Monday, January 28, 2013

The pursuit of happiness

I remember being surprised to find out as a psychology major at UT that it wasn't normal for people to be happy all the time; that there is an emotional state of being that is not happy and not sad that most people hover at most of their lives.

This seemed really weird to me because it felt like I had been raised in a culture that said I was supposed to be happy all the time and if I wasn't, something was wrong.

Many of us spend our lives chasing happiness. A fragile emotion that can be lost very quickly. We do whatever we need to in order to feel it. We spend too much buying beauty treatments, clothes, cars, large houses. We let ourselves become addicted to food, drugs, and alcohol (or spend our time focusing on NOT doing these things and become slaves to them anyway). We leave relationships that are too hard, avoid spending time with our kids and families by over-scheduling or over-working, and see our commitments as disposable when they become inconvenient.

All in the name of our right to pursue happiness.

Because somehow we have gotten so totally messed up that we have convinced ourselves that if it is too hard or not making us happy, then it must not be what God has planned for us.

None of us want to hear it, but there is nothing in the Bible about God wanting us to live our lives in such as way as to only be happy. There is definitely nothing wrong with being happy but living our lives in such as way as to only chase something that is based on our circumstances and can so easily be stolen from us in the blink of an eye, isn't very wise.

If we want to live wisely (and the Bible does have a lot to say about that) then it is better to focus on being faithful: Doing the right thing, sticking to your commitments even when they are inconvenient or problematic. Following the path that God has laid out for you might not make you happy but it will bring you joy. Joy won't necessarily make you high-five your neighbor or cause you to break out in a victory dance, but it will sustain you through all the highs and lows of life.

Stop being that rat on the wheel that is chasing after something that is always just out reach. Re-commit yourself to being faithful to those things you have committed yourself to - your spouse, your kids, your Church, and our God.

God is more faithful to us than we can ever be to Him or to anything/one in our lives. We will fail and mess up and yet God will always be there, waiting to pick us back up and help us keep going forward. God is so faithful to us that no matter what we do, we can trust that eternal salvation is waiting for us at the end of our earthly life and that is more than enough reason to live out this life with JOY.

Chesney Szaniszlo

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.  I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. - John 15:9-11