We painted the inside of our house last month. It was needed!
After the lengthy and involved project was finished, I sat in the middle of the living room and looked at the sprightly painted walls glimmering and shining in their new coat of paint and asked myself the question, “Do I feel any happier now that the house is painted?”
From a material sense perspective, I was very happy the house was painted. The dirty handprints of boisterous kids imprinted on the ceiling from yesteryear, dozens of chips in doorway woodwork and black marks on the walls from moving furniture were gone. Whew! What a relief. Yes, I was quite happy about that.
But on a spiritual level, the answer was no. I was just as happy after the project was finished as I was before the project started. I was a happy person because God made me that way, I understood. And I didn’t have to paint the house to be happier.
This was an important question for me to ask because in times past, I’ve been tempted to believe that I needed to do something material to be happier. For example, replace an old car, buy a new shirt, eat a particular food, or associate with certain people. I’ve done these things and felt happier, at least I thought I did, but the joy would be temporal. It lasts for a while; then a new want or need surfaces to replace the old one.
Any type of happiness based on a material outcome is fleeting. It’s not the real thing, I’m learning. And I wanted the real thing!
I recalled how true happiness is a gift of Spirit. It comes from God and is never conditional upon material circumstances or people. “Happiness is spiritual, born of Truth and Love,” Mary Baker Eddy wrote (Science and Health, 57:18). And she is so right.
I believed that painting the house was a right idea because it reflected more cleanliness, care and love for our home. But as I reflected on what kind of effect the new paint had on the substance of my life, I saw clearly that it had no effect at all. The fresh paint was the effect of my life being lived, not the other way around.
And this brings out one of the most important points in Christian Science. Divine Mind determines everything about us; never matter.
My family was not happier because we painted the house. We painted the house because we were happy. Thoughts from God that reflect order, cleanliness, and care manifest themselves outwardly as order, cleanliness and care. The house was marked up with wear. This state of thought was out of alignment with our spiritual sense coming from God. So it was natural to replace the worn out look with a more cared for presentation.
A freshly painted house did not bring happiness to us. God gave us happiness and we brought it to our home. Any genuine peace and joy felt in our home was not coming from paint on the walls. It was coming from divine Mind and it was reflected in how we took care of our walls.
And so the rule proves true for all aspects of our life. Enduring happiness does not come from a purchase, a mortal, or money. It comes from God and you bring it to the activities you engage.
This is a really cool concept to understand because it means there are no limits on your ability to be happy. It’s all coming from God and you have it abundantly today.
I encourage you to get out there and live it without bounds!