My kids are obsessed with gum. They are asking for gum ALL THE TIME! One piece is never good enough. I get it though, the flavor, it only lasts for like five minutes. How annoying is that? My son mentioned recently that we ought to buy a new brand of gum because Trident just wasn't cutting it anymore. I chuckled at his frustration because I can empathize. It’s so frustrating, how gum never lasts long enough!
Happiness is a lot like my family's gum obsession. We are a culture that is obsessed with it, yet it never lasts as long as we hoped it would. No matter where we seek to find happiness, in a marriage, having kids, getting that promotion, vacation or buying our dream home, that happiness never lasts. Marriages are fun and exciting, until they aren’t. The truth is, marriage is hard and not always happy, some even end in divorce. Having children is so exciting and I was so happy to bring my kiddos into this world, but raising kids is hard. That promotion at work brings you happiness, until it wears off and work is just work again. The weight loss, the new home, the vacation. All the things that bring us happiness, they lose their flavor.
There are so many people who are desperate to be happy. I was one of those people. I thought that if I got the right education and found my dream job, married the right spouse, had a few kids, bought a cute home, then I’d be happy. I always thought the good life was out there for the taking, if only I could catch it. I started checking off the boxes, building a life that I thought would make me happy. I had the education, I married the man of my dreams, had a couple kids, bought a cute home, yet I was in my 30s and still discontent. It must be my husband's fault – he should be making me happy. It’s my kids fault – if only my son would behave I’d be happy. Our home, the one I loved at first, just wasn’t good enough anymore. I wanted newer, bigger, better.
When I sought happiness in jobs, relationships, popularity, material things, and money, happiness was fleeting. My soul craved something more. I feel like C.S. Lewis was on to something when he wrote:
"If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing.”
What if we are looking for happiness in all the wrong things? What if nothing earthly will ever give us what we crave?
The Lord didn't intend for us to rely on earthly things to satisfy the soul – it is Him He wants us to go to. The other stuff won't ever give us what we need. If you are looking for happiness in the things of this world, you'll never find the contentment your soul craves. I only ever experienced true contentment when I began living a life surrendered to the Lord. A life where I sought Him with my whole heart, mind and soul (Mark 12:30). It was then that he started to open my eyes to all that He had for me! It is no longer happiness that I crave, it is the Lord. He has given me more than I could ever fathom
“Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’” - John 4:13-14