My family loves Disneyland. We love it so much that we start to crave it when it has been a few months since a trip. What is it that we are missing? We aren’t missing standing in line, the hoards of people, the amount of money spent or the tired feet – we begin to miss that consumption of fun.
This culture gobbles up fun and happiness like a Mickey Mouse soft pretzel. And who wouldn’t want to be having fun and be happy all the time? But it just isn’t possible nor is it good for us. It is like a high we feel and once the high has worn off, we feel blah and need it again. Why do you think romance novels and books do so well with women? Makes us feel all good, want crazy impossible things and then feel blah about our own lives.
My ladies Bible study discussed this challenge to feel joy and contentment last night. What is it that leaves us always wanting more? We either want a different house, more clothes, a different car, a different hair color, or more fun. We want to feel happy – but it is short lived until we look to the next thing to make us feel happy again.
And because we want to feel happy all the time, we will reject the things that make us feel uncomfortable, convicted or challenged. We sometimes will harbor and nurture our unhappiness and coat it with some fake frosting of happiness – always looking to have fun so we don’t have to get real with life – and get real with God.
I heard this quote once and it completely stuck, “Happiness ebbs and flows, but only joy comes from the Lord.”
We shouldn’t be searching for happiness – we need to be searching for contentment, peace and joy, which is given freely to us by God. This is why so many relationships fail, because people aren’t “happy” anymore.
The wise Joyce Meyer wrote this in my new issue of Life:Beautiful Magazine:
“I spent years doing life my own way, not really following God. At the time I thought it would make me happy to do everything I wanted to do. But the fact is I was miserable. You see, if we’re not following God’s plan for our lives, we’re never going to feel peace or joy on the inside. You may have some fun, but I’ve learned that having fun and having joy are two different things, and I would much rather have joy on the inside of me. Fun is based on what you’re doing in the moment. You can go to the mall and spend a bunch of money, and you might even enjoy doing it, but then when you get back home, the fun is over. You’ve lost your joy. See, the enemy will tempt us to have a little fun. Fun is expensive; joy is free. Joy is based on your relationship with Jesus Christ. When we do what His Word tells us to do, we have the peace and joy that comes from being close to Him.”
And I’ve been there. Craving fun, excitement, project after project, new thing after new thing just so I could keep distracted from my calling, from the hard things in life. And wow, that joy and peace that lives inside of me is much better than any item or fun.
Now fun, buying things and happiness are not wrong by any means – but what I’ve been challenged to do is to “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalms 46:10 – my life verse) and in being still, ask for guidance throughout the day in my decisions, and for a guard against my heart and my mind which is so easily tempted by the world.
Being still, having to think and trusting God can be difficult for someone who loves being super busy – distracting myself and trying to reach some bar for myself that I have set way too high.
“Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing.” (Psalms 34:9). This fear is respect, awe and honor for God. If you hand over all the aspects of your life you are trying to control, including whatever you think makes you happy, and hand it to God – that joy and peace will consume you.
“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 7:25)
The great Augustine was a moving example of this. He was vain, famous, constantly wanting more, not appreciating what he had, lusting, stealing and having hatred toward those who opposed him. He wore the fun, fake frosting smile but was in search of true meaning and contentment.
He found it in God. “…our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you.”
And I like rest.
Joyce Meyer continued by saying, “Life can be so fast-paced, and it’s easy to make mistakes when you’re in a hurry (cough cough: why my life verse is to “Be still…”). Sometimes we need to slow down, so we can discern between the desires of the flesh and the desires of the Spirit. Remember, when you follow His leading, you’re going to have peace and joy, not guilt and condemnation.”
Slow down. Think about what you’re doing or putting in your thoughts.You are in control of your thoughts, and we are called to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. So if something is making you want a better life, want a bigger house, want more fun, more romance, etc… – we need to replace those thoughts, be always thankful and practice what is good, noble, pure and admirable. [read: Philippians] Again, reads easier than it actually is – but the only place we can gain that growth, instruction and rest is in our time with God.
Heavenly Father, help me to be still and feel the rest you so freely provide. Help me to choose You and not the world – make You greater, and me less in every situation; for when I am weak, then I am strong. Help me to take captive every thought, conduct myself in a manner worthy of You, filled with grace, love and mercy. Demolish my pride, my strive for perfection and the sin that so easily entangles and please, help me to delight in insults, hardships, persecutions, difficulties, convictions and challenges because it will bring me closer to you. And it is only through you that I will be satisfied and find joy.
[2 Cor. 12: 7-10; Php 4; Prov. 4: 13, 23; Heb. 12:1-2; Ps. 46:10]