What will make me happy this year?
Deep down this the question we all have as the calendar shows a 4 where the 3 used to reside.
Sure, we hide this question beneath more “appropriate” ones such as “what ought I do this year?”, “What would be good for my family this year?”, “What would be good for my body this year?”, etc. Yet, these are all questions of happiness. We make resolutions, yes even charitable ones, in light of our own happiness. You scoff but read on.
Oh, you’re pledging to give more? Great. Why? Because it’s the right the thing to do. Great. But why do you do the right thing? It’s my duty. Ok, maybe, but maybe it makes you happy too.
Oh, you’re pledging to be a better person? Fantastic. (We’ll avoid the impossibilities of self help for now.) But why? Why would you want to be a better person? You feel good!
It’s not narcissism friends, it’s the way we are hard wired. We are pleasure seekers and pain reducers. This is not bad! What is terribly wrong is where we think our happiness will be made most full. Giving is a good start but why do you think you have a deep desire to give? Improving behavior patterns is great but what standard do you set yourself against? Loving more is a great goal but why do you like to love?
Lewis said it best,
It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. (Weight of Glory)
Far too easily pleased. Take this to your local church and they may call you a hedonist, or a narcissist. (Until you tell them it was a Lewis quote, that is.)
You see, we need not pretend that we do not want to be full creatures, rather we ought to fix our eyes on what will really make us full. Pretending we are not hungry will leave us hollow. We want food and our Father wants to feed us! Do we have anything to offer God that He does not already have? Perhaps God is indeed most glorified when we are eager to eat His food. This is not a sick twist on moral therapeutic deism but rather a call to realize where our full satisfaction should come from. MTD fails because we look to Christ and then back to us. Yet, after fixing our eyes on Jesus what else could feed our dim lit eyes?
Yes, friends, be bold as you seek fullness. A crucified Savior, and a resurrected King make the table full not empty. Don’t putz around the tables edges but eat fully. Who knows, as your ribs pack on the meat of holiness a friend or two may be interested in eating with you.