Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Confession #63 - The Deceit of Happiness

I confess this isn't very Christ-like but I can easily become depressed.  It's as if I need an IV of happiness coursing through my veins to keep me from going to a dark place at times.  I rely so much on my emotions to get me through the day.

On complacent and lazy days I can become depressed for my lack of productivity.  When I don't feel like finishing something I started I become angry with myself and depressed.  When things are not going well and I feel hopeless and become depressed.  Whenever money starts running low, I become depressed.  When my child is continually disobeying the rules I become angry and depressed.  If my husband is in a bad mood, I can get depressed.  If work seems pointless and uninteresting I become depressed.  If I feel like no one understands me I get depressed.  If people aren't treating me the way I feel I deserve I get depressed.  When I don't get what I think everyone else is getting I get depressed.  Now isn't that depressing?

I have always worked hard to hide my depression from others.  Most people may describe me as a pretty happy person.  I like to write about uplifting subjects and make sure that there's always a "happy ending" in my messages.  But inside there's this darkness.  This heaviness that draws me down and sometimes keeps me from realizing the real happiness I've been looking for.

I have never written about this because I am ashamed of it.  It's just another part of my "dirty" soul.  As a Christian I should not be depressed. How can I be when I have the hope of eternal life?  Yet here I am admitting that even as a strong Christian woman, I become easily depressed.  Now I do snap out of it easily, but it's just as easy for me to snap back into it again.

This may be the reason I am a lover of all things Disney.  Disney World is my favorite place to go on earth.  I think it's because to me it symbolizes the fulfillment of perpetual happiness.   What's interesting to me is that I actually have more fun in the planning stages of a Disney World vacation.  You know the fantasizing about where we will go, what characters we will see, the rides, restaurants and experiences, more than I actually enjoy being there.  Because truthfully the actual vacations can become a bit of a nightmare.  Come'on Disney fans let's be honest, it doesn't matter how much happiness a place can hold, heat, long lines, lack of sleep and family dysfunction can create a cesspool of misery.  Sorry Disney I know I'm not helping you out here but I have to be honest.

This latest dive into depression has come from the fact that I couldn't go on vacation with my family or even take my kid to Disney for a day this spring break.  Frankly it's not like she hasn't been a hundred times.  I just wanted to get away, escape the reality of life for a while and I'm not able to so I'm depressed, again...

I was praying today when I heard the Lord speak.  This is what I believe He said:

Decide today your direction.  Will you be guided and led by faith or by life?  Will you be distracted by your wants and desires or be focused on what I have in store for you?  Will you let these silly dreams and fantasies take you away from my purpose?  Is your constant desire for happiness and fun going to cause you to veer off course?  Happiness is temporary.  It is emotional.  But joy is spiritual.  Joy is everlasting and rooted.  I engrave you with my joy.  Disney brings a temporary happiness to children but it does not rescue them from the sorrows of this world and the pain of their circumstances.  Bring them joy through my word which is eternal hope and faith.  For faith brings hope and hope produces joy.

Happiness, like most emotions can be deceitful.  After I wrote down the words I believe the Lord gave me I opened my bible and landed at Jeremiah 17:9, "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.  Who can understand it?"  Years ago I wrote in blue highlighter on the side of this verse, let me not chase after my emotions.

So then I thought, "I have been deceived.  I have allowed myself to be led away by my desires and emotions instead of staying focused on my God.  Disney is not to blame, I am.  I must stay focused on the Lord above all else.  I may not be escaping the work of life right now.  This is the time to work hard for my future is at stake."  Once again God led me to another verse, the very words of Jesus in John 5:17 "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too, am working." 

Then I turned back to Jeremiah, this time verse 29:11-13, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you.' "

Can any pursuit of happiness hear you calling it?  Can it answer you and grant you a future?  No.  Only God can.  Are you being led by your feelings and the deceit of happiness? Constantly looking for it and forgetting what brings true joy?  The Lord has a plan for your life.  He wants to use you for great things.  When you accepted Christ, you were born again.  Born for greatness not an empty pursuit of happiness.  You were given an eternal joy that cannot be broken.  Break away from the deceit of "happiness" in this world and cling to God.  We all must guard ourselves against this way of thinking.  Then you will find everlasting joy, a happiness that cannot be lost.  Let God bring His light into your dark places to heal you from the heaviness that weighs you down.

Dear Heavenly Father, please Lord keep my mind, eyes, ears and heart guarded from the deceit of happiness and let me stay focused on you.  Let me find that the happiest place on earth isn't a vacation away from the cares of my life but on the pursuit of your kingdom, your knowledge and your wisdom.  For my sisters-in-Christ who too become easily depressed Father, give them the joy of knowing that you have a great plan for their lives.  Give them the resolve to pursue that rather than be deceived by the world's happiness.  In Jesus' name I pray.  AMEN

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