Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Ranting about Happiness

Ok. I'm about to rant big time. If you're offended, and for some of you, I sincerely hope you are, perhaps this is the wake up call you need, or the smack from the Almighty. This is mainly directed at professed Christians who claim to take their faith seriously. This isn't directed at any ONE person, believe me. But if you feel like it's directed at you, perhaps you ought not to get mad at me (though I know a few of you will, and won't read my blog anymore), but perhaps you ought to take to heart a few things, and get down on your knees.

Where the heck did we ever get the idea that our happiness was more important than doing the right thing? Tell me, where in the Bible does it say that our happiness supercedes God's will for our lives? We are told to ask, and it will be given to us. But for most of us, we take and assume that because we wanted it, God would have eventually given it to us anyhow.

I'm specifically speaking of marriage and leaving your marriage for someone else. This has happened to more than one couple that I know of in the past year. And it makes me sad, makes me angry, and frustrates me to no end. To top it off, these are couples, people who profess a faith in Christ. Yet they must not understand what it truly means to have FAITH in Christ.

Here's the thing. If you're a Christian, your JOY comes from obedience in Christ. Happiness is fleeting and dependent upon circumstances.

Where do I get the right to go off like this? Well, here's my right. Two years ago, I was going to leave my marriage for someone else, who made me "happier" than my husband did. Wanna hear something funny? It was someone online. I had no idea if I would be "happier," in person or not. But hey, we were soul mates, right? My marriage was rough, darn it. Two deaths in the space of a year, money troubles, communication issues,---I was NOT happy. And as I said over and over to my BFF, Jenni, "God doesn't want me to be unhappy, does he?"

No, God doesn't want you to be unhappy. But he does want you to be obedient. Think of your children, if you have any. What's more important? Their obedience in all situations, or their happiness? TPJ frequently wants to do things that will make him happy, but also make him disobedient to what Aaron and I have decided for him. Am I going to let him eat candy til he's sick? No. That would make him happy. But he obeys me and picks out one piece. And he's happy these days, with one piece. Did we have to teach him how to obey us? Yes. And was it hard? Yes indeed. But eventually, the struggles stopped, and our approval and happiness with his obedience is where he finds his joy.

Same with your marriage. Is it gonna be rough? Is it gonna suck sometimes? Heck yeah. But in most of our marriage vows, it ends with something like, "What God has brought together, let no man tear apart." And far too often, we are disobedient to that decree. We allow ourselves to be torn apart. We are disobedient to what God wants for us, thinking that as long as we're happy, God will forgive us and it will all be ok. It may be, eventually. But there will be consequences.

Do I have no tolerance for divorce? Um, no. Both of my parents are on their third marriages. My sister is divorced. Divorce is rampant in our culture, and if I had no tolerance for those who are divorced, I would find myself very lonely, indeed.

What I have no tolerance for is this attitude that what we want, what makes us happy, is more important than what God wants for us. God wants our happiness, have no doubt about that. But he wants our happiness according to HIS plan, not ours.

If you've left your marriage, if you've divorced for someone else, well, that's in the past now, isn't it? But please acknowledge that you've done wrong. You've wronged yourself, your former spouse, the former spouse of your new "love," your children, your family. Don't try to justify it by saying, "But I'm happier now than I've ever been." Great for you. Hooray for your happiness. Was your happiness more important than your child's happiness? Was your happiness more important than doing the right thing, and working on things?

God will forgive you if you've done this---if you've left your marriage to pursue "happiness," whatever form that "happiness" takes. But he does require submission. He requires you to acknowledge that you've screwed up. And then he asks that you "go and sin no more." You don't have to get back into your marriage--- in a few of the situations that I'm thinking about, that so would not be a good thing at all--- but you do have to repent and get out of your current "happiness," whatever that is. Did you leave for someone else? Gotta get rid of them. Did you leave to have time to yourself? Suck it up, no man is an island. Did you leave to pursue a career? Tough tits, babe--- your job may have to go out the window.

If you are somewhere in your life that you got to because you directly disobeyed God, it's time to leave that place. It's time to turn around and tell God that you're sorry.

I've been there, brothers and sisters. I'm still there, quite frequently. But my everlasting JOY comes from obedience to my Christ. And he enables me to love when I'd rather smack, smile when I'd rather cry, and stay when I'd rather run. Not just in my marriage, but in all aspects of my life.

I would apologize for offending you. But I can't. For all of you to whom this hits too close to home-- if I know you, you know I love you. I will always love you. I won't accept your sin, but I will always accept you. And for the one whom I know this seems like it's directed at--- it's not just you, babe. Trust me. There are others.


Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more. I have a neighbor who has 5 kids who kicked out her husband a few months back and I continually prayed for him. It seriously effected our friendship because I didn't know how to act around her. I prayed without ceasing and their marriage is now being restored after she even let someone else move in. Signed, Happily married to Jerry. Joyfully the bride of Christ.

Anonymous said...


BlitzKrieg! said...

Love you, Jenette! This post is another testament to the fact that we are kindred spirits!

Ken said...

You go girl, call your Dad immediately! Which one? The one that drives a truck. The one from northwest Ohio. The one who loves you, who else?

Anonymous said...

I agree with you.

Anonymous said...

I agree but its a hard road to choose. A few years ago I was interested in someone that made the choice to stay married and while we truely know we are soul mates, it was the right choice. Now he is divorced because his wife made didnt make the same choice he did for her years back. Now-I'm married-I have to make the same choice he did. While neither of us have ever truely done anything wrong- I think of him constantly. It makes me sad to think of what could have been or even could be but I love my kids, my life, my husband( even if we fight a lot), and God. It truely is a tough test when God dishes it out for you. It sucks-and it appears to be a test that will suck for a lifetime.