I'm sure you've seen the endless posters and social media posts about being happy. They say things like "enjoy life", "surround yourself with positive people", "don't be so serious all the time", "do what makes you happy", "follow your heart", "live your dreams". I could go on, but you get the picture. This is one of those things that really bothers me. Not because I'm a grumpy miserable person who doesn't like the happy things in life. My problem is because those sayings are so misleading and can bring unnecessary guilt.
As Christians, our purpose on earth is NOT to pursue happiness. It's not about doing things to make a happy life for ourselves and our families. Our purpose should be about striving for holiness and making Christ's name known to everyone we encounter. The command to proclaim the gospel is serious...it's life or death...for all eternity. We must speak boldly about what eternity will be like for those who reject Christ. When we speak the truth of God's Word into our lost world we will experience persecutions, harassment and negative responses. Those will not be happy times for us. They will be difficult and challenging but we must press on.
We have to get out into the world if we're going to win the world. We must put aside our agenda and plans and dreams. We need to surrender all of it to Christ and ask Him to guide our steps each day. Our hearts are deceitful and cannot be trusted. They will mislead us if we choose to follow them instead of Christ. The default of our hearts will be to avoid difficulty and seek what feels good.
There are so many circumstances in life that you must endure that no happiness can be found. And that's ok. You don't have to feel guilty when your heart is broken over a rebellious child or the betrayal of a friend. You don't have to try to find the silver lining in the stories of sexually abused girls who become moms at age 12. You don't have to find the good in the countless children going to bed hungry right in our own communities.
There is nothing happy about cancer or the unexpected death of a 1 month old. There is no happiness in divorce or helping someone battle an addiction. Where is the happiness when teenagers are sharing stories about their friend who was shot and killed by a gang?
When your eyes are opened to the realities, pain and heartbreak of this world then the ignorant bliss with which you once lived is gone. Life becomes more serious. You no longer focus on the frivolous things as if they are the priorities in life. You look at life in light of eternity.
Our world is full of broken and hurting people who don't need to be told "just be happy" or
"life is too short to be anything but happy". As followers of Christ we need to meet them right in the middle of their mess and show them Jesus. They need to hear the gospel, how He came to save them and give them joy not happiness as they walk through the journey of life.
Stop telling me to just be happy and love life. I refuse to walk blindly through life oblivious to the pain and suffering of others. I choose to immerse myself in living life with the eyes, heart and mind of Christ.
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, a VBS crafter, a coupon clipper, a thrift store shopper, a football fan, a cook, a student of the Bible and an avid reader.