Turn up the VOLUME on this one. I recorded on low and since I don’t edit these you’ll have to put in some extra effort to hear it. I figure the unintentional stuff is part of the message too so get out of it what you will.
So, let’s start with a question: How many of you have ever really been happy? You know what, here is a better question: How many of you have gotten happy and had it last? Don’t lie. None of us has ever had anything “make us happy” and then had that happiness sustain itself. Why is that? Well, in my opinion, that is because happiness is not meant to last. I know we don’t want to hear that, but it is true. If it were not true, then we’d know of at least one person who could say that once they “got happy” it stuck.
I’m not trying to depress you, but THE WAY I SEE IT, I would not be your friend if I just tried to sell you a bunch of lies about lasting happiness. Oh yeah, this site is still free, so what do I have to gain or lose by being straight up with you? NOTHING. Just putting love out there. Unfortunately, most of us still believe the lie that “love hurts” so this might sting a little.
So here’s the deal, “Lasting Happiness” is the biggest lie out there. When we’re born into the world we show up filled with God’s eternal joy. It’s just pouring out of us. We shine it on everything around us and we experience life freely and without any judgments. People are nice to us most of the time because they see us as cute and innocent and we feel like all is good. Then we start getting “smarter”. We start talking, expressing our own opinion, and wanting to do things that are seemingly our own ideas. People stop seeing everything we do as cute and most of us forget how to put the joy out. We start getting our first tastes of stress and that’s when the “happiness” pushers come in.
They say, “Hey, remember when you were a kid? Don’t you want to feel that feeling again? Well, if you get this or that you will feel it.” It doesn’t matter what it is. It can be a toy, a friend, food, a degree–whatever. The thing is, once we start believing that something out there is going to “make us happy”, we are essentially on drugs. We get addicted to this synthetic feeling and if we get strung out, we’ll spend our whole lives trying to get that next happy fix. For most of us that pursuit ends up meaning you are going to live a sucky life. Why? Because 99% of us do not have the resources to keep up with our addiction. We are going to have to do a bunch of things we’d rather not do in order to get our fixes, which only depresses us more, which makes us want a bigger fix. You know how it is. Remember, when you are pursuing something that means the thing you are pursuing is trying to get away from you.
If you want to see how this pursuit plays out, check out the book of Ecclesiastes. I highly recommend it if you feel yourself getting depressed by your “pursuit of happiness”. The link above goes to The Message version of the Bible, so it is in plain talk for those of you who say, “I would read it, but I just don’t understand the Bible”. But if the Bible isn’t your thing, just go to the grocery store and read the tabloids. It doesn’t take much to see that “happiness out there” is an empty pursuit.
Joy on the other hand is God’s reality of who we are. That’s who most of us come into the world as. It’s awesome. When we look back on our childhood most of us will agree that life was better then. Even if you were poor you’ll have all these good memories of playing and pretending and seemingly awesome friendships. Why? It is because we weren’t really holding onto any idea of the “happiness” lasting. We were living in the moment and in some way we counted everything as joy. Sure we fell and had boo boos, and fought with our friends or siblings but we focused more on the wonder of life itself. It’s when we started thinking we could figure life out so that we could only get what we wanted out of it, that we lost what we had.
I’ll end with this, there are going to be bumps and scrapes in life. That’s just how it is. But if we seek rather to remember the joy in which we were created so that we can share it with others rather than trying to pursue happiness solely for ourselves, I think we’ll have an awesomer experience. The other thing is to just be present with whatever comes up in life. The good news is that both happiness and sadness fade away and never last. So enjoy happiness when it shows up and wish it farewell when it leaves (take some pictures) and learn from sadness when it comes and keep its lessons when it leaves. If we do that, we can count it all as joy.
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. If you don’t know what you’re doing, ask God for guidance. God loves to help. You’ll get help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought.
For more Roofless insight on addiction, check out my post entitled More Addiction.