“You can get fired, dumped, dumped on, and pulled through the eye of a needle, and still feel held by the container of joy — the truth of your existence.”
When I was a child, my parents would make me eat my vegetables. The nerve of them. Eating vegetables didn’t make me happy and I wanted to be happy. I didn’t care what was good for me or the long term ramifications of not eating vegetables, I wanted candy, not vegetables, and nothing could convince me otherwise. Of course, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that my parents only wanted what was best for me and changed my tune, especially with my recent decision to change my fitness lifestyle. But isn’t that all too often how we approach life? I want to do/be/experience/try what makes me happy. The problem with that mentality is that happiness is fleeting. People can spend their entire life being “happy” and still feel completely unfulfilled.
Happiness is really selfishness to some degree. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you shouldn’t be a happy person. And I’m certainly not saying that I never pursue happiness. Running makes me happy but I do it every day because it’s good for my health…and that’s what happiness should be, a secondary function of why we do something.
Happiness should be a secondary function of our pursuit of joy. How do we find joy? Well personally, I think we find joy by finding what I call our “sub-purpose”. I think everyone on this earth has two general purposes:
1. To glorify God in everything we do
2. To spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Those are blanket, all-encompassing purposes. It’s why we were created. Now, I also believe that we each have individual sub-purposes that fall under both of these purposes. Some people have the sub-purpose of being a leader, some are administrators, some are comforters, etc. You can also think of these as “spiritual gifts” of sorts. What personality traits do you have that make you, you? What makes you stand out?
Once you figure out your sub-purpose, you have to figure out how you can use those in a way that glorifies God as well as edifies your life and the lives of others. For example, I’ve discovered that my sub-purposes (or “spiritual gifts” as the test I took termed them) are evenly scored between leadership, exhortation, and discernment. This didn’t really surprise me as I love teaching people. I love pouring into others lives and I love challenging people to think deeper, go beyond the surface. And I’m always evaluating everything. Literally everything. Like I said in an earlier post, I’ve been accused more than once of over-thinking things. Because of these sub-purposes and my passion for music and youth, it’s only natural that I serve in music and youth ministry. I get great joy out of what I do. And that’s to what it all comes back: Joy.
Stop pursuing what makes you happy. It’s disillusioned to think that success in life is about making yourself happy. True success is about finding alignment with the will of God and glorifying Him. It just happens that a beautiful side-effect of finding that will be happiness and fulfillment. And even more importantly, don’t let others have any affect on your joy. When you allow others to affect your joy, you’re giving them god-like control in your life. Search for your joy in God’s call on your life. And eat your vegetables.