I’ve always heard this statement growing up whether it came down to careers, relationships, decision making, experiences, etc. If I can be honest with you the things that make me happy are sleep, sex, food, and money. If I pursued all of these things whole-heartedly I may be happy momentarily, but it won't be lasting. There are so many things that this world will hype up and claim to give you “lasting satisfaction”, but instead gives you "lasting misery". Sleep is great in moderation, but in excess, I’m not making the most of my day. I tend to use it as a means to avoid my problems, but when I wake up my problems are still there. Sex is cool momentarily, but it only lasts so long. And if I genuinely pursued this thing (outside of marriage) I would have a whole caseload of STDs, possibly pregnant, and heartbroken with attachment issues.
These things that society pushes on us as the key to happiness come at a cost. Food is cool, but if I ate as many donuts and fries as I wanted it would leave me with an upset stomach, feeling sluggish, excess weight gain, clothes not fitting, and will lead to me being self-conscious about my image. Money is cool, but if I truly chase this bag like culture says I might have people lose their jobs, may need to steal, hurt some people, step on toes to “chase this bag”. What it really should be called is “empty bag” because no matter how much I put in it it's never enough. Another example is to be quite honest, I like to shop a lot. I see a cute dress at the store and feel like I can’t live without it. I have all these ideas in my head on how it will make me feel when I put it on. I end up buying the dress, then I wear it a couple of times and take a picture with it and suddenly it loses its value in my eyes. And that excitement I once had suddenly vanished. Isn’t it crazy how short-lived happiness is?.
Evaluate what those things are for you (earthly comforts); drinking, drugs, codependency, etc. It’s so important that you list what makes you happy so that you can stay on guard. Desires unchecked lead to destruction. This is why God sets boundaries to things and oftentimes we get frustrated with God because it doesn’t feel good, but He is not a God of temporary. He's a God of true joy! Instead of viewing it as Him looking out for you. Knowing the nature of our flesh will destroy us, but following the wisdom of God gives life to our mortal bodies. Be aware that nothing this world can offer us will ever satisfy. Give yourself grace. You may slip up, but God wants you to get up and keep running. Day by day He is faithful in refining us to His perfect image.
Let’s trust the God who isn’t looking out for our happiness. God doesn’t care if you're happy. Yes, I know I'm challenging your cultural Christianity but it's the truth. And the truth sets free, so I will boldly share it. Choose Joy. He’s looking out for what’s lasting, what will stand the test of time. Stand in His joy that goes beyond what you're currently feeling. Joy is like working out some days you feel like it some days you don’t but what it produces in you is worthwhile. The endurance process produces seeds of consistency. It's delayed gratification for a better outcome. To truly enjoy something you have to suffer to understand the magnitude of how great that thing is.
Joy is found in Christ alone. Let His suffering inspire you. Dying on the cross was anything but pleasurable, yet He did it anyway because He knew what was most profitable. His temporary comforts could only go so far. But Jesus being eternally minded allowed us to have the beautiful gift of salvation. I’m so grateful that Jesus chose joy over happiness. This is why we rejoice in suffering so we can share in the suffering of Christ (Romans 5:3). And share in knowing the depths of His love for us and extend it to others. Don’t be deceived by all these counterfeits. Happiness promises you “satisfaction”, but it’s deceitful. There’s a reason why in a span of a day you go from happy to sad real quick. It's so difficult to maintain happiness for a whole 24 hours in a day but joy is a lifestyle. It is eternal. This is the mentality that Christ has and the one that he has extended to us.
Let’s get comfortable with the word no. I will not do this ___ action because I know it will not fill my soul. I will be back to square one. I choose joy, something that is lasting and worth suffering for. Momentary pleasure is not worth living my life on. Christ has freed us from the slavery we entangled ourselves with. He frees us from the bondage that these earthly comforts leave us with.
It’s so amazing how the Lord trains us in the way in which we should go. No longer craving our fleshy desires like we used to, but craving holiness and Him. Our flesh is wicked, it seeks to kill, steal, and destroy us (John 10:10). When the world promises us false joy, false hope, trust that Christ is the real deal. He will fill your cup so much that it will begin to overflow. Happiness has an expiration date, but joy lasts forever! Lust has an expiration date, but love lasts forever! This joy in my heart can't be explained. It’s like a candle that stays burning and never dims. This is the light of Christ that shines brighter than anything.
Do what gives you joy!!!