The pursuit of happiness leaves one with scars and muscle. Wrong moves and other such mistakes leave us bearing the cicatrices that remind us of times when we didn’t know what we were doing or perhaps where we were going. Muscle results from digging ourselves out of the messes that we find ourselves in or working so frustratingly hard to accomplish something. Both carry with them incredible significance worth considering. Often it is said, “I just want to be happy”. I know that I’ve heard it a million times from the high school guys that I mentor. They say this, but then I don’t see them do anything to give rise to different circumstances in which they can own that sometimes elusive state we call happiness. I find myself thinking about this subject occasionally as well and I wonder what it takes to be happy.
Some people find joy in their work, others when they’re far away from their job, with their family, friends, drunk, recreating somewhere, when they get lost in their hobbies, and the list goes on. I happen to be a workaholic and so live with this ridiculous feeling that I can’t be happy without the right job. Since I’m still in college, and therefore have a crappy schedule to work with, this means that I currently don’t have this amazing vocation to serve as the impetus to me having an amazing life. Makes sense, doesn’t it? I have to ask people if they want fries with that so I have valid ground to hate my life and everything involved in it, yes? Of course not, I’m not that dramatic! Close though. Tonight, my stomach was churning at the thought of having to go back to this wretched place from which I draw pay in exchange for precious life moments that could be spent or wasted anywhere else. Believe me, I’d rather waste time than be at this hole. Funny thing about it though is that “God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are” (1Cor 1:27-28).
Jesus came into Jerusalem riding on a donkey (John 12:14). He came to earth as an infant, not born in some great palace with fireworks and all that jazz, he snuck in. I’m sure there are other examples of how God chooses simple things to teach, to bless and to correct those who belong to Him. This job, although I show up and want nothing more than to have something large fall on me, just in case it might hurt me enough that I might be able to not be there, this job might just be God’s way of taking care of me right now. Ouch. Bad words. WHY?
As usual, I’ve been daydreaming on what my perfect life will look like someday, and I consider also how it might be if certain elements never make their way in. Maybe that’s a faith issue, but I can’t imagine myself being happy if I don’t like my work; I can’t imagine serving food the rest of my life. So I live with this derisible fear that I’m not going to get a good job doing what I want or feel called to, and that consequently, I’ll despise my life and forever be depressed. I know that such will not be the case, but c’mon! That said, I have ruminated on what it would be like, having some crappy job, trying not to flip out at age forty-five and have a midlife crisis. I need God. Every last bit that I can get to make sure that I’m not a middle-aged therapy case who suddenly decides that a change in lifestyle and career is the remedy to unhappiness. I understand that good old-fashioned Christian maturity would more than likely offer a large amount of restraint against such foolhardy acts as going out and buying a convertable and finding myself a young hottie to ride around with, but does that same maturity bring peace and joy with it?
I’ve had people tell me that joy can be learned, and to a degree I can believe that. I feel like part of it is understanding all of the good elements to life and reflecting on them, while continuing to work toward some goal, at least for me, someone else might be different. But this thought feels so plastic; like a facade that has to go because underneath it there’s going to be trouble if people don’t snap into action soon and make me smile! I was thinking about this on my way home tonight and realized that I had been looking at my future like this: I could get that dream job and be happy, still serving God, or I could not get that dream job and live in what would feel like eternal misery, still serving God. I didn’t ask myself until tonight, “Can you not get what you want and still be happy, only serving God?”
Can God be my source of joy? Honestly, I should be asking myself, “Why isn’t he ALREADY the reason for any happiness?”
Oh man, I suck sometimes! Psalms goes through and gives the example of looking to God for joy and happiness, proverbs has this theme occasionally as well, not to mention other random places where God tells us that not only does He love us, but that He wants to make us happy, too! So I have to suck it up once again, and realize that there are going to be a lot of opportunities for pain in my life; there will be just as many possibilities to be happy too. The rain falls on the just and the unjust, and we don’t always get what we want. It sucks, but what else can we say or do? God wants us to focus on Him and all too often we allow these petty things like jobs to get between Him and us and not only do they manage to rob us of our relationship with Him, but they also succeed in ripping us off from our joy and peace as well!