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  • Writer's pictureA Friend of Jesus


Realizing Nothing In This World Can Make You Truly Happy

There was a soft pink sky in the west this morning. There were no clouds just the light color pink that faded to a light blue, the colors we often associate with newborn babies. How appropriate for a new day dawning to have the thought of birth. Each day is a new beginning, the dawn of a start of something different. Sure we might be going to the same grind every day, but if we think about it, the day is only what we make of it. That job doesn't have to be unpleasant, though many may seem to be. Attitude is half the battle.

I told my sister the other day I wanted to have my own business. My problem isn't for lack of ideas, as I have those in droves. My problem is focusing on which one would be most God-honoring and fun at the same time. She gave me wise advice, on how to pick the right idea to pursue. Find the one with the least overhead, the most profit and the easiest to do from home. She also reminded me that if I am the only worker then writing a business plan would be easy. Where I often get stuck is imagining the end rather than the beginning. I see a huge picture of what I want to see down the road with my endeavor and can't see the starting line.

It is like starting out in life as a newly graduated teenager. We see all this that we want to do, now that we aren't constrained by parents, and forget that now comes the hard part. We are now the one who is responsible for creating the living that will allow us to pursue those dreams. You can't travel the world without funding. In order to fund your travels you must work. Those dreams we have as teenagers turn into the everyday mundane life of college or work. Life gets expensive and we get side-tracked sometimes with relationships and purchases that we might not have needed or been prepared for.

Our society teaches us to want more of this and more of that and less of what really matters, God. I spent decades wasting time and money on things that never satisfied. Some of these things were fun and some were just a weight around my neck. About 9 years ago I learned that I need very little in life to be happy. I was down to a carload of possessions. It was depressing from the outside, but actually quite liberating. I have often looked at homeless people and thought, "these are the truly free Americans." They aren't encumbered by a lot of worthless junk, though some of them do trolley their possessions from place to place with the help of Target or Walmart. But on the whole they don't have the overwhelming need to acquire more.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not envious of the lifestyle. So many of them are there because of drugs, alcohol or mental illness. It breaks your heart to think of the emptiness that truly consumes them. I am reminded of the Apostle Paul who traveled from place to place. He worked wherever he was at his trade of tent making, but his main job was to spread the gospel. To tell the world about the one thing that really is enough. He said that he was homeless, for he truly was. He had no house that he would go back to every night. His possessions were all he could push in a shopping cart, if there was such a thing. He gives us very little indication of what he did actually own. His focus, his purpose was to share Jesus, his one truly valuable possession, with everyone he met.

Here we are in this fast insane world that requires so much of us and constantly bombards us with commercials showing happy people living their best life, when it is all we can do to pay our bills. When Justin and I a few years ago, I was left with none of the things I had worked hard for and bought. Then last year out of the blue, it all came back to me. As I was doing my pre-Spring cleaning this weekend, I wished I hadn't accepted it back. My perspective of having versus not having has certainly changed. Yes, it is nice to have a larger bed to sleep in, and a dresser for my clothes rather than boxes. It is nice to have a desk instead of a folding table. I know that would have survived without any of it just fine.

Imagine Jesus standing outside my door. He can see me sitting at my computer. I've got music playing and can't hear him knocking for the noise of the TV. My attention certainly is not on Him when it is on all these other things. Imagine Jesus patiently waiting for me to realize that there is no happiness with these things. That was my life before, and there are days when I struggle to find happiness in things and people. You would think with all I have seen and gone through that I would daily start with what truly is ENOUGH - my savior.

I write these blogs when that same savior speaks to me on a personal level. If you go back you will see days where I don't write. Those are days when I am so preoccupied with the things of this world that I've pushed him aside. They are also days when I do not feel happy or fulfilled at all. They are days of frustration and loneliness. They are days of inactivity and laziness. Today will not be one of those days. Today I chose to see Jesus in everything. To thank him for every hassle at work, and seek his direction before I speak to that customer who is unpleasant and not very bright. Today he will be enough to help me through another ordinary problem-filled day. When it is over I Imagine Jesus will be smiling, because he just wants to be the center of my life every day.

Will you make Jesus smile today, even when things get crazy? It doesn't take much.

Psalm 73:25-26 "Whom do I have in heaven but You? And with You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

1 Corinthians 4:11 "Up to this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed and roughly treated and homeless;"

Psalm 16:11 "You will make known to me the way of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever."

Ephesians 3:19 "and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled to all the fullness of God."

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