i must respectfully disagree.
i know i might sound like a scroogey old lady, but i feel very strongly about this. my intention is not to offend anyone, but i don't think your happiness or my happiness matters as much as everyone says it does, and here's why. i don't think we really know what makes us "happy." a bigger house, better car, safe neighborhood, eating out, hot spouse, comfortable retirement plan, vacations. i'm not saying these things are bad. but they usually create a cocoon to keep us from ever being uncomfortable, and i think that being uncomfortable is how we are supposed to live. (i'll explain more in the next paragraph). what makes me happy is a big bowl of cheetos and men paying attention to me and binge-watching netflix and buying nice clothes haha.. now because Jesus is working in my life, my self and my desires are submitted to Him and i am growing every day to want what He wants, but just look at that list! i don't know what's good for me! and i'm sorry, neither do you. sometimes, the things we think will make us happy go even further against who we were created to be... drugs, alcohol, sex outside of the covenant of marriage, lust, cheating, indulging. and we pat each other on the back while we're doing whatever we want- things that go against what God meant for us- and say "at least you're happy." with all due respect, i think it's crap. because then "happiness" becomes our god, the thing that we chase after and worship, but happiness is so fleeting and i don't think any of us really know what's good for us.
of course i care about you and i think it's great when the people around me feel good! but it's not most important. it's not what needs to be driving our decision-making. here's what is: Christ. and the advancement of the kingdom of God and the gospel of Jesus on this earth. and actually Jesus promises everything but our happiness in this pursuit. "uncomfortable" is in the job description- rubbing elbows with "messy" people, living with less, being dependent on and vulnerable with other people, awkwardly sharing who Jesus is to a coworker...
i was struck by a chapter of donald miller's a million miles in a thousand years so much that i want to share a portion of it with you:
"i'm convinced the most fantastical moment in story, the point when all the tension is finally relieved, doesn't actually happen in real life. and i mean that seriously. i've thought about it fifty different ways, but i can't figure out how a human life actually climaxes so that everything on the other side of a particular moment is made to be okay. it happens all the time in movies and books, but it won't happen to me- and i'm sorry to say, it won't happen to you either.
growing up in church, we were taught that Jesus was the answer to all our problems. we were taught that there was a circle-shaped hole in our heart and that we had tried to fill it with the square peg of sex, drugs, and rock and roll; but only the circle peg of Jesus could fill our hole. i became a Christian based, in part, on this promise, but the hole never really went away. to be sure, i like Jesus, and i still follow him, but the idea that Jesus will make everything better is a lie. it’s basically biblical theology translated into the language of infomercials. the truth is, the apostles never really promise Jesus is going to make everything better here on earth. can you imagine an infomercial with paul, testifying to the amazing product of Jesus, saying that he once had power and authority, and since he tried Jesus he’s been moved from prison to prison, beaten, and routinely bitten by snakes? i don’t think many people would be buying that product. peter couldn’t do any better. he was crucified upside down, by some reports. stephen was stoned outside the city gates. john, supposedly, was boiled in oil. it’s hard to imagine how a religion steeped in so much pain and sacrifice turned into a promise for earthly euphoria. i think Jesus can make things better, but i don’t think he is going to make things perfect. not here, and not now," (p.200, 203).
i had to include these words, because i think they're much wiser than any way i could have put it. and i feel like i haven't even scratched the surface of this topic!
you might be very upset with me right now or offended or uncomfortable with what i said. that's okay! i don't mind. if you think i'm messed up, i'd actually love to hear it and want you to reach out to me and maybe we can grab coffee and talk about what you think of all of this and why you think i'm off. this is actually really important. because it sort of forces you to think about who/what you're actually living for. is it for a feeling or is it for the living God? please do comment or reach out if you have something to say or questions! i'd love it. i'm no expert, i am a human being who makes mistakes. but i believe, with every ounce of me, that this is truth. and friends, this post is not without hope. donald miller says it beautifully, "what i love about the true gospel of Jesus is that it offers hope. paul has hope our souls will be made complete. it will happen in heaven, where there will be a wedding and a feast. paul says Jesus is the hope that will not disappoint. i find that comforting. that helps me get through the day, to be honest. it even makes me content somehow. maybe that's what paul meant when he said he's learned the secret of contentment," (p.204).