I'll Be Happy When...
I wonder if you, like me, have had an "I'll-be-happy-when" list? If you're reading this blog, you probably know the correct "church-girl answer" is to reply, "But Jesus is my joy."
But can we be honest for just a moment? Since no earthly person can read your thoughts, will you stop and really think? Do you still have an "I'll-be-happy-when" list? Perhaps you have learned to hide it. But way down deep, do you know what I am talking about? Perhaps, like me you've been keeping a list for years, and it looks something like this:
I'll be happy when . . .
- I get the smiley face on my paper.
- The popular girls ask me to eat at their lunch table.
- I get the name-brand jeans.
- I make all A's.
- I make the cheer team.
- That boy asks me out on a date.
- I get that scholarship.
- I move out and go to college.
- He becomes my boyfriend.
- I graduate from college.
- I get that job I want.
- He asks me to marry him.
- We have the perfect wedding.
- We get to buy a house.
- I have a baby.
- My house is clean.
- We can buy a bigger house.
- I lose ten pounds.
- My kid gets all A's.
- My kid makes the cheer squad.
- My kid is MVP.
- My kid gets into the best college.
- My husband gets that raise.
- My husband loses ten pounds.
- My husband treats me better.
- My retirement plan is fully funded.
- I get that convertible.
- I get a better wrinkle cream.
- I get that grandbaby.
And on and on . . .
Like Icing on a Cake
Now don't get me wrong—there are many good things on my list and, I bet, on yours as well. However, those sweet things, like icing on a cake, can only ever be temporarily satisfying and were never meant to fill us up or eternally satisfy us continually—including those good things like our husbands, our children, and our ministries. Only a real, daily run-to-Him relationship with God can do that—and that isn't just the church-girl right answer, is it? Deep down, you know it is true.
But sometimes we get off course.
We often check one thing off our list only to move on to something else, or we find ourselves driving someone else crazy trying to fix them so they will satisfy us (like our husbands). Believe me, I've tried. Have you?
The truth is, those good things we seek can only ever be icing on the cake, and even if you get your husband fixed, he can't do for you what only God can do! God is the cake—the only foundation that can truly satisfy.
If we don't stop occasionally and take notice, we may find ourselves trying to eat icing all the time, feeling pretty sick to our stomachs and our happiness only temporary and fleeting.
Finding True Satisfaction
So what do we do? We remember we are flesh, and because of this reason, we often need to ask the One who knows us better than we know ourselves to show us when things get out of order. Even after we have come to know the Lord, we still have a flesh that's easily caught up in spending way too much energy on temporary things and forgetting the eternal. We are "prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love." But thankfully, we have a patient God who is full of grace and more than able to help us get back to finding our satisfaction in Him.
Perhaps this post is your reminder that anyone or anything you place as the source of your self-worth and satisfaction, short of the amazing Savior who left a throne in heaven to rescue you, will fall miserably short. Because of Jesus, your value is already worth far more than rubies without attaining one more thing on your list. None of those things we will seek on our way to heaven—even good things or earthly relationships like godly husbands or sweet children—determine our value or eternally, perfectly satisfy like Jesus. They don't. They won't. They can't. Period. You know it is true.
It's okay to have dreams, but we have to understand that any earthly dream is subject to failing, fading away, or being forgotten. However (and this is the big deal), when we live our lives with an eternal perspective, with an overarching, always-there goal to continually seek God and give Him glory above all else—when He is the foundation of our true satisfaction—we will find we won't fall apart when something on our temporary-this-world list does.
People who know this, people who live this, are the ones who can walk through fire and not smell like smoke. They are also the ones who can go through the drive-thru and not lose their witness when their order is messed up! The serious fact is that when we remember our first love and live our lives seeking Him and His glory above all, the good days are just sweeter. Not only that, when the hard days come, we're okay because we know this life is not all there is. Things here will fade, and one day our faith will become sight.
Oh . . . one day, one glorious day! Until then, may our prayer be:
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained (Phil 3:7–15).
By Kim Jaggers