Leah and I are now in Houston. We’ve unpacked, gotten our internet hooked up (which was quite the time-consuming misadventure), and even bought ourselves a couch. I’m still hunting for work, but God has given us a small cushion and we’re confident He will provide that in time.
The bigger problem is that I want the job for the wrong reasons. I’ve been convincing myself for years that there is a point at which I’ll have “arrived”: wonderful wife, baby on the way, house-trained golden retriever, good-paying job I enjoy, a small cadre of close friends, and a large brick house with a fenced backyard. And because I’ve been setting my sights on this end goal, I’ve made myself unhappy because I’m not there yet. Of all those things, the only one I have is a wonderful wife.
The odd thing is that nobody ever feels they’ve “arrived” for very long. They may have a great life, but there’s always something to chase, be it that next promotion, having more children, retiring early, or that latest TV. The game never stops and the goal line keeps moving, and with each move, it seems there are more people in front of you that you have to pass. How can we be happy in such an environment? Even the most competitive of us would be exhausted by it eventually.
I’ve always preferred the most efficient way of doing things. Why should I waste my time and energy doing things the most difficult way if there’s an easier one that does exactly the same thing? Yet in this area, I’ve been doing things as inefficiently as possible, not just in chasing short-term happiness instead of long-term happiness, but worse, in not knowing where my true happiness even lies.
Paul was beaten and imprisoned numerous times, yet he was able to sing while in chains. David composed many of his Psalms while on the run from Saul or while being threatened by another enemy. Abraham was willing to sacrifice his own son, for whom he’d waited over 100 years. These men had a love for God burning deeply in their hearts, and it was this love that gave them not just a fleeting happiness, but a joy that was able to take them through torture and fear that most of us will never know.
I’ve been challenging myself on the things that have brought me happiness. Poor eating habits (who doesn’t love bacon?), gaming, daydreaming, and others are habits I should have kicked long ago. Perhaps even more importantly, though, I must get rid of the idea that I will ever arrive. I am where God knew I would be, and my biggest lack isn’t a house or a dog or children; it is and always will be that I don’t have enough of Him. And it is when this realization has completed the far-too-long journey from my head to my heart that I will finally have the joy that I’ve been seeking.