Three Huts on a Beach

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Did you hear about the man who was stranded all by himself on an island, much like Tom Hanks in Cast Away?

He lived alone for 10 years. Then one day, miraculously, he was spotted by a passing boat.  His rescuers were curious about the three huts he had built on the beach.

“The first one is my house,” he said. “And the second one is my church.”

“So what’s that third place?” they asked.

The man rolled his eyes. “Oh, that’s where I used to go to church.”

We live in a culture that is always trading up for greater happiness providers.

We trade up for jobs that are more interesting and pay higher benefits. We trade up for houses that have bigger yards and are closer to the best schools. We trade up for friends who can open more doors and introduce us to a better crowd.

We trade up for churches that have more spectacular music programs and more captivating preachers.  We trade up for spouses and partners who are less annoying and more tolerant of our own charming eccentricities.

And then one day it dawns on us that we’ve come to believe that happiness is always dependent on what we currently don’t have. It’s always just one more trade away.

Yes, there really are circumstances in which it’s healthy and right to move on.

But real happiness – more often than not – comes from staying, not going.  Playing the hand we’ve been dealt instead of demanding a new deck.  Staying in a challenging relationship or situation far longer than we ever thought possible.

Happiness comes when we say, “God, help me plant my feet in the place of your choosing, and not yield an inch until you tell me to move.”

And the growth that comes on the other side of such resolve?

That’s something we’ll never want to trade.