Sunday, July 8, 2018

The quest for happiness is making you miserable

Image: Wang Xi on Unsplash.

This life is the only life we know, so we’re forgiven for wanting life on our terms — the terms of happiness.
God wants to give us far more than happiness, at least by the terms of happiness that we think will make us happy.
Happiness is a counterfeit
for the joy God has for us.
Then something happens one day that renders ‘happiness’ a pipedream that you must say goodbye to.
We call it grief;
loss that sends us spinning
a thousand revolutions a minute
into a barrelling despair.
The temerity of life that scourges us to the extent of casting us into a thousand pieces of derision. This is a place of soul where we experience something we never thought, as a human, we ever could or would.
We’re astounded as to just how deep suffering possibly is. From our own lived experience, we see that it is unfathomable. And compassion blossoms within us commensurate with the rate of us being overwhelmed; a dialogical encounter takes place — we know a suffering we detest, yet we see at the same time how it is opening the eyes of our heart. God is doing it.
I know grief — the experience of life of having lost it all to the point where it broke me — that experience coupled with God’s real felt Presence and a recovery program — forced me routinely into a place where I had no defence.
Every time I got up I felt I was smashed down, and yet I had the very real sense that God was for me and not against me. I could not procure such an understanding in my own mind or strength. It was a gift and I don’t know why I got it and others in my circumstances don’t. I know I was desperate for help. I know I could no longer do life on my own terms.
The terms of securing my own happiness
had failed me miserably.
I know it was a blessing in disguise
to feel completely beaten, yet be open to help.
Grief is the golden gateway
to the true experience of the Christian life,
and loss is the master key.
God’s Kingdom is an upside-down kingdom. It works through loss, not through success. The successful are forever prevented from the life the unfortunates could acquire in an instant. Adding Jesus to an already successful life makes a life seem a little more altruistic. Good. It feels good. But it fails because it’s a spirituality predicated on happiness; on the fleeting notion of prosperity, not on the eternal notion which commands transformation.
Transformation cannot happen without suffering loss,
so we ought not to resent loss, for it is opportunity.
I often pity the person who hasn’t yet suffered. When it does come, they won’t know what hit them! That was my reality at the tender age of 36, which is so fortunate, which I pity all the more children who suffer, for they’re not equipped developmentally. The Spirit of God is found in suffering, in grief, in (genuine) persecution, because it’s in these places we bellow for help in the hope it will come, and the longer we bellow without experiencing the help we so need, whilst striving valiantly to endure, the deeper God takes us into Himself. It is a remarkably consistent method God uses. Trust it.
The quest for happiness is making you miserable. It’s because you’re using God as a means to get something you’ve devised in your mind that you think will satisfy you; your dream, your vision, your plan. And God cannot give it to you against His own nature. Besides, what you think will satisfy you will never satisfy you.
God won’t be used. God will not allow us to use Him. But when we say, ‘God, use me in any small and insignificant way you wish,’ He blesses that heart in a spiritual way that enlivens virtue.
The priceless possessions in life are the spiritual possessions,
not the material possessions.
Suffering takes us directly to some of the most treasured items a human being could own: compassion, insight, awareness, regard, consideration, forbearance, and the heart to do loving kindness and the want to walk humbly.

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