A lot of things in life can only be learned through experience. Call it ignorance, or optimism, but we often have to go through something before we actually learn the lesson.
As much as we would like to say that we took our parents advice in High School when they told us that these are the times we would cherish forever…yeah, we didn’t listen. But just as we did, and the generations and generations behind us will do also, we thought we knew better and we had to grow up to believe it.
Until I found Jesus, I saw happiness as something that could be obtained. A place I needed to be. I would buy material objects with money I didn’t have, just to reach my destination of happiness. I would let my mind wander to the thought, “If I just had this credit card paid off I would finally be, truly happy.” And then I would pay off the credit card, and there would be another stipulation on my journey. “If I just had the car I’ve always wanted, that would do it. I’d finally be content and happy.” The cycle would repeat over-and-over again.
The feature image for this post is me in my papaw’s truck. Since I have had Lucas, this picture has become one of my favorites. I remember the joy I felt riding in the bed of the truck (It was dangerous okay…). Looking at my face, I can see in myself in that moment, the joy I see in Lucas’s when he is happy. It is hands down, one of the best feelings in the world.
I will tell you though, it didn’t last forever. My face would have looked entirely different in a photograph during my Papaw’s service in the New Lexington Cemetery. And that’s okay.
In the twenty-eight years I’ve been here, I’ve learned one very important lesson through experience.
Happiness is an emotion, not a destination.
Our generation struggles with truth. We believe in this unrealistic notion of – all that matters is our own personal happiness. When you feed into this idea, it spawns dangerous emotional instability. Happiness will always come and go, just as frustration does. Along with fear, excitement, etc. It will never be a place we can strive for and remain there. There is only one place that can hold that kind of power, and it is not happiness.
Can you imagine if Jesus would have seen happiness as a destination?
In Matthew 26 Jesus goes into the Garden of Gethsemane with his disciples.
38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
Let’s do this you guys, lets put our Grace ahead of our Happiness.
Lets promise to walk more like Jesus, with a mindset towards others and not ourselves. I truly believe that if we understand that happiness will come and go, and that our purpose here is so much bigger than being happy, things around this place will slowly start becoming more and more beautiful.
We thank You for Jesus.
We fail everyday by putting ourselves and our happiness ahead of our righteousness. I pray that we get out of our own way and follow Your lead.
Help us to trust Your path and Your will, not our own.
In Your son’s name,