Wanna know a secret? There is nothing or no one who is going to make you happy this year. There's no accomplishment you can do, no place you can go, no money you can earn, and no promotion you can gain that will bring you happiness. Your friends won't make you happy. That man or woman of your dreams certainly won't do it. And here's a real kicker: that perfect little baby, whom you love with all your heart and would absolutely die for, will not ultimately make you happy. Nothing or no one will.
"Wait a minute, Crystal," you say. Isn't this rather depressing for a beginning of the year message?
It's not meant to be depressing, but it is a hard lesson to learn. And absolutely true.
Don't believe me? Check out the divorce rate. According to the American Psychological Associtaion, 40-50% of married couples end up in divorce. I know the reasons vary, but the fact remains that they divorced because they were, what? Unhappy.
What about the suicide rate? CNN reports that in the years between 1999 and 2014, suicides increased to 28% among men and 60% among women. And you can bet that a lot of those were married people. It's sad. So many husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, so unhappy, despite having spouses and families, that they decide to end their life.
And as terrible as this sounds, how many stories have you heard or read of parents killing their own children? Their very own blessings from God. I can't count the times I've seen a news report where a mother or father is charged with the abuse, neglect, or murder of their son or daughter.
Think about the drug addictions, alcoholism, depression, etc. that you see on a daily basis all around. People who are grasping at something, anything that will bring them some joy and peace. Happiness. Everyone wants to be happy.
My mind immediately goes to some very high profile figures very well known and loved throughout the nation and even the world. They had recognition, relationships, respect. They had families, whom they loved, I'm sure. They had successful careers and plenty of money to buy whatever they wanted. They had expansive and beautiful homes. Everything someone could possibly want. Yet they wallowed in drug or alcohol abuse. They left their families. And some even ended their lives. Why?
Because, despite everything they had, they weren't happy.
I can hear you now. "All right fine. Now that you've gone and depressed me, what's the moral of your story?"
Haven't you guessed it by now? This is a lesson I learned myself. I was convinced that my life would start, my future would open, my prospects would brighten if I could just find that "special someone." I couldn't be happy until I married. I was so sure of this, I tried to convince God of it as well. "See how miserable I am, God? I can never be happy in this state. Please send me my prince charming." "When I have my own family, when I hold me own child in my arms, then, THEN, I will know true happiness."
But the happiness never came. Or so I thought.
You see, I had it backwards. Those things were not what I was missing to know true joy. While a family and a good career and money in the bank are certainly nothing to run away from, they are not what brings joy. I figured that out (finally!) because so many people around me had those things, and they were still so unhappy.
But here's the good part: I find happiness. I found it in Jesus. Now, I know that sounds cliche and all, but it's the truth. I discovered and realized that even if I met the most perfect man and had the most beautiful children in the world, I was not going to feel any better. In fact, I may feel worse, because I would wonder what was wrong me me? I had everything I ever wanted.
When I completely surrendered, I mean literally gave up that notion, I found true peace in my life now. Despite the fact that I've never married and held my own baby in my arms. I found joy, happiness if you will, but falling in love with Him and letting Him fill my empty arms and heart. And I've never been happier.
There was something truly freeing about giving up on my dreams and plans and letting Him work out His plan for my life. I still have questions, sure. But I know, even through the tears and loneliness, that I would still choose Him over anything else. Over a guy who things the sun rose and set in me. Over a precious baby with tiny fingers and toes. Because in the end, He's the only One who can fill my heart and leave me content.
Don't fall in that same trap. Don't live with the assumption that if you can just get...(fill in the blanks here), you'll be happy. Because you won't be. Oh, you may have season of smiles and warm and fuzzy feelings. But the magic will fade. And you'll realize that you've achieved all your dreams, but stilll feel like something's missing.
I feel so blessed to have learned this now. I can't imagine being any happier or more content than I am right now. I have Jesus. He lives in my heart. He guides me every day. He loves me, despite myself. He has great things for me. He died for me. (What greater love could I ask for?) He's enough for me.
I hope, whether you are single, married, childless, or a parent, you will discover this level of happiness I'm talking about. May you find true joy so that those blessings you receive will be all the more appreciated. May Jesus have first place in your heart, so that you will know the privilege of living this life with Him. May you love Him above and beyond anything or anyone else, so that you will be able to love like He does.
And may you always be kept...
In His Grip!