I’ve noticed something about our society – there’s an urgent desire for happiness, and it tends to override every other part of life. Your spouse isn’t making you happy? Bye bye.
Your job isn’t making you happy? Well – this one’s different, everyone seems to be okay with hating their job. I’ve always found that rather odd, but that’s a conversation for another time. Anyways – you understand my point?
If something doesn’t make you happy today, you can just throw it away. Feel free to take off – there’s no level of commitment that can keep you tied down to something if it’s not making you “happy”!
There aren’t any limitations forcing you to stay if there’s a lack of happiness in your situation! Fly from job to job, relationship to relationship, city to city until you feel happy – that’s what you are supposed to do – right?
The Rule of Emotions
Everyone aspires to happiness. Really it’s the question of the age how to reach it. People search high and low, far and wide, to find the answer to perfect contentment. The only problem is that real joy and contentment are not “happiness”. Happiness comes and goes with every changing situation, but a deep settled joy and contentment isn’t something that just disappears with each little breeze.
Too often, people set their sights on happiness as the ultimate goal, which leads to basing every single decision on your ever-changing emotions. The problem is: Feelings are not facts. We run around trying to attain this constant emotional high, and it is exhausting. As life goes, crap happens, and it’s very easy for “happiness” to flee from our lives about as quickly as it arrived.
Joy and contentment aren’t on the roller coaster of emotions, they are a choice to be made in the midst of the roller coaster – they’re along for the whole ride. Joy is the car you choose to sit in, not one of the many hills.
Happiness is defined along the lines of an emotional high whereas joy is a state of being the comes from a confident understanding of what really matters and Who is really in control – remembering who you are and Whose you are.
So, it goes without saying (but I’m going to say it anyway) – there is a significant deficit in the understanding of Upside Down Kingdom joy and fulfillment and the definition of those same concepts in the eyes of the world.
There’s inherent goodness in pursuing joy, but pursuing surface-level happiness often leads to destruction as we chase an emotional high instead of a contentment-filled life.
And here’s the most wonderful thing – joy gives us hope.
It’s not a one or the other situation – joy births hope and hope births joy! There is an abundance of peace that comes in knowing that!
Our contentment, thankfully, isn’t based on our ability to create the life we’ve always wanted. It is, in fact, based entirely on the joy seeded in none other than Christ Jesus Himself. We are free to live joyfully. Even in sorrow, there is great hope to be found.
“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13