Chasing Happiness


I remember it clearly. I was sitting in my last church service before the big move back to my little hometown in Wisconsin. God had made it so clear that He wanted me to move back by my family after spending a year out in Colorado. Because of my assurance that this is what he wanted I embraced the change and made plans to head back without fear of what may be on the other side-that is, until that day. As I looked around the church full of people I'd grown to love and appreciate, people who had become like family to me, I started to doubt. Questions like "Are you sure this is what will make you happy?" or "Is this really what you want to do?" started filling my mind. The bate to analyze these questions was so intense and I started down that road, trying to determine if this is the way I wanted to go. It was so subtle and seemed safe until later that afternoon, I realized what the enemy had been up to. Since when was this about me? 

Now, I'm on the other side, starting a new "normal" here in my home state and the questions have tried to sneak their way into my mind countless times. But I will not be caught again, because this is not about me.

What is happiness after all? This world chases after it and pursues it as if it holds some secret power to silence all of their troubles and turn their surroundings into a perfect world. We look for it in a new job, a new home, a spouse, a baby, a vacation, and the list could go on. But who in this world would claim that they have found it? Who can say that they have found that blissful state of life, free of worry and care? Silence is the only reply to a question such as this. We struggle and we try but in the end all we have to show for it is a few traces of moments that fed our appetite enough to keep trying. 

The truth of it is, we weren't made to be happy. Yes, I realize that statement sounds bleak and cold, but it is the truth none the less. 

We were created as eternal beings who don't fit in this world. Our hearts longings still often are a stranger to such a truth and will often pull us back to that search for happiness. The goal will never be won though. Not in the way this world thinks it ought. 

In my situation, had I followed what I believed would make me happy, I would have been moving back and forth between two different places every couple of days, because that is what my heart was telling me would make me happy. The pursuit of happiness turns our lives into an unstable world, lacking any structure or solid foundation. Suddenly we are tossed and turned like waves in the sea and no one can guess what we'll be after next. 

Yes it's true, we crave fulfillment and that indeed is how we were created. God doesn't give us a longing for something that is not able to be filled, but the road to being filled is not what this world portrays. He has a higher way in which our souls are satisfied, its a road less traveled often because the look of it can seem misleading. It's not free from troubles or care, it's not full of all things perfect, but the result is rich fulfillment. That's a promise given by the God of the universe, straight to you. 

"For you O God, have tested us; 
You have refined us a silver is refined. 
You brought us into the net;
You laid affliction on our backs. 
You have caused me to ride over our heads;
We went through fire and through water,
But you brought us out to rich fulfillment."
Psalm 66:10-12

His way is not the easy way, but it will always lead to rich fulfillment. 

He calls us to be obedient not happy, and it's in the obedience that we experience the truest satisfaction and joy, even when it takes us to places we never would be without His leading. 

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