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No Free Lunches

My Dad loved telling me, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” I didn’t like it then and I don’t like it anymore today, but I do understand what he was saying.

He was telling me that everything has a cost, even if that cost is not always immediately apparent. To achieve anything, you must give up something else.

We live in a world that is driven to be happy. However, most people are pursuing a happiness without cost. Bodybuilders like to say, “no pain no gain.”

I think that it is this unwillingness to sacrifice anything, to give up anything, that actually robs people of happiness.  Happiness costs us something …. remember what Christ told the disciples:

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?” (Luke 14:28)

Happiness will cost us our demands for perfection.

People think that if they can acquire the right house, spouse,  car, children, then everything will be “perfect.” Happiness does not depend on everything in life being just right. We must give up our idea that everything needs to be perfect before we can be happy. Happiness will cost you your demands for perfection.

This means that happiness is not problem free!

Problems don’t go away — they change and evolve, but life is full of problems. Life is about moving through problems. Happiness is not dependent on arriving at perfection. It’s something that is approached but never reached. Whatever your conception of “perfect” is in your pretty little head, it is, in itself, an imperfect conception.

What makes us think that we know what “perfect” is anyway? Happiness will cost us our preoccupation with perfection. Happiness will force us to live with things we don’t like. We must understand that happiness will cost us our demand for perfection and our ideas that we must be problem free in order to be happy.

Nine years ago my family was faced with a set of problems that seemed to be drowning us. There were a number of moments when the people that I love the most could barely cope. Many times I would have to identify which individual loved one needed everyone’s attention help in order to survive. Several times I had to tell others, “this is not about you right now.”

Happiness will cost us the idea that life is all about us, it’s not!

Happiness will cost us the luxury of blame.

If we really want to be happy we will have to stop blaming the world for our problems.  It is so easy to blame everyone else and to play the victim. However, if we really want to be happy it will cost us this temptation. Seriously … you and I don’t really know who to blame anyway!

Happiness will cost you the luxury of blaming others for your problems.

The sooner we realize that “there are no free lunches,” the sooner we will be happy.

Happiness will cost our demands for perfection!

Happiness will cost us our demands for a problem-free life.

Happiness will cost us our demand that every moment in life is about us!

Happiness will cost us our demand of blaming others.

I have a friend who is always telling me to “preach them happy.” How am I doing?

Go ahead pay the price and live … “Happy.”