I was listening to a show on the radio this morning and heard an interesting tidbit of information. Now, I can’t remember every detail as I’d only had one measly cup of coffee at this point, so don’t quote me on any of this. But apparently, (not surprisingly) wealth and job security do not make us happy.
This is a statistic we hear over and over, both in the secular world and religious circles (this was a secular station btw) yet, that is exactly what we all chase and place as the highest priority in our lives. All of us. In my opinion, this is one of the greatest illusions painted by our enemy.
But before I go off on a tangent here, are you curious as to what statistics say DOES make us happy?
Well, in this particular study, the answer was sleep. Yes, sleep! Of those getting enough rest, a solid 8 hours of healthy uninterrupted sleep each night, an astounding 90% reported feeling happy with their life. In contrast, only 3% of those with significant wealth and job security reported being happy.
While this may seem a bit off topic, I think the extremely close runner-up here in vitally important. Coming in at a high second, a good sex life was reported as the second highest contributing factor in one’s happiness.
Yeah, sleep and good sex are apparently the key to happiness, not money or success. Interesting….
Now, before you start excitedly making excuses for those naughty ideas rolling around in your head, here are a few findings on what statistics say is “good sex”.
Apparently good sex is far, far away from hot, random one night stands with someone you will never see again. In fact, many studies link one night stands with depression. Attractiveness of the person doesn’t seem to make any significant difference here, meaning casual sex with the guy/girl you’ve been fantasizing about all night will not leave you feeling much more fulfilled than the pity sex you have with the only person who gives a second glance.
Interestingly, “good sex” is also not reported as the exciting, lustful, can’t -keep-your-hands-off-each-other sex you may have in the beginning of a typical, worldly relationship either. I personally would have placed my bets here, but nope, according to most studies, “good sex” is in a different category.
The most fulfilling sex is usually reported as being with someone you have a deep emotional connection with, and is typically thought of as the best after spending years with the person. There is no specific amount, although those happiest with their sex life report having it once or twice a week. What I also think is interesting is that those happy in their sex life place minimal importance on the physical features of their significant other, and instead state agreeability as the number one most attractive trait.
And what makes a person agreeable? Happy and easygoing?
Being well rested.
So basically, my curious scouring of the internet for statistics has led me to this conclusion – Sleep will make you happier and more attractive, and may very well boost your sex life.
I feel my pillow calling to me from the bedroom….
In all seriousness though, isn’t this fascinating? What we all chase is success, wealth, and beauty yet, studies show none of this makes us happy. I believe only a relationship with God can give us the fulfillment we seek, but still, scripture does indeed back what our aching souls are trying to relay.
First of all, what does Jesus tell us we will find in him?
What is the outcome of letting go of our striving and resting in his love for us?
I don’t know about you, but when I’m at peace, I’m pretty happy.
So how about all the sex stuff? What if you’re single, or in a relationship like me but waiting for marriage? If a good sex life is deemed one of the top keys to happiness, can we really be happy without it? Doesn’t that make it, like sleep, a human necessity?
Yes, you can be happy without it, and no, sex is not a need.
I mean, sex feels great and all, but the act itself is clearly not what makes us report happiness. If that were true, we wouldn’t need marriage or relationships to experience the best sex. We’d probably be happier alone and porn and casual sex would more than suffice in meeting our needs. But it doesn’t, does it?
That’s because the act, the pleasurable release, isn’t fulfilling in and of itself. It’s a gift, a bonus, a mere byproduct of what sex is truly designed for. Intimacy (and baby-making!).
In a world where we are given the impression that we will never find love unless we look like a model or a porn-star, don’t you find it interesting that those features that exude sexuality barely make the list of what makes one attractive? This is not to negate the health and well-being of your body, or physical attraction, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it looks different for everyone, so how can we reach some set standard anyway? Inner beauty is widely thought of as being far more important in a relationship that physical features, which will fade over time anyway. Just sayin…
It’s the intimacy, the joy between two people, the highs and lows of a relationship, the memories made, the unconditional love known and felt between you and another, that unbreakable bond you share, that’s what makes sex so beautiful, that’s what leaves lingering feelings of happiness.
And guess what? That is what we were designed for, and what we have available to us with our God. Not the physical act, but the intimacy. The unconditional, unbreakable love he has for us. The knowledge that even though we are destined to be unfaithful to him, he will always be faithful to us.
This intimacy was so important to our well-being in God’s eyes that he created us women specifically for this purpose. For love and intimacy with a man as a constant reminder of the beautiful, unearned love our Creator has for us.
We were created for relationship, with God first, the ultimate example of love and intimacy, and then with our spouse, in God’s timing, to replicate that love and unity in our God-given roles. (Yes, we all have roles, deal with it) And in our relationship with Love himself, we can rest. Not just sleep, (though sleep is good) but truly and peacefully rest.
The more intimate our relationship with God, the more we trust him. The more we trust him, the more we relax and feel at peace. The more we rest and live in that peace, the more clearly we are able to see the opposite of peace. Our enemies, the lies, the meaningless things that look larger than life.
If we can clearly see the lies, then we can also see the truth, standing out in the vaporous fog like a tall mountain. The more clearly we see that truth, the more we can really live out our purpose. The more clearly we see the path, the easier it is to follow. While the challenges will remain, we will know how to overcome them instead of blindly stumbling into them.
So I am going to change “good sex” to its real meaning, and say yes, the key to happiness is indeed rest and intimacy.
But a key is only useful in the right door. The door to happiness can’t be found in this world. The keys of rest and intimacy only work in one door, and that door has already been unlocked by the key holder, the one true Savior, Jesus Christ! He is waiting, no, not waiting, knocking, on the other side of that door with open arms for all who truly seek the peace found in rest and intimacy!
After hearing those statistics on the radio this morning, I pondered how incredibly like God our souls really are. How, made in his image, our deepest desires so reflect his nature and his purpose in creating us.
When I got home, (I was dropping off my baby girl, not a baby anymore, at school) I made my second cup of pumpkin spice coffee (with half & half and cinnamon, hold the sugar) and re-read Psalm 4.
It hit me like this passage has never hit me before. David is crying out to God for mercy, but as he exhorts his enemies, I just saw so clearly both David and his antagonists longing for the same thing – peace. Happiness. Rest.
David knows the truth but his enemies look for the answer to this longing in all the wrong places. David asks them why they keep shaming his honor and hopelessly loving the lies, searching through trash for glory.
It almost feels like he empathizes with them for a moment, saying Hey, God listens when I pray, because I am chosen, and reason for that is because of my loyalty to him! He can and will listen to you too, but you’ve gotta stop for a second. Stop sinning in your anger at life. Think about things quietly as you go to bed and you might start seeing beyond your blinding frustration. You’ll see sinning is not the answer. Do what is right as a sacrifice of your selfish lives to the Lord, then trust in Him!
You keep asking the Lord to be kind to you, wondering why you aren’t receiving good things! I wonder why!
Well, the Lord has made me happy – so much happier than those chasing wealth with all their grain and new wine.
They have no rest.
I go to bed and sleep in peace, because Lord, only YOU keep me safe!
David sleeps, peacefully, restfully, even in the midst of dangerous enemies because in his intimate, trusting relationship with God, he found what we all are searching for.
Where are you looking for happiness today?
How well do you sleep at night? Do you find yourself lying awake with worry?
Do you struggle with intimacy? With God or your earthly relationships? What would it look like to truly trust in God’s unconditional love for you? What might change in your earthly relationships if you chose to mimic God and love unconditionally?
How might you change?
Those are my thoughts for today…my long, long thoughts. So sorry! Hopefully it was interesting enough read to get through my long-winded preaching!
Have a great day everyone!!