In my last post, I talked about why so many girls buy into the fairy tales of the romantic movies and are disappointed with their own engagements. The author of the post I was responding to said something that always bugs me:
But the WORD says it has nothing to do with you. The Word says the covenant of marriage has everything to do with God. The Word says the journey of navigating a lifetime promise has everything to do with Jesus. And the only thing perfect for YOU in the equation is grace.
That bugs me because there is a whole movement within Christianity (that I once believed) that says that God is the only thing that matters. That we don’t matter at all. That our own happiness doesn’t matter at all.
This anti-self attitude is a reaction to a sort of self-centered worldview where everything is about me, and my own happiness is the only thing that matters. Christians have reacted to “It’s all about me” with “It’s not about me at all.”
Both are wrong.
Also, the word doesn’t say any of the things that she says it does. Anywhere. If you can find them, please post them in the comments and I’ll retract this. “You are not your own” doesn’t count because it doesn’t say any of the things that she said.
They’re wrong because we have emotions. We have feelings. We are people, and God cares about us. I’m not going to go all Joel Osteen and say that God’s biggest priority is our own personal happiness, but I refuse to believe that God doesn’t care about that at all. And if God cares about it, maybe we should allow ourselves to care about it a little bit too.
There’s a deeper problem here as well: If we give everything to God and do everything we think God wants, and God doesn’t give us what we think we’re supposed to get (if anything), we can start to resent God. Even those of us who feel the most unworthy can start feel a little bit used if we spend a lifetime refusing to take into account our own needs and hopes and dreams.
I think God smiles when we’re happy. All this rubbish about God being most glorified in us when we’re most satisfied in him has led us to think that we’re only supposed to be happy about God and that everything else should, by contrast, make us feel miserable. Ironically, that’s not even what John Piper meant when he wrote it!
You see, we can be satisfied in God over a sunset. A wonderful song. A beautiful wedding (our own, even). A great story. Many of us think that God wants us to hate all of these things by comparison to our love for God, but scripture doesn’t teach that. It’s about acknowledging God and being thankful for these things. We can turn our joy into gratitude, and thankful people have been proven to be happier people!
God isn’t calling us to renounce things that make us happy, as the ascetics would have us believe.
God is calling us to enjoy things that make us happy (as long as they’re not hurtful to us or others) and to be thankful for them. These gifts are not in competition with God any more than a father who gives a wonderful gift to his daughter must compete with the gift for his daughter’s affections. He is happy because she is happy because of him, and she loves him because of the gift.
The father would not be happy if the child threw the gift away and refused to enjoy it because she felt it was competing with her father for her love. The father knows the truth, and gives good gifts to those who ask (Matthew 7:11).
The word says that God is the giver of all good things (James 1:17).
So let us have no more of this nonsense about anything in our lives having nothing to do with us. Everything has to do with us, and everything has to do with God.
David M Schell
I am a doubter and a believer. I have a Master's in Divinity from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, but because faith grows and changes, I don't necessarily stand by everything I've ever written, so if you see something troubling further back, please ask! Read More.
One thought on “It IS About Me :: An Invitation to be Happy in God”
This practice of negating the importance of happiness (continually stressing “love is a choice” and “happiness and joy are not the same”) has ALL sorts of negative results. I wrote about this too on my blog, back when that “Marriage Is Not For You” article was showing up all over FB. When I wrote this blog post, I had one friend who commented saying that most of her relationships, including one where she ended up really hurting a guy who didn’t deserve it, fell apart because of that thinking.