“I’m not happy!” That’s what my four year old says when she doesn’t get her way. At first, Anabelle would say it in an angry tone. Nowadays, she sticks out the bottom lip, sadden her eyes, and softly say as she sobs, “I’m not happy.”
One of the first lessons I learned in parenting from those who have done it before is that you are not always going to make your children happy. One of my mentors taught me, “Happiness comes when you obey,” and I’ve found that it’s the same for children. Have you noticed that children who are obedient tend to be happier than those who fight every rule?
Anabelle says, “Daddy, I want to buy a baby doll.” To which I respond, “Do you have money?” She knows where I’m headed so she once again says, “I’m not happy.” I love going to the store with my daughter!
On a recent date night, however, my daughter surprised me. As “custom” would have it, she asked for a baby doll while we were walking down the toy aisle. We had our typical exchange where the final answer was “no.” At this point, I was ready with my “Holy Daddy Face,” prepared to give her the reason for why she doesn’t need another baby doll.
Then she answered with a good attitude and smile, “It’s okay, Daddy,” as she continued to play with the toys on the bottom shelf.
I must confess, I am guilty of spoiling my child at times. There was a time when I would always come back from the store with a little something for her (candy, coloring book, baby doll!) And I suppose part of her behavior was due to the way I showered her with presents. It’s a fine line that every parent needs to recognize.
But that night at the toy aisle in Target, my daughter’s trust and security in me, made me want to give her that baby doll! She was no longer concerned about her happiness but was simply content that we got to play (for free) with some of the toys.
Why is it we think that it’s God’s job to make us happy? We think that certain circumstances will bring about the happiness we so eagerly crave. And when the tough times come and the fires of life threaten the happiness we have, we look at God and ask, “Why?”
But may I ask, “Why not?” Why shouldn’t God allow these fires to come into our lives? Why should our happiness be dependent upon the happenings of life rather than the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ?After all, didn’t He promise that He will “never leave us nor forsake us?”
The fact is this: God is more concerned with your holiness than He is your happiness. Why? Because you can be happy and not be holy; but you cannot be holy and not be happy! God says you can have your cake and eat it, too, but the “cake” has to be holiness.
When my child obeys, she is much happier. When we obey the Lord, we are much happier.
So the question isn’t, “are you happy?” The question is, “are you holy?” Therefore happiness is not based on the happenings of your life but the holiness of your life.
It’s your choice.