Ask any momma what she wants for her kids and most likely she will say that she just wants her kids to be happy. Moms do quite a bit to see that their kids are happy.
I can remember when Laura was about five; she wanted to have a fairy party. So I spent an entire week working on a huge mural of a fairy scene on butcher paper in our garage. It was September in the south, and the temperature in my garage was quite hot, but I didn’t care. When I finished, it covered one whole wall of our screened in deck. All that to see her eyes light up at her party and make her happy.
When Landon was small he had a pet hamster named Jerry. Landon loved Jerry. We’d had the hamster for quite a long time when he started having trouble with one of his eyes. It had become infected and swollen. Landon was so worried. It grieved me to see him so sad about his little pet. As the eye got worse, I tried crunching up small pieces of an antibiotic pill someone had, and feeding it to the hamster on a grape. I washed the eye several times a day and finally nursed the hamster back to health. He did end up losing the eye, but he lived. All this so my son would be happy.
My husband and I just had the great pleasure of surprising our sixteen-year-old son, Ryan with his first car. A jeep. Yes, he was happy! Need I say more about that?
The next great plan to bring happiness to my youngest son, Evan, is even now in the planning stages. This is going to be big. He is probably going to wet his pants. I cannot wait.
Seriously, I love to see my kids be happy.
Yet while I love to see them being happy, it’s not what I want most for them. I love to bless them with things or experiences that bring them happiness, yet I do not want them to spend their lives chasing happiness.
Most of us know that happiness is a very fickle, unpredictable thing. Just when we think we’ve caught it, we open our hands to see that it has slipped past us, again. And sometimes when we do catch it, we find that it fails to deliver on its promise.
I was just this week talking to my two younger kids about happiness. I was pleasantly surprised when my ten-year-old son said this:
“You shouldn’t go after happiness, because it doesn’t last. You should chase after God because his joy lasts forever.”
When I found my voice again, I said, “Preach on, little man!”
He had stolen my thunder and I couldn’t have been happier… er, more joyful. At ten, this boy understands what most adults do not. God does not call us to be happy. He calls us to be holy. There are many occasions when God calls us to do something that does not make us happy, but our joy comes when we are obedient to his calling.
By it’s very nature, happiness is elusive and must be chased. Americans believe in the “God given right” to pursue happiness. But God doesn’t want us to pursue happiness; he wants us to pursue HIM.
If I am honest, I spend lots of time in the pursuit of my own happiness. Even worse, I expect others to do or say things to make me happy. That can seriously be a full time job… making me happy. If my husband, Matthew’s, job was to make me happy, he’d never have time to do anything else for what makes me happy today, does not always make me happy tomorrow.
So many relationships break apart because someone no longer makes us happy. What a huge burden to place upon someone else.
I do what I can to make my kids happy. I do it because, honestly, it makes me happy. But happiness is not what I want most for my kids. What I want most for my kids is what my ten-year-old said. More than anything else, I want them to “chase after God because his joy lasts forever.“