"All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them,
'If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness!'"- Numbers 14:2
One of the most impactful things God has said to me occurred during some quiet time a few years ago. It was this simple request: "Enjoy Your Life!"
Why would God say something this obvious - of course I want to enjoy my life! But even though this seems like such a simple and easy thing to do, in reality it's very difficult. We burden ourselves with the anxiety and stress of work, money, family, health issues, and the like, and before you know it, you can get sucked down a rabbit hole of negativity and complaining about your life and all the things that are "going wrong."
I remember the time in my corporate job when the sales team I worked with conducted a program from an outside consultant called, "The Happiness Advantage." Based on the book by the same name, written by Shawn Achor, we studied a fable called "The Orange Frog," about a frog who was the only orange-colored frog in his community. He was also the only frog with a positive attitude, despite being made fun of for being different. As his positive attitude infected others around him, soon the rest of the community of frogs turned orange, symbolic of a happy and positive attitude.
But what I took away most about the program was how unfortunate it was that we had to pay someone to deliver that kind of program in the first place, that there is now so much demand for programs about how to be happy. Why is this such a struggle?
Because it's in our human nature - all the things we are chasing to make us happy, are really just "sugar highs" of the world - the promotions, the new car, the beach house, retirement - that all come with the promise of something better, but also wear out quickly as we look for the next "fix." I recall a recent article written by someone who retired in his 30s, who warned that after six months of the sugar high of financial freedom, he defaulted back to his previous state of unhappiness. Why? Because his happiness was built on the wrong foundation - an expectation that money and financial freedom can provide true happiness and contentment.
The only way to true happiness, or joy, comes from Jesus Christ, because the joy He provides is everlasting and unbreakable. When you put your trust in Him, you receive the gifts of peace and joy, promised by the gift of the Holy Spirit, which is unaffected by the short term highs and lows of this temporary, earthly life. Jesus himself says "in this world you will have trouble" (John 16:33), so we know that nothing we do will totally erase the challenges we will all face on this earth. We ultimately have a choice in the attitude we have during whatever circumstances we face. By putting your trust and hope in the Lord, you are building a foundation of joy and peace that outlasts the negativity that the things of this world will consistently and constantly challenge us with.
So I say to you again, "Enjoy Your Life!" You will always face challenges that can derail you from living a joyful life, but by choosing to live a life of trust and obedience to God, you can hold fast to Jesus' promise to always be there in the storm with love, peace, and joy that can never be taken away!
"Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls." - 1 Peter 1:8-9