Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Promises, Promises: A Rough Start to the New Year?

So much for wishing folks a "happy" new year. Not to be negative here, but I have a number of friends having quite a time of it already, and it's only day 9! It reminds me that none of us know what a day may bring. I had a few days of happy and not-so-happy surprises in 2007.

It's amazing the lie I've believed all my life about happiness. As a child I always thought that being an adult was the best life, and of course always looked forward to when I was all grown up. Although I was a fairly happy child, of course I believed adults had it better. As adults we all now know how untrue this child-like rationale is. What parent doesn't bemoan bills, work, and car repairs to their children, reminding them how lucky they are that they are still kids? Still I think back to my first years as an adult...college, marriage, etc...everything had a next phase to look forward to, something that would bring me happiness. Well, I've found that while each new stage has brought various happy occasions and things I'm happy about, I've also learned that life seems to get harder too for some reason. I know you all know what I'm talking about here. Why is that? It seems so unfair, until I realize I was believing a lie that said the next stage will make you completely happy! As my delusions have been washed away to reveal the reality of life, I guess it's also worked on my character somehow...it's what makes us all wiser, strips off the peripherals of our lives, and maybe will bring us the happiness we all seek. I don't yet know.

So then I think what is the delusion...where does it start? Am I promised Happiness? That's it. I believe I am promised happiness, that I am owed happiness. As I was pondering this I realized that in my experience and my head knowledge of the promises of God I cannot see that God promises anyone happiness, or happiness on my terms. When I start demanding that life work my way and that's the only way I will be happy, then I start to believe I am God and that I can be in control. Discontent is now my soul bearer, not happiness.

Happiness is the promise of the American dream, a dream I think we in America feel we are owed no matter the cost, even if it costs us our health, our families, our sanity...and maybe even our happiness. To make a generality, most Americans have a Happy Life as compared to many in the world. It's just a matter of perspective, how you define "happy".

I have a long way to go in realizing and embracing that life isn't always going to be easy, happy, or worry-free, but I can carry the promise of eternal life and God's presence with me into the New Year, no matter what may come today.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life." Book of John 3:16

"I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Book of Matthew 28:20b

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