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Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Lie of "Do what makes you happy"

Scrolling through Facebook, Pinterest and even Instagram, the message I continue to find is "Do what makes YOU happy". Or one of these other takes on it, "Do what you love." "Do what brings you joy." "Do what makes your soul happy". And I must admit, done up in the fancy script with the flowers or the beautiful scenery behind it, its aesthetically pleasing. The idea behind it is tempting as well! To live life in a way that it brings me joy, makes me happy, and involves what I love... I can't deny that it is very tempting.
The draw to live for one's self is very prevalent in the North American culture today. Within Canada, the sad decline into narcissism has just started to be more noticeable as it seemed to sneak into our society without people really noticing. Such a me centered world creates a bounty of problems and surprisingly, increases the amount of depression within society. One would think that if they were living for themselves, doing only things that bring them joy, that they love and what makes them happy, that they would be truly happy, but this does not seem to be the case.
Within my generation, there is a rise in depression so much so that specialists are actually concerned with the leap. And yet, these are the people who live by the "Do what makes you happy" mindset. How is it that the people who live to be happy and do what they want can be some of the most depressed, anxious and mentally messed up people out there?!
I have a theory, and you can take it or leave it. Those who focus mainly on themselves find life to be lacking and develop problems. Those who take a God focused mindset, while they may still struggle, tend to find true and lasting joy. Now let me unpack that a little bit for you.
Life is filled with wonderful things, things that bring joy, make you happy, make your heart smile or whatever you want to describe it like. But caught up in an imbalanced proportion, those things make you un-healthy or change from making you happy to making you unhealthy. When you live solely for being happy, the ability to handle things that will make you sad, will hurt, and will happen because its life kind of depletes. Narcissism tells us that we have the right and the obligation to only feel happy, joyful and good. But that truly isn't reality. Reality says that pain happens. Reality says that you have to go through hard times. And God says that HE WILL CARRY YOU THROUGH IT! Those who choose to live for God choose to live in the joy of the freedom He provides. When hard times come, when they have to do the things that they may not exactly want to do but it needs to get done, when days are bad, the joy of those living in freedom does not fade. God's joy is freedom. God's joy is not self-serving or binding. It isn't a trap. It doesn't force you into un-healthy habits. The freedom in living for God means that life has a purpose.
Think of chocolate chip cookies! How many people love chocolate chip cookies?! They make people happy! But if people only ate chocolate chip cookies, how sick and disgusting would they feel? The things that make people happy, may not be healthy when they are serving what they want. Serving God means that even though the chocolate chip cookies make you happy, you also know that a salad, chicken, and rice would make your body feel better for supper instead of only eating things that make you happy.
Realistically, life does not allow you to do only the things that make you happy. And living out the "do what makes you happy" mantra leads to a very disappointing life. Living for God and the freedom He provides leads to a joy-filled, fulfilling life.
Be careful what lies you believe. Be aware of Narcissism and how it sneaks in to kill, destroy and wreak havoc on your life. Set your heart on things greater than yourself and find a truly happy life.