I find myself thinking and saying to the people I love that “I just want you to be happy.” Don’t we all want that for the people we care about, and for ourselves? Happiness is a good thing to want for one another.
On the surface, I believe it is good to desire happiness. But I wonder, during those rare times that the car is quiet when I am driving, about what it means to say that we want people to be happy. What happens when they can not be? I have seen a number of things that have happened to people in my life this year that have jeopardized their happiness or well-being, usually due to circumstances outside of their control. For those of us who have experienced something difficult, it is hard to take the next step, or know the next step, when we lose our footing and happiness falls out of our grasp. To whom do we look to for direction?
Our society is often driven by a “do what feels good to you” or “you deserve what you want” mentality. As appealing as those phrases sound, they can lead us into problematic thinking. The trouble is that when we think only of what works for US, we are forgetting the interconnectedness of humanity and how even the smallest actions on our part can create a chain reaction…for good or for bad. We can not operate as though we are separate islands. This thinking can also lead to a confusion about the differences between needs and wants. I see this play out in the microcosm of my home. Like so many of us, I find myself saying to my children “I know you think you want that, but my job isn’t to give you everything you think you want….it’s to help you learn what you need.”
Sometimes, we need to learn that our worth is not determined by how we feel. We are always worthy of love, regardless of what we do or do not have, or who we are or are not. Sometimes, we need to make life about someone else, rather than making it about ourselves. Setting our ego aside can help us really see what is best for someone else, and truly live in community with others. But most importantly, we need to experience the gifts of God’s love, which He asks us to share, and to know His will for our lives.
One of the scariest truths is that sometimes what makes us happy is taken away, for one reason or another. After that happens, what do we have to stand on? I want the ones I love to be MORE than happy. To have the unearthly peace and freedom that comes from the knowledge that there is a plan for each life, a God- given design and purpose for each precious soul. To know that every life matters. To know that just because bad things happen, the light of goodness, truth and love is not extinguished. To have a gift of joy which gives life to a profound peace that can not be stolen away, no matter what happens – this would be my hope for myself, and for anyone I meet.
There was a cost for this gift of joy that transcends all, but it has already been purchased for us by a loving Father. His gift is freely offered to each of us. But it does require a surrendering of our will for His will, because as a wise Father only could, He knows far better what we need than we do. God wants us to be MORE than happy. He wants us to know His love and ask for His will. That may mean that we don’t get what we think we want, but what we receive instead will be infinitely better. And no matter what happens, our lives will be in His hands.
May we all know the love and will of our Father in heaven who knows us best of all.
“From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” ~ Psalm 61:2