“The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble” Proverbs 19:23
I remember sitting in my therapist’s office during our initial meeting, and her asking me if my life had a tagline, what would it be? After a long pause, I told her plainly, “Happiness is not for me.” I broke down afterward, as I had thought that for such a long time, but never said it to anyone else. With it out, it was so clear why I had been depressed to the point of not valuing my own life anymore.
The potential for happiness is one of those things that defines whether or not life is worth living. It is also something we have made dependent on people or things, touting the belief once I get married, have children, have an awesome career, have a house/car, I’ll be happy. The lie is exposed later, after we get what we thought was IT, and at best, it was nice for awhile, but the happiness didn’t last; at worst, it turned out to be hollow. Out of that emptiness, we begin to use people and God as a means to happiness, and the simple pleasures of life no longer have any effect on us. When called out on our behavior, we lash out against our community and God, as though it is their fault we are not happy.
God, in His wisdom, understands both our need for and fleeting nature of happiness. It is why He offers something we can actually get: contentment. Paul, in Philippians 4 says, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Today, we open up our hunger for happiness, and ask Jesus to teach us the secret of being content in all situations..
Do you believe God is interested in you enjoying life? Why/why not?
Once you are rested in contentment, how are you able to experience happiness?
Lord, I have tried to be happy for such a long time, and it seems no matter what I do, I can’t hold onto it. Forgive me for growing resentful against you, as though you were keeping from me the very thing that defines life as worth living. Teach me the secret to being content in all circumstances, and reignite the appreciation I once had for the simple pleasures in life, that I might give thanks for them. Thank you for understanding my desire for happiness, and not only meeting that need through it’s proper channels, but also leading me to something so much greater. Amen.