Forgetting about happiness

18 Apr

I remember summer journeys as a child. The car stuffed full of duvets, a weeks worth of food and the air full of that incessant question that drives every parent up the wall –  ‘are we nearly there yet’.

We would chase mirages on the French roads – those big pools of water in the distance that stretched across the melting tarmac. We would get excited about the cars wheels causing a wave of water as we drove through, big refreshing splashes soaking us through open windows.

It never happened. The puddles didn’t exist.

Thirsty desert travelers see these same mirages in the hot, sandy desert. Hoping for cool water for their dry mouths and parched camels. Their hearts sink as the refreshing pools vanish. They’d fallen for it again. Hope removed and thirstier than before.

How many of us are striving towards mirages? Believing that we will find happiness if we get the boyfriend, the job, the car, the iPhone.

And we get there to find that it’s a mirage. It’s fleeting.

We are chasers. Chasing that next experience, thing or person to satisfy our need, to make us happy. Like a forest fire that devours everything in its way, our quest will never be satisfied.

So let’s forget about happiness and focus on Joy. A joy that surpasses circumstances, ‘I wants’ and ‘I needs’; a joy that finds us smiling in times of pain and dancing through heartache. I’m not denying tears and pain; I’m suggesting that the two can come together.

Paul rejoiced in prison. Abused, tortured and shackled, he was joyful (Philippians 4). Like us, he could have said “When my chains are off, THEN I will be happy.  When I am free, THEN I will dance”. He could have chased mirages. But no, he wasn’t into fleeting happiness, only deep joy would suffice.

So let’s give up the chase. Let’s stop the relentless striving for happiness and start worshiping, for that is where we will find authentic joy.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13


One Response to “Forgetting about happiness”

  1. midnitechef May 12, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

    I often catch myself thinking this way “…when I can { xxx } I will be so happy”. Especially lately about my toddler, “I’ll be so glad when she’s potty trained”. I remind myself that she will quickly grow and no longer be a baby, this is very temporary and I need to enjoy it, I know I will miss having a baby around eventually.

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