My Goal for 2014
It’s been years since I have intentionally set goals or made resolutions for the New Year. Usually, I find them a waste. I mean…well intentioned, but we usually struggle to follow through with our resolutions, don’t we? By April, the late night comedians are making jokes about failed resolutions.
Recently, I was at lunch with some guys from my small group and we were talking about goals for 2013 (and how we didn’t reach them). Even though the odds are against me, this year I’ve decided that I want to set a goal for 2014. It’s just one goal, but I’ll admit it’s a hard one. This isn’t the first time I’ve tried to accomplish this goal. I’ve tried before and failed. However, with God’s help, I’m determined that this year I WILL NOT FAIL.
So what’s my goal? I want to live a happier life in 2014. Depending on your personality, you are either laughing at me or relating to me, but before you quit reading let me explain.
For the past 15 years I have allowed my work to emotionally and spiritually pull me in different directions and therefore, determine my joy level. If work went well, then I was doing great. Riding on cloud 9. Nothing could touch me. But if work wasn’t going well…um…let’s just say I’m not as fun to be around. I’m all-consumed by what isn’t going well.
What I started realizing is life is not bad. My wife loves me. My kids are well-adjusted and still want to be around me. We are able to pay bills on time. We have more than enough. So, I asked myself, if so many things are going well, why do I let one aspect of my life bring me down at those times?
Here are just 2 of many verses in Proverbs regarding being happy or cheerful.
Proverbs 15:13 – A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.
Proverbs 17:22 – A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
If those verses aren’t enough, let me give you another thought on why it’s important to be happy. The Israelites spent 40 years wandering the desert because they didn’t believe God would bring them victoriously into the Promised Land. Time after time we see the Israelites complain against Moses, Aaron, and God. In Numbers 21 the Israelites are at the end of their journey and we find this interesting passage. The Bible says that, once again, the people were murmuring against God and Moses so, “The Lord sent poisonous snakes among them, and many of them were bitten and died.” Of course, they cried out to God and God instructed Moses to make a bronze snake and put it on a pole so that when they looked at the bronze snake they would be healed.
The Israelites were at the end of their journey. Why are they getting poisonous snakes now? Jon Courson said it this way, “Because if they’re not taught in the the wilderness, they will be distraught in the the Land of the Promise. God is willing to go to great extremes to get us to understand that if we’re not happy today, we’ll not be happy tomorrow regardless of what comes our way or where we might be. Happiness is an inside job. (Courson’s Application Commentary, Old Testament Volume 1)”
Our happiness should not be wrapped up in our circumstances. Fear. Anxiety. Frustration. Pressure. They chip away at our cheerfulness and joy. However, we have a God who is all sufficient and challenges us, “Do not worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will have its own worries. (Matt 6:34)”
Where do you find yourself on the joy continuum? I pray you are able to push past the rough, rocky terrain of fear, complaining, pressure, etc. and find happiness in our God, who is more than enough!
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Profound, and so well written. I love what you said, and equally identify with the struggle you described, and join you in your resolve to not allow the pressures of life rob us of our joy. Thanks for your exhortation. Thanks, always for the anointed way that you lead us into the throne room through praise and worship. I appreciate you, my friend.