A friend of mine recently spent ten thousand dollars to purchase a car for a local pastor in Latin America who desperately needed one. I could easily tell from his robust and childlike excitement that he enjoys doing this sort of thing.
“You know what,” he told me as he shared his excitement, “I enjoy helping and supporting local pastors in impoverished communities. It just makes me happy.”
I knew exactly what he was talking about. But I could also see that he did not leave this to chance. Through the years, he has painstakingly and smartly built several legitimate businesses that continue to provide the level of cash flow needed to finance his bliss.
By any standard, this guy is a missionary himself. He had a powerful encounter with the Holy Spirit at the age of 17, and continues to have an intimate and passionate love affair with Jesus Christ. He has pastored several churches through the years, and has worked under life-threatening circumstances in missions to dangerous zones like Mexico and Sudan. Now he volunteers his time to lecture at a school of missions. Yet, he has multiple business ventures that allow him to have a sweet walk with the Lord, spend quality time with his family, enjoy himself, and help hundreds of other missionaries around the world at no expense to anyone.
I like his style; I prefer it as well.
At the time of this writing, I’m traveling across the United States, speaking in churches and seminars, but also holding personal conversations with couples and individuals.
So far, one thing is screaming at me: most people are not really happy, as they are not living the life of their dreams.
A pastor in Philadelphia told me, “I’m nearing 60 and still haven’t been able to take my wife to an expensive restaurant; still unable to give her even a thousand dollars to play with.”
A missionary couple in Tulsa told me, “We would love to travel more and help more people in third world countries, but we just don’t have the money to do that.”
A devout Christian man sighed to me, “I always wished I could have taken my children to Disney World and given them a special memory. Now it’s too late because they are married and gone.”
In Missouri, a young pastor lamented to me, “All I want to do is share the word of faith and minister to people. But I have to work all day, and have no time left for what really makes me happy.”
And I could just go on and on. But it really grieves my heart to listen to all these good souls mourn over the miserable traps they are in.
Yet, the raw reality of these cases is that —unlike my friend—a lot of these folks have so far failed to understand one simple point: happiness costs and you would need to finance your bliss. There’s no getting around that.
In my 2014 manifesto, A Formula For Bliss, I wrote,
“You can also imagine that in order to pursue my bliss in this way, I would as a matter of fact have abundant financial resources. Thus, I resolved to be diligent in my personal business enterprises, in order to create the level of financial wealth that would allow me to continue to express my thoughts freely and cheerfully around the world.”
For me, it is obvious that one thing that could impede my bliss is lack—which, by the way, is more of a mindset than the absence of resources. Bliss is expensive; it’s not that hard to figure out. Therefore, in order to live the life of your dreams, you must be willing and able to fund it.
For me as a missionary, pastor, divine messenger, or whatever you choose to call me, there are three options:
1. Depend on tithes and offerings from a church —in other words, on the goodwill of other human beings.
This path is a no no for me. I would never subject myself to the indignities and constraints that come from depending on my fellow human being for my livelihood. No way!
2. Get a job and become a salary slave.
Again, a no no for me. I would rather be dead, than mortgage my time to anyone but God Almighty Himself. Never!
3. Employ my God-given talents to create wealth and own my time.
This is the path I’ve chosen, and the one I’m walking. It’s not an easy path by any stretch of the imagination. But it allows me to be free, independent, and ultimately able to finance and pursue my bliss; to live my dreams.
So, what are the things that make you happy; the things you really want to do? And are you doing them? Are you living the life of your dreams? If the answer is an excited yes, then good for you! I’m excited for you too, and counsel you to never let anything or anyone manipulate you away from your bliss. But if the answer is no, then could it be that you are probably hiding your head in the sand and living in denial? Have you ever taken the time to figure out why you are not doing the things that really make you happy?
This life is too short. Time goes by so fast that before you realize it, you’re already too old, and pretty soon you’ll be gone. It’s just what it is and there’s no point fighting the fact.
I choose to be happy, and I understand that it’s entirely up to me to make the kind of choices that enable me to fund my bliss.
But I also want you to be happy; I really do. I want for others the same things that I want for myself: to enjoy your life; to live the life of your dreams.
I would never tell you how to live your life. That’s not my place. However, I can share those observations and perspectives with you that have enabled me to enjoy a blissful journey. Today, it is this: happiness costs, and you would need to finance your bliss. There’s no getting around that.
Have a blissful week!