Chasing Happiness

May 23, 2016

Do you ever feel tired? When your last straw breaks, what moves you one step further?

Our friend in Proverbs 31 knows about exhaustion. Verse after verse describes her daily demands … plant a vineyard, pick wool, provide food. I’m not sure when this gal sleeps, but it seems – whenever she does – it’s not for long. Yet still,

“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future,” (Proverbs 31:25, NLT).

When I look at her to-do list I scratch my head, because let’s be honest. Demands drain. They suck the life right out of us, so certainly they’d take our laugh with them, too, right?

But not this girl. No, her work appears to do the opposite.

She gains energy as she scurries to and fro with her spindle and shovel. She lengthens her list when the opportunity arises. She brings, provides, considers, and extends. All for who? Herself? Her future? Her dreams? None of the above.

It’s all for someone else.

If Jesus is the object of her faith, then others are the object of her work.

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves,” (Philippians 2:3, ESV).

Discontentment lies at the root of self-seeking actions. We strive for something greater because what we have is not enough.

The gun fires. Let the race for Happy begin. We set our sights on the finish line, whatever it may be, and exhaust ourselves trying to reach it. With our eyes locked on personal goals, we leave others in the dust.

Finally we break through the ribbon to cheers and applause! We breathe a deep sigh of relief and smile. I did it. I made it to Happy.

There’s just one problem … Once you get to Happy, Happy moves.

Five years ago we bought a house in Texas. The uncertainty of Luke’s job often left us wondering where we would live and for how long, so the stability of a house near family brought bright smiles to our hearts.

When we walked through the front door we knew, God picked this house for us. It was perfect. Right up until we decided the carpet must go. What once was white now was brown and grossed us out.

A short time later we overhauled the bathroom. All-in-all we’ve painted walls, added rooms and replaced counters … and we still have a long list of ways to make this place better.

Happy moved.

But this girl, in Proverbs 31, she hung up her running shoes before the race ever started! She refused to chase Happy.

She laughs because of what she pursues.

“But you, {insert your name}, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness,” (1 Timothy 6:11, insert mine, ESV).

She runs a different race. One not after temporary gains and fleeting feel-good moments. She lays it all on the line for love. For endurance. For godliness.

She considers not how much she has to lose, but how much everyone else has to gain.

This kind of attitude may paint the picture of a life emptied of all fun or pleasure. But if you look closer you’ll see, her works heap praise and reward on her life.

It’s risky business, living to serve. Counting others higher than yourself. But you won’t be the first to try your hand at it. Jesus paved this trail,

“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:6-8, NIV).

To turn your works towards others, try these two ideas:

1. Work with consistency. Strength to do anything requires regular repetition. To serve well, we must serve often. (Proverbs 31:17)

2. Work without complaining. Remove bitterness and selfishness and consider every task as a special assignment from the Lord. (Philippians 2:14)

Proverbs 31 describes a woman God intends all of His girls to be like. God wants us all to be clothed with strength and dignity with a laugh on our lips and no fear of the future. One vital step towards this is how we answer the question, What moves you?

“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work,” (2 Corinthians 9:8, NIV).

I’d love to send you some verses to encourage you when you feel afraid or anxious. If you haven’t done it yet, you can subscribe to my blog on my website here, and I’ll send you those verses.

*This post was originally published on www.katymccown.com


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