I recently (within the past year) had the realization that chasing after happiness is a never-ending pursuit of ultimate disappointment. The unfortunate part is you don’t usually realize you’re doing it. It’s such a habit, you pursue what you think will make you happy, end up not as satisfied as you hoped, and repeat the viscous cycle. We do this with whatever fills our “needs”. It can be with something obviously bad, like drug use or dependency on alcohol, or it can be something less obvious like shopping, working, dating or needing to control situations.
Over the summer, I went back to church and started reading the Bible. Quite frankly because I was all out of ideas. I got fed up. Fed up with endless disappointment of whatever it is that I’ve been pursuing. Fed up with chasing and controlling and trying to “be somebody”. Trying to prove my identity? Trying, trying, trying… to do what and for what reason?
And as I got more into scripture, I realized that’s the point. When it comes to God, you’re identity is in God’s hands, so you’ve just got to pay attention, ask for guidance (aka pray), and do what you think is best (regardless of your own personal interests). It’s obviously easier said than done, but this perspective shift has been a game-changer for me the past few months. Whenever I’m in a funk or upset, I pause and just pray, “God, please guide me.”
More often than not, my answer is to be patient rather than react. And that’s okay, the answer usually comes (just not always with my preferred timing). I’ve had less sleepless nights the past few months by simply handing over my worries and frustrations rather than dwelling on what “I” should do about them. I’m not fully in control. I need help all the time. It’s humbling. I can’t do it on my own. I have limits.
Maybe I’m living in some kind of fantasy world over here with all of my positive thinking and prayers. If I am, I don’t want out, because not allowing myself to be consumed with my frustrations is amazing.
Stifle Me Not