Friday, 30 March 2012

Thoughts: As Long as You're Happy.


I hear this phrase a lot and it drives me crazy. It comes with different variations:

I'm just going to do what makes me happy.
Just do what makes you happy.
If you're happy, that's what's important.
It it feels good, just do it.

We all want to be happy. I get it. I want to be happy. I want my life to be one big happy party complete with daily massages and cake for every meal. But I've learned that I can't base my decisions on 'me feeling happy' because sooner rather than later I'll make the wrong decision.

Example: If I get up every morning and decide what to do that day based on what will make me happy, I wouldn't go to work. Not that I don't enjoy my job. I do. But if I wanted to be really happy, I would stay home and write, or stay home and spend the day with my kids. That would make me happy. But I have bills to pay so I go to my job.

Let's apply this saying to the extreme. Would you tell a pedophile "as long as you're happy"? Probably not. Their happiness would mean someone else's nightmare. 

What if your kid wants to join the circus at the age of ten. "Well, junior, if that will make you happy then you should go do it." I think not.

When I die, I don't want people to say "she did what made her happy", I want them to say "she did what was righteous."

Now, I'm not talking 'self-righteous' - I don't want to become that. Ever. The origin of 'righteous' comes from the Old English word rihtwÄ«s, meaning right and wise.

Righteous does not always equal happiness. Sometimes righteous sucks. Sometimes righteous is painful. Sometimes righteous is so hard that even a glimmer of happiness is nowhere near it. 

Example: Being a Christian does not make me happy a lot of the time. Turning the other cheek, loving my enemies, forgiving people who hurt me, listening to hatred being spewed all over God and my faith and then telling them God loves them too. Hard. Super duper hard.

So why do it? Why strive to live a righteous life?

Because I get something better than happiness. I get peace. Peace in spite of my circumstances, peace no matter what happens. Happiness? Sure, sometimes, and that's great. I'm not going to deny the happiness that comes my way. But there is a big difference when at the end of life I can say "It is well with my soul" versus "Sure, I'm happy".

Phillipians 4:8-9

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable––if anything is excellent or praiseworthy––think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me––put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."