The self-created god of happiness
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace.” 1 Peter 4:8-10
How often do you find yourself wrapped up in your to-do list for the day, the pressure to impress, or the chase after the next best thing? I find myself fighting this battle every single day, asking the Lord to free me from my selfish pursuit of life and the need to please. The most challenging part of this battle has been breaking down this need to please that I feel to its core, and I have found it comes down to a single word. That word, my friend, is pride. It wasn’t until recently that I felt like I fully understood how this tendency to prioritize making others comfortable and happy based on their interactions with me could be broken down to a pride issue. But man, did it hit me hard when the Lord graciously unveiled this truth before me. Once I understood that pride could look like this - consumption with how I am perceived by others and how I make them feel - I started to wonder what exactly I was seeking over my God who calls me to step into a role that isn’t about perception of self (my own or others perception of me), but rather His glory and spreading His truth in love.
My church covered this concept of the self-created god of Happiness. This looks different for everyone and can be made up of countless things - seeking and building new and fulfilling relationships, marriage, moving up the corporate ladder, you name it. So often we find ourselves chasing after what we determine happiness to be and how we can create it for ourselves. In turn, we end up worshipping that over our God who meets us in every situation and extends unique gifts to us every day, enabling us to grow as the woman of God He calls us to be.
Our relentless love, trust, and seeking of the Lord seems to be “like the dew of the morning” - feeling so present, and then vanishing so quickly. In a world that makes continual comparison to others so easy, how do we not get wrapped up in this god of Happiness and the weight of the demands that accompany it? The ways of this world have convinced us that we alone have the power to unlock our purpose and determine our identity and worth based on circumstances that only we can create for ourselves. We often believe that our worth is tied up in what we do, and that becomes the ultimate influencer in who we believe we are and what we believe our worth and contribution to the world is. When our idea of happiness becomes the center of our heart and our ultimate goal, it can be hard to acknowledge the orbit we’re in and what specifically we’re revolving around. What if instead of this orbit around all that embodies our individual pursuit of this life, we asked the Lord to restore our heart posture to reflect a Kingdom-sized pursuit of His people?
I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time asking for help. I don’t want to burden those around me with my problems or what can sometimes feel like a whirlpool of thoughts or emotions going nowhere. But guess what, sister? This is that heavy word, pride, creeping its way back in again. We are built for this call to community, and what better way to embrace it than championing and spurring on the strengths of our sisters and asking for wisdom, help, or a listening ear? Let’s be grateful for those that the Lord places in our path. Rather than comparing the unique gifts that He has blessed us each with and feeling trapped in our own orbit, let’s spur one another on and see what the Lord is trying to reveal to us through them. Let’s pray for eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart that welcomes how He is moving in our life and the lives of those around us.
Prayer: Lord, I surrender the orbit I have fallen into to you. Restore my intention in relationship with the sisters you have placed around me so that I may champion them in their strengths and gifts. So that You may be revealed and glorified in our communion together. I thank you for gentle reminders of how You are at work in my life. Please give me eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart that welcomes the ways in which you are moving.
- What comprises your orbit?
- When you think of the word “happiness”, what does that include? How can you surrender this to the Lord and allow Him to work through you?
- Think of three women in your day-to-day life. What is a strength in each of them that you could champion? In what ways could you encourage those gifts?
Get to know the author:
Jessie Barr is a speech-language pathologist based in Dallas, TX. She is a firm believer in the power words can hold when spoken over someone with the light and love of the gospel and aims to help people see the value they bring to the world. She loves connecting with other women of Christ through their unique stories and is excited to be a part of the W&HC community.