One thing we all have in common as human beings is the desire to find things that make us happy. If you think about, we are all on a quest for happiness. And, far too many people seem to be unable to find it. It is probably the most written about subject in the whole world. Some folks think happiness exists as a direct result of their financial means. Others claim it is the direct result of extreme poverty and stripping yourself from all the entanglements of the world. Some say it is found in nature, while others want to experience it in the city. No matter where you find it, one thing we all agree on is our need to have it. So, when it comes to happiness, are you barking up the wrong tree?
The world we live in today or maybe those things behind the world seem to be well aware of our heartfelt desire to find happiness. As such, the world feeds us endless ideas about where and how we might get that happiness. Television shows promote a world where flawless beauty can be manufactured and purchased in order to “create” the perfect type. And once the perfect type is obtained it may be used to build incredible wealth through product offerings and appearances promising the same ability to obtain perfection. The stars live a dream life in dreamy locations complete with full time make up artists and staff that exist only to serve the needs of the exalted ones. They fly on private jets to exotic locations on a whim with unlimited resources that never run dry. And while these programs do provide a level of entertainment, they also paint a false portrayal of happiness. Like movie stars, it is a world of make believe. It sends a faulty message that promises something it does not actually provide. That is not to say that everyone in these situations is wrong or evil, but rather that the message portrayed to the world (by the world) is not true. True happiness is not found through fame and fortune, though the messages seek to convince us otherwise. What the world offers will always be found a counterfeit. It is a surface expectation that produces only a superficial result. It is barking up the wrong tree.
Social media feeds us an endless array of images designed to make us seek the wrong things. Money, or the love of it, rules the world. We define success primarily by the amount of money and subsequent influence an individual has been able to obtain. We conclude rich people have “made it.” We think that money can solve any problem. We say, he who has the gold makes the rules! But, sadly, money alone is never the answer. The answer is being able to get our needs met. We do actually need money and I’m guessing that we likely need more money than we might actually have. Having enough money and having the discretion to make choices or engage in certain activities is vitally important to our happiness. No choice is not happy. Scraping along in the world unable to get the things we want is not happiness. Spending our time doing things we loathe in order to get money is not happiness. Having every need that comes up becoming a catastrophe due to not having enough money is not happiness. Thus, we actually do need money and maybe more than we think. But, money alone will at some point cause us to fall short of our real happiness. Seeking to be rich is always barking up the wrong tree.
Happiness is not something to be obtained, it is something to be enjoyed in our hearts. The perfect partner will not be able to make you happy unless you are already happy yourself. The perfect job, the perfect house, the perfect circumstances, the perfect relationship all work only to produce a temporary happiness because they do not contain the actual essence of happiness. Happiness is always the result of having your needs met and as your needs change so will your requirements for happiness. Whenever you rely on another person or obtaining certain things in order to find happiness, you will sooner or later come up short. You work so hard to obtain the perfect house and then what? Once you get what you so ardently desired, then what? Happiness, enduring happiness has to be much deeper than that. Life has to be more than acquiring things and gathering up the most toys before you die. The pursuit of happiness by trying to get stuff is barking up the wrong tree.
God as the creator of life has built into all of us a desire to find out about Him. Whether we be simply curious or spiritually starving, all of us have a desire to know Him. In our hearts, we instinctively know there is more to this life than we may have imagined. We seek a universal goodness that guided our hearts when we were children. We dream of a life, an existence, that is totally secure and taken care of and is lacking nothing. We long for the carefree days of our youth when we were truly happy. We want the liberty and the freedom to do as we please. We want life where we do not have to be afraid and can be sure we will be safe and protected no matter what. In fact, many folks seek wealth in order to experience this reality only to find out it doesn’t work. We as a people have never connected the dots that He (God) is our happiness. We have been looking for love in all the wrong places. We have foolishly tried to provide for ourselves what only He could provide for us. We worry and fret and seek and strive to find safety and peace and rest. We have never considered that we are trying to find Him in material things or in money or in things. Even our relationships are centered in Him and without Him cannot be fulfilled. He is all that we could ever need and He is the solution to every thing that has ever gone wrong, the answer to every question. We miss Him because the world has convinced us otherwise and our experience of life has confirmed it. But, what if we are wrong? What if we have barked up the wrong trees long enough that we know something is missing? What if our system of trial and error has exhausted us and we have sought yet not been able to find? What if our happiness and blessedness in this life comes from Him and from Him alone? God as our Father wants to teach us and help us and guide us. He wants us to be happy with a happiness that is not dependent upon circumstances or favorable conditions. He wants to be our all in all in every conceivable way. To know Him is to love Him and He is the first place for which to expend our efforts. He is the only tree.
Just some good thoughts…