how i’m missing out on deeper joy

Posted in faith, wellness

The best way to destroy your joy in anything here on earth is to seek it above God. Marshall Legal

I am seeing this truth show up in my life more and more. I think it’s A, from God pursuing my soul, beckoning me into the depths of Himself, and B, from my own desire for satisfaction.

It’s showing up in the way I eat, how much sleep I get, how I spend money, the way I see the world.

Food. I miss out on a lot of life when the enjoyment of food, or appeasing my appetite, becomes an idol. It’s hard to concentrate when my stomach is growling, self-control is challenging, I overanalyze decisions because I want a meal to be a great part of the day. Eating emotionally, when I’m bored, sad, frustrated, distracted… leaves me consuming mindlessly (and probably not very healthfully). I don’t think this is the way God designed nourishing my body to make it run best.

Entertainment. Movies, tv shows, books. If I turn on the television every time I feel tired and want to ‘check out’ from life, my mind gets fuzzy, I stay up later than necessary, I feel numb and unmotivated to my daily tasks, disconnected from mindfulness. Too much of even fun entertainment or a good story causes me to be lost in a sea of details that have no real bearing or benefit to my well-being. Come on.

Money. I admit to finding enjoyment in shopping. No crime or harm there. I like purses and sneakers and funky jewelry. But if what I look forward to each week is spending money and acquiring stuff (no matter how cool)? Lame-O. It falls flat every time. Sure, it deceives me and makes me think it’ll satisfy my longing for…

For what?

Ah, yes, THAT is the question.

Is it difficult for you to believe that seeking joy in relationship with Father God will satisfy your need for tangible, touchable, immediate happiness in this world?

(Note: Here I’m not referring to ‘world’ in the broken, sinful world context. I simply mean where we currently live, even though it’s temporary.)

Truthfully, it is sometimes difficult for me.

Christianity is living by faith, not sight. It’s conversing with Someone who isn’t physically sitting across the couch from me. It’s devoting my life to the mission of Someone whose story was penned a longgggg time ago (but yes, living and active, I believe it). It’s choosing a way of life that those who don’t know Jesus personally judge, criticize, discourage, and avoid.

Let me be real with you here: Purchasing an item that reflects my personality or serves a useful (ahem, sometimes fleeting) purpose brings me happiness.

Eating whatever my stomach is craving, no matter the nourishment content or volume, makes me feel good sometimes.

Coming home from a long day to binge-watch 4 episodes of a great-plot-with-witty-characters tv show while I consume said craving is oftentimes my first choice.

Quick gratification. Bursts of excitement. Shallow stimulus.

Are they bad? No. Does the joy they bring me last? No.

God wants us to enjoy His every good and perfect gift to the full, but never more than we enjoy Him. Marshall Segal

Hoping in God for excitement. Seeking happiness in God.

It changes everything.

Thanking God for His creativity in side dishes, snacks, desserts, fruits, and vegetables makes them enjoyable…  not idols to satisfy my inner Crazy Woman. Eating can be another way to reflect Jesus, to show God good.

Spending spare time with the goal of inspiration, laughter, refreshment, or quality time with my husband or friends instead of mindless distraction intensifies my pleasure in entertainment. When surrendered to God, these things can have profound and beautiful purposes.

Realizing that God is the source of genuine, overflowing contentment, whether I spend money or not, gives me freedom, wisdom, and self-control in purchasing.

Enjoy the good food, tv show, and new purse! But, enjoy God more; enjoy friendship with Him in those things, instead of apart from them.

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