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Monday, July 20, 2015

Emotional ups and downs

Since the beginning of time man has tried all kinds of things to attempt to fulfill this deep-seated desire to "be happy".  Happiness is some kind of elusive "dream" for many individuals - just never really getting to the place where they are ever truly "happy".  Yes, they experience a little "delight" or "enthusiastic fulfillment" with this accomplishment, that purchase, or even those relationships, but in the end it isn't lasting.  All they are left with is a whole lot of "expense" or "baggage" and then they have to start all over again!  The pursuit of happiness in a particular thing, or even in another person, is going to cost us something we may regret having to "pay".  With happiness being elusive and carrying a bigger cost than we may want to pay, what keeps us going back time and time again to pursue it?  I think it may come in the deep-seated need for God himself - a need many fail to recognize as "spiritual" and not physical, emotional, or material!

I said to myself, “I should have fun—I should enjoy everything as much as I can.” But I learned that this is also useless. It is foolish to laugh all the time. Having fun does not do any good. So I decided to fill my body with wine while I filled my mind with wisdom. I tried this foolishness because I wanted to find a way to be happy. I wanted to see what was good for people to do during their few days of life. (Ecclesiastes 2:1-3 ERV)

I have a drawer in my bathroom which is partially filled with "fails" when it come to face creams.  It isn't that they didn't keep the wrinkles away, or that they didn't take the bags away from under my eyes.  It is that they couldn't be used long-term because they made me break-out.  In pursuit of a cream which would work, it took a whole lot of trial and error.  I have now sought the advice of a dermatologist and you know what - the cream he suggested is actually pretty good for my complexion!  What's the difference?  He looked at my skin under the magnifying glass and he realized I have patches of dry skin caused by something none of these creams had the capability of controlling!  It is like when God looks at our lives and shows us the truth about what we have been pursuing in the "pursuit of happiness".  We come to the place of realizing he actually knows us better than we know ourselves and if we'd just trust him with our lives, we'd be much more content (and even happy).

I have said this before, but it bears repeating:  Happiness is elusive!  It goes almost as fast as it comes and can be gone without us even noticing it has begun to wane.  Pursuing happiness is like pursuing the wind - you can feel it, but you cannot always see it, nor can you predict which way it will turn.  As with the wind, there are ups, downs, and even pretty stagnant periods of time.  In those uncertain moments, we almost come to the conclusion happiness has left us.  Not really.  Our emotional "high" just wasn't sustainable.  We cannot be on an emotional "high" all the time - our bodies would burn out from the extreme stress this continual release of hormones would do to it.  We can get to a place of contentment, though - something quite different from the emotional "high" of happiness.  Contentment is a deeper-seated ability to live above the ups and downs, rushes and calms of life.  It is the anchor which brings stability and this anchor isn't found in the pursuit of anything, but in the stopping to be embraced by the one who is in pursuit of us!

For most people, the pursuit of happiness is almost a lifestyle.  When anything or anyone gets in the way of their pursuit, their world crashes in around them. The amount of effort it takes to remain "happy" when someone gets in your way of "happiness" is kind of daunting, isn't it?  You are going along at a steady clip, making your way to whatever you believe will bring you happiness, when out of nowhere comes someone who is there to present a roadblock, or stir things up in your life.  Now what?  You could almost make a case that life is filled with these kinds of moments, right?  Those times when the decision has to be made to divert around the obstacle to our happiness, or realize the obstacle is stopping us from making progress because the direction is totally wrong for us in the first place!  It takes a great deal of maturity to realize the obstacle to our "happiness" may actually be the thing which keeps us from total ruin!

Rather than pursuing what gives an emotional high, maybe we'd be better to take those unfulfilled emotions to the creator of those emotions - the one who actually understands how each of them was created to work and how they work together.  In so doing, we might find balance to those things which seem to make us feel so unfulfilled and realize how fulfilled we are when the spiritual balance in our lives is attained instead!  Just sayin!