All my life I’ve had one obsession. One obsession displayed in many, many ways. This obsession was expressed through music, poetry, teaching, writing, sporting events, and relationships. This obsession was happiness. My whole life I’ve sought happiness in everything I’ve done. I don’t make music in pursuit of fame and fortune–I don’t write to be the next NT Wright (as if it were even possible). I do these things because they bring me joy; however, these things without three specific relationships would be nothing. My personal happiness is comprised of three relationships. My relationship to Jesus, to myself, and to the world.
My relationship to Jesus, from the my middle school years, has been a savior/grace recipient relationship. That aspect of our relationship has not changed one bit–however our relationship has grown in many ways as most healthy relationships do. One specific way my relationship to Jesus has expended is I now look at the word of God as a love letter and not a rule book. I see Jesus’ human life as a model to base my life off of, and by choice, strive for that. It’s really simple, actually. I read about Jesus’ life and recognize that there is a very pivotal difference between Jesus and I. I’m flawed. Very, very, very flawed. As I started to study Jesus’ doings and began to read about Jesus’ physical actions on Earth–I grew inspired. I developed a divine responsibility to love.
I am a recipient of Grace. We see in Hebrews talk of Jesus being our great high priest. We see ultimate understanding and acceptance. Jesus, once again a role model, comes to earth fully human and fully God. Jesus experienced temptations just like you and I do. He felt the urge to lust, to lie, to hurt unrighteously.
15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:15,16).
This brings hope to my failures.
We get so lost in a lot of really messy things when it comes to politics, theology, and life in general. Disagreeing isn’t going to get us anywhere–arguing isn’t going to bring us happiness–even if we win the particular debate we hurt others with our words. We believe lies that religion has told us. We believe the voices in our head that say we’re less than.
We look at the way Jesus lived his life.
We look at the relationship we have with him.
As our savior.
As our friend.
As our role-model.
We don’t run from him when we screw up.
We don’t hide when we feel ashamed.
We approach his throne of grace with confidence- and receive it in full.
The second relationship that my happiness is a product of is my relationship to myself. What choices am I making to produce happiness? Am I eating poorly? am I exercising regularly? Am I doing the things I love like making music, teaching, writing…?
As adults we have responsibilities, right? We have to work. We have to pay bills- we have fairly logical things to stress out over. If you are anything like me, you strive for simplicity. It’s tax season–I have car payments, I have other bills to pay. I’m working a part time job just to make ends meet until God puts me in a different arena. Until that day I will remain faithful to the journey. I will remain faithful to his plan for today.
The funny thing about the past… and the funny thing about the future is they don’t exist. Yet they control so much of our time and energy in the present? Most of our stress and worry is a product of the past and the future, things that aren’t even real.
We need to value the gifts and passions that God has given us.
We need to exercise the things we love.
We always forget to do this. I always forget to do this.
This third relationship that has allowed me to find happiness is my relationship to the world. My relationship to how I view others- how I view the homeless, how I view orphans, the poor, people of other faiths, immigrants, and how I view those who treat me badly.
If my relationship to Christ is healthy–
and my relationship to myself is healthy–
then my relationship to the world will be healthy.
It’s always going to come back to love.
Everything always comes back to love.
May the Lord bless you and keep you, as He has called you His own. May His presence be ever clear to you on this day, and may He plant in you a seed, that will give root to change.