June 5, 2012
A Pursuit of Happiness
"You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." Psalm 16:11 (NIV)
I stood numb in the makeup aisle at the drugstore. The glittery pink and shimmery red tubes served as color therapy after a stressful day. Surely brand new lip gloss would alleviate the dismal feelings and ignite some sense of happiness.
Several hours later I added my new purchase to an already full makeup drawer. That's when it hit me. I have 47 other tubes of lip gloss; 47 other purchases on a journey — a pursuit — of happiness.
The coral pink tube was bought to ease my heart after a fight with a loved one.
The ruby red tube was purchased to distract myself from worrying over money.
The glossy sheer tube was meant to cover up my loneliness.
Buying lip gloss (clothes, jewelry, fill in the blank) isn't wrong in and of itself. What is wrong is how I insert short-term pleasures to find happiness, instead of seeking long-term joy in God.
The difference is happiness is fleeting, but joy is eternal. It's joy that sticks with us through stressful days, because joy is found in our always-present Lord. The psalmist says in our key verse, "You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." (Psalm 16:11b) Instead of looking for a short-lived high in things, I'm challenged to find lasting joy in God.
Looking at this very important difference makes me wonder what would happen if ...
Instead of a mad dash to our favorite store for retail therapy, we pursue God and allow Him to give rest to our weary body and mind after a difficult day.
Instead of drowning our frustrations in a tub of ice cream after our car breaks down, we vent our feelings to God and wait on Him to calm us down.
Instead of adding yet another song to our iPod to spark happiness, we make a list of everything we're grateful for and turn around a bad attitude.
I'm tempted to throw out my lip gloss as a symbol of ending this pursuit of happiness. I'm tempted to never buy a tube again. Because I want to show God that I can pursue Him, rather than seeking satisfaction in a temporary thrill.
But, I think I will honor my renewed relationship with joy in the Lord by using each and every tube — knowing that the only road that leads to joy and fulfillment is in Him.
Dear Lord, thank You for the ever-available joy found in You. Please bring it to mind when I'm tempted to replace my frustrations and pain with a temporary fix. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
We're celebrating the release of Sarah Martin's new book, Stress Point. In it Sarah helps young adult women address common stress points and gives them practical ways to wait on the Lord, worship Him and make Him the focus of their lives.
Connect with She Seeks, our division for 20-somethings by clicking here.
Reflect and Respond:
What is your go-to temporary happiness?
Spend 10-15 minutes in the Lord's presence today, asking Him to fill you with His joy.
Psalm 43:4-5, "Then I will go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God. Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." (NIV)
© 2012 by Sarah Martin. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
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Matthews, NC 28105