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I’m out of control and that’s okay.
Over the past couple years, I have done my best to become more self-reflective. I read more and I go to church and I have friends and family who love me. All of these things help me to be a better person. But one thing I have noticed on this journey is that as I move forward, I actually feel like I know less about myself now than I did before.
You see, I truly gave my life over to God in 2010 around the time I met the man who is now my husband. During that time in my life, I was so sure of myself. I knew I was taking all the right steps toward happiness and fulfillment. Truth be told, I was arrogant about it. Nobody would’ve wanted to pick a fight with me about my life decisions because I knew I was choosing the right path for my relationships and my career. I didn’t give as much credit to God as I should have.
As the years have passed me by, I have seen more about myself that I want to change. I guess that is what happens when you ask God to give you wisdom and understanding of the deeper things. I just didn’t realize the deeper things would be things that needed to be uprooted from my own life like anger, resentment, fear, envy, and selfishness.
I thought that time would bring me clarity and I would become a better person by default because I was a Christian with a new identity found in God. But what time really brought me was trials and more trials on the road to discovering that new identity. Back when I was sure of my life choices, that was God allowing me to confidently step onto a path that He would later use to humble me and mold me through the unexpected. I was pursuing happiness through what I thought was good in the world. He was planning to redefine the word “good” in my heart.
God began directing me to do everything opposite of what I thought was good and comfortable. I got engaged and then felt I was supposed to quit my job. All I had ever wanted was to work because throughout high school my parents wouldn’t let me get a job. Then God tells me that I shouldn’t get another job until He releases me to do so. It was painful but I obeyed Him. My husband and I got married and we both graduated college a couple years later with Business Degrees. This made it difficult for me to obey God because I now was sitting on a college degree that I wasn’t even using. All during that time, we didn’t have much money so I felt a lot of pressure to work, even though my husband was completely submissive to God’s wisdom on this. Our cars continually had problems that we couldn’t afford to fix. We had to get loans to finish school. I struggled with depression and anxiety and I went through about 2 years of feeling alone even though I had a wonderful husband who loved me. It was the hardest time of my life. Time was not bringing me happiness. I was in what felt like endless emotional pain. I loved God but I didn’t understand why I was feeling that way and I hated that I couldn’t control anything.
Then God opened my eyes and shifted my perspective.
He showed me that if I kept looking for happiness just to feel good then I would never find it. Happiness is an emotion. It is temporary. His joy is what I needed because His joy can sustain a person even when life doesn’t seem like it is going the way we expect. A few months after we joined the church, I went to a conference and I got so filled with His joy that I could not stop laughing for at least an hour. Never in my life has “happiness” done that to me. That truth buried itself in my heart and I have been drawing from it ever since.
So for the last year, I have been constantly pursuing His joy. In the midst of some of the most difficult and out of control moments of my entire life, I have felt his Presence rush over me like a wave and I can’t contain how much love, peace, and joy He fills me with. I am still going through trials and I don’t know what is going to happen next most of the time, but I feel the most peace I have ever felt right now in the middle of the unknown where I have to trust Him.
I no longer strive for feelings of happiness that come from having everything that I want or what I think I need. I have instead decided to redirect my eyes to the pursuit of His joy. This is where I find rest.
Read more from Katelyn at Pursuit and Perspective.
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