I'm coming to realize that I'm not here to be happy.
I understand that the American way is the pursuit of happiness, but I don't think it's the Kingdom way.
In fact, I'm increasingly convinced that the pursuit of happiness (which very quickly becomes a self-centered search) ultimately leads to tremendous emptiness.
Pursuit of the Kingdom, however, leads to fullness. And that requires, more often than not, that I lay down my right to feeling happy, or at least my right to what I think will make me happy.
I was talking to my sister the other day about this and she said her perspective had shifted from "I'm going to miss out on so much because of this challenge" to "I'm going to miss out on so much more without this challenge in my life."
Happiness does not arise from a life free of challenges or pain or trouble. Jesus said we'd have those things, but that we can "take heart"...we can have happiness in our hearts through remembering that He has overcome the world. And because He has overcome the world, we can have peace.
I don't know your pain. I don't know your unhappiness. I can't see the hardships that have led you to this place. And you can't see mine. But what I do know is that I can't choose my circumstances, but I can choose my heart attitude. I can choose to not let my happiness depend on attaining a certain goal. I can choose to pursue the Kingdom...righteousness, peace, joy in every area of my life. I can choose to relinquish my "right" to the pursuit of happiness as a citizen of the USA and, instead, I can choose the embrace the inheritance of a child of God.
My inheritance is a peace that passes understanding, a joy that never runs dry, and an abundant life that flows with rivers of living water.
It's not easy. In fact, it will be the hardest thing ever and there will be pain and tears and grief and moments of despair. But my King is good. And He is at work. And He has said that happiness in His Kingdom is found in servant hood and dying to self and becoming like a child.
And I want that because it's the real deal and leads to fullness not emptiness.
And I will learn as I serve to let every act be worship and every sacrifice be praise and every moment be a gift of gratitude.
And I will enter a pursuit of the Kingdom and I will no longer add Kingdom work to my work but, rather, I will just do Kingdom work, God's work, whatever He is doing...that is what I want to be doing too.
O, God, forgive me for seeking after what will make me happy instead of seeking after Your Kingdom and trusting You to add the rest. Forgive me for being distracted by good ideals and confusing them with Your principles of abundant life. Forgive me for trying to add Your work to my work. Teach me how to fully join in with what You are doing. Let every movement, every breath, every word and meal and lesson and chore be an act of worship that brings praise and honor and glory to You.