The search for Happiness can become a drug that drives you relentlessly to find it, yet it never delivers! And if it does deliver, it is always fleeting. More often than not, it eludes the seeker continually. It will drive you to do things you wouldn’t normally do. Our culture has taught us from a young age that we are to find happiness “at all cost”, even at the cost of our own peace of mind. I am finally starting to truly understand what God meant when He said “If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.” Matthew 10:39.
This brings to mind something I read years ago from the book “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren that stated “It’s not about you!”. This statement came right out of the gates of chapter 1. It was both, the most freeing and shattering statement I ever heard. I was so shocked, mad and confused that I closed the book intending to never read any further. However, as I chewed on that statement or more like it chewed on me, something began to happen. My heart began to soften over that statement and I also began to feel less pressure about what to do with my life. So, I am thankful to say I picked the book up and finished it.
However, the process of growth from being selfish to being a servant has taken many many many years! For example, I just recently realized how very addicting my desperate search for happiness had become. It was making me run around in a frenzied pursuit, that was making me crazy. At every turn I was seeking ways to make myself happy. Seeking to find purpose and contentment, all based on my own emotions, feelings and limited understanding of what life is really about. Here recently I’ve discovered that the prayers I’s been praying turned into a more of a genuine prayer for God to give me eyes to see my own selfishness and for God to truly give me a servant’s heart. A heart that truly longs to serve others and to truly find lasting, joy contentment and purpose through helping and guiding others. Since this surrender of my own agenda and will, I feel like a dark cloud has been lifted off of me for the first time in my life.
To be honest this month I applied this for the first time by truly putting these things I’ve been learning into practice. It is the first time I truly trusted that God alone would give me true satisfaction, joy and peace...that endures all things…good and bad. I began making choices that placed caring for my family and our home before seeking out something that would make me “feel happy”.
To better understand what I am talking about, let me unpack real quick where the shaky foundation began. I was raised in a home where depression and anxiety were very prevalent. I convinced myself that it was up to me to find happiness. And I also learned that when I put others needs before my own it was labeled as codependent. (Yes, there is a fine line but it’s important to figure that part out) The pieces of the puzzle that I have neglected to put together all these years, is that God truly does supply all my needs. When I do things His way and I put others needs above my own and take good care of those He has entrusted to me, God will fulfill, satisfy and uphold me. This doesn’t mean I don’t take care of myself, as I mentioned earlier, it’s important to find balance in this. We cannot give from an empty tank. So, I still must take care of my mind, body and soul through rest, proper nutrition and time with God and His Word. That’s why God and His Word is to come first! And part of what His Word tells us, is we are to care for our temple but making sure not place our wants and desires above others. It’s about trusting Him to guide me on the path that leads to His plans for me. Plans that lead me to true satisfaction, fulfillment and joy.
Something to remember through this process is that true happiness is a byproduct of obeying God and letting God lead us toward His Will, not our own. It’s also important to remember, that He created us with the desires and passions we have…the wholesome and untainted desires and passions. His Will, will deliver what it promises unlike chasing our tainted, broken and emotionally driven longings.
This past month as I’ve practiced placing more value on caring for my family and home over making myself “happy”, I experienced a deeper level of peace, contentment and joy than I have ever experienced. My soul found true rest for the first time in my life because as I stated earlier, pursuing happiness at all cost will never satisfy. It will run you ragged. It will only serve to create anxiety and distracted living that will only serve to blow you around like a leaf in the wind. It’s like a hamster on a wheel tirelessly running in circles and never getting anywhere and never fulfilling a purpose. For example, I literally used to wake up every Saturday morning with the sole purpose of finding something to do that would make me happy. Which comes from spending my whole life running from the fear of depression and debilitating anxiety that seemed to always be at my heels. Never truly realizing that if I would just slow down, cling to God in full surrender, He would make the depression and anxiety vanish!! I no longer have to run around in a frenzy trying to find fulfillment and happiness. I no longer have to run in fear from depression and anxiety. I can wake up with the confidence of knowing that my happiness, my joy and my fulfillment are only found in the Lord. Happiness is not found in running but in falling to your knees before our loving Daddy God. As I fall to my knees before Him in full surrender, He will guide me on the path that was created just for me to fulfill His purpose.
So be brave and allow God to show you what is getting in the way of His perfect will for you! And be courageous enough to slow down and trust Him to reveal it, to equip you and to work all things out through the power of His Holy Spirit. Surrender isn’t easy but it is absolutely worth it!!! ❤️