For as long as I can remember, I’ve needed to be my own “knight in shining armor”. I’ve tried desperately to protect myself from getting hurt or from being hurt by others. Needless to say, it can’t be accomplished. Pain is unavoidable, or so I’ve learned-the hard way.
Many times, I’ve fought to keep myself from doing things, or going places, or involving myself in things that might hurt me. I would deny myself happiness because I was afraid of loosing it. I was afraid of joy because I couldn’t control it. I couldn’t keep happiness. It was always fleeting. It didn’t last.
When I was younger, we moved a lot. I know this might sound silly but because of certain situations I had become very insecure as a child. I needed stability. I needed a place to call home. I needed protection. And whenever we moved I would cry. Then we would settle down somewhere and I thought to myself, “this is it. This is where we will be happy forever”. Then we would need to move again. Eventually I grew so tired of new places, new people, new friends, new homes, that I stopped trying to like new things because I knew I would lose them.
I carried this mentality into every situation, every new people group, every relationship and it has done nothing but destroy my vision of happiness. My vision of God’s goodness, my vision of the future. And it is no ones fault but my own. I had based my happiness on things of this world.
I set a standard for myself that I could never live up too. I had created my own god: the god of joy, and when I lost my joy it broke my heart.
I had placed my identity in an unobtainable image of myself. I pictured myself shielded from hurt, shielded from pain, in a world that I could control whether or not I would be happy. Where I could control what would happen to me. I knew it wouldn’t be perfect but I could try to make it as easy on myself as I possibly could.
After a while, I grew so tired of trying and always failing. I grew tired of trying to control my circumstances. I was tired of trying to protect myself.
Have you ever felt this way? Are you tired of being let down by yourself and by others?
I recently discovered why we try so desperately to find security and happiness.
First, it’s because that is how God created us:
God knew that we all needed to be loved. He knew that we would all need joy to live in a world of sin without living in despair. That is why He sent His only Son to fulfill those needs.
ALL of our joy must be found in Christ or we will never stop being disappointed. We will never be satisfied.
Look at all of the instances in which we find Joy is found in the Lord!
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” Philippians 4:4
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness…” Galatians 5:22
“Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” John 16:24
“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory…” 1 Peter 1:8
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Romans 14:17
“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” Isaiah 55:12
God does not withhold any joy or goodness when we trust in Him to make us happy.
I would like to share with you a prayer that set me free from trying to find my own joy apart from God. When I realized that fighting for joy would only make me miserable I prayed this prayer and what God did next was miraculous.
“Dear Lord, I’m surrendering control of my life to you. I keep trying to protect myself from getting hurt but if I live like that I will never be happy. Jesus you alone can protect me. You alone know what the future holds. I just need to learn how to trust you Jesus. Please give me more faith. Lord forgive me for trying to control my life. Help me to remember to “Be Still and know” that you are God. Help me to trust that you will carry me. “Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest”. Lord, your way is easy and light. Help me to rest in that. Help me to rest in Your goodness. Not in what I think will bring me happiness. I love you Jesus. Amen.”
Why would we ever need to create our own joy when God can provide us with “joy inexpressible”?!
God has much better plans in store for us than we could ever think or imagine possible.
The things we plan only pale in comparison to what Jesus can do in and through us if we would only let Him. When I surrendered control of my will to God and asked Him to help me trust in His goodness, I was overwhelmed with peace. God truly came through for me and now, even though it still takes faith every day to trust Him with my well-being, I can live in freedom. Knowing that by trusting Him He is making me more into the Image of His Son and that is a beautiful thought.
I hope this has been encouraging and helpful. Entrust yourself and your happiness to God. He will not fail you. He never will.
“We must cease striving and trust God to provide what He thinks is best and in whatever time He chooses to make it available. But this kind of trusting doesn’t come naturally. It’s a spiritual crisis of the will in which we must choose to exercise faith.”
― Charles R. Swindoll