inner changes, especially if you have been set in your ways a long time. But it is vital to being happy and to giving happiness to others. You cannot give away what you do not have. If you have children, it is vital for them. Just like getting back into exercising or a new diet, it is hard, but it feels great when you do it. It is like doing homework, it is no fun, it sucks at first, but the feeling and payoff is priceless. I paid a lot for my education, but even if it doesn’t give me a great paying position, I am thankful for it and what I gained in learning is so invaluable. The time you choose to spend working on your inner self or your relationship with God is the same. Invaluable. We all have 10 minutes a day. 10 Mindful Minutes is a great book, by the way.
The bible says, “If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love-not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” (1 John 4:9-21)
“Dear friends, I warn you as temporary residents and foreigners to keep away fr om worldly desires that wage war against your souls. Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.” (1 Peter 2:11)
“If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days,
keep your tongue from speaking bad, and your lips from telling lies. (Think good thoughts, focus on scriptures, speak good of others)
Turn away from evil/bad and do good (give, love, be grateful). Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers.
But the Lord turns his face against those who do bad (something that brings sorrow, distress, misfortune, sinful).”