If you are like me then I know that when you were young you heard the stories from your parents about how hard life was for them “in the olden days”. My olden days weren’t that far back but I must say with children making lists of electronics and expensive computer games, even tennis shoes that used to be within a good price range, are like what a month’s rent was in “the olden days”, things are quite a bit different! When we were young we selected something from the Western Auto or Sears catalog and were very happy with what we got. Christmas has become a day to prove how much we care by the amount of money we spend. I’m not a minimalist in the strict definition of the word, but it’s a pretty close call! Because of lack of funds when I was growing up I learned that you didn’t have to have a new outfit for every day with shoes to match, and that sharing clothes with your mom wasn’t all that bad. Have you wondered yet why I chose to share this with you?
Deuteronomy 29:5-6 “I took you through the wilderness for forty years and through all that time the clothes on your backs didn’t wear out, the sandals on your feet didn’t wear out, and you lived well without bread and wine, proving to you that I am in fact GOD, your God.”
The Israelites were living in Egypt, the land of plenty. They had all the garlic and leeks they needed with meat and plenty of food in general. But were they happy? No, they were not free they were slaves! How can you be happy when you are a slave? While they had all this bounty, they thought all they wanted was to be able to walk out from under the iron fist of the Pharaoh, it wasn’t until they were out there in the desert, living free, that they missed the food they had while under oppression!
What, is happiness? Quoted from Wikipedia, “Happiness is a mental state of well-being characterized by positive emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. A variety of approaches have striven to define happiness and identify its sources. Philosophers and religious thinkers often define happiness in terms of living a good life, or flourishing, rather than simply as an emotion.”
Where in that explanation did you see that happiness was attributed to the amount of toys you had? I have seen God answer prayers for a person by taking them out of a personal bondage of maybe drug addiction, or a bad relationship, and when they walk free they complain about something they left behind! What’s that about?
Do you ever feel like you are in a tunnel that is spinning in a downward motion and you are flailing your arms trying to gain your equilibrium without success? You come to the end of a day and look around only to feel disappointed at what you have done.
This is not just a day on the calendar, but also a day in your life that you realize that things are in a mess in your life and you don’t know how to fix them. Maybe you made a huge mistake by deciding that now was the perfect time to change jobs, then find out that the new job is not all it was “cracked up” to be, the new job fails and the old one is no longer possible. Or, you get a divorce or break up with someone, then when your relationship is shredded beyond repair you decide that it was not the right move to make.
In trying to make our own happiness we can end up failing! An old song says “Only Jesus can satisfy your soul, only He can take your life and make it whole, He’ll give you peace you never knew, sweet love and joy and heaven too, only Jesus can satisfy your soul!”
If it seems to be taking more to make you less happy, give your life “closet” a good cleaning, throw away all the ties to Egypt, be a minimalist and learn to live on the Manna that God supplies. Philippians 4:19 “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
Don’t forget that Jesus is the reason for the Season, Merry Christmas!