Anti-Resolution 3 -I'll do what makes me happy...but will chasing happiness really end in happiness?
What is the end game of your complete happiness?
"There is no reason not to follow your heart" - Steve Jobs
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?" Jeremiah 17:9
Anti-Resolution #3- I will do what God is calling me to do, instead of "doing whatever makes me happy" - knowing that following my happiness may not actually lead to happiness.
"He chose the freedom of the path of least resistance, never getting a job and staying home with his mom and his books in his room." (The Productive INTP, Paul Q. Peters)
I recently read a book that (apart from the Bible) has never laid bare my soul quite so much. Titled "The Productive INTP", it's a breakdown into the habits and psyche of the MBTI personality type, the INTP (which I happen to be). Now if you're not familiar with the MBTI personality test, I highly recommend taking it, it can help you discover some of your strengths and weaknesses and can greatly help your personal development. That said, don't get too carried away- it's not meant to be a logical horoscope which is how some people treat it. Anyways back to the book- it delves into one of the biggest problems that INTP's have: productivity. It's not for lack of motivation or ideas (which we have plenty of) it simply comes down to a few characteristics we tend to have including lack of self discipline and a strong penchant towards nihilism. Although I found the book to be helpful and interesting, one portion of the text stood out to me more than the rest. The text describes a man named Charles Crumb from a documentary that the author watched, who perfectly sums up the end game of every INTP's desires. Although a creative genius, the man chose to live a life sheltered at home with his mother, endlessly reading and researching, but never actually "going for it". He was given job opportunities, chances to let his creativity and intellect shine- and in the end, rejected all to remain in his comfort zone of books, isolation, and home. By the end of his life, he was overweight, severely depressed, and unable to even perform the basic tasks of manhood. He took his own life at at the age of 49.
Now why did this morbid tale speak to me so much? Well, for one thing, it gripped me that his sad way of life is actually my naturally inclined fantasy. I would pretty much remain in a constant state of homebound isolation endlessly reading and absorbing information if I had the choice. "What a loser!" you may think and you may just be on to something. Nevertheless, now you know my deepest darkest desires- to be alone, to be home, and to be ever uninterrupted in my reading and researching. It's not glamorous, but it's me and it's honestly how I am happiest.
Do what makes you happy. Unless it doesn't make you happy.
Now before you feel sorry for me, know that although that is naturally how I am happiest- it is a far cry from my actual life, and I thank God for that! My actual life is a constant stream of caring for my two boys, having people over to our home, being involved in ministry, running a business, and a lot more things that are the exact opposite of what I most enjoy. I know that there is a side of me that wonders what it would be like to simply live alone and not have to shoulder these burdens, but I also know that I am right in the midst of where God would have me. The decisions to get married, have children, go into ministry, and start a business were ALL things that made me naturally fearful and apprehensive, and things that naturally seemed like they would go against what made me happy. Yet somewhere in the back of my mind, and in the forefront of my prayer life, I knew that following what made me happy was not where God wanted me to be. And in the abandonment of happiness, I found something better- purpose. The most amazing part, that purpose has now come full circle to happiness.
In the abandonment of the pursuit of happiness, I found....happiness!
The life I live is far from the life I would naturally pick for myself and yet somehow I know it is far better. Today's society will sow lies, especially into women, that your happiness must be found by putting yourself first and foregoing any thoughts of sacrifice, submission, and obedience- those are dirty words to the fulfilled woman who seeks her own happiness. It was clear to me after reading about Charles Crumb, that the end game of my happiness would never have led me anywhere good...where would the end game of your happiness lead you? Your idea of happiness may be totally opposite of mine (which I kinda don't doubt as mine is basically to be a hermit in the mountains). Maybe your idea of happiness is the perfect relationship and marriage. Maybe it's to have a huge family. Maybe it's to be extremely wealthy. Whatever it is, know that the end game of following our happiness doesn't necessarily lead us to a place of true contentment and happiness...BUT if you put it into God's ever capable hands and decide to pursue His calling instead, the Bible offers this promise, "Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it." (Luke 17:33 NIV). If you put aside the thoughts of what makes you most happy, and seek a life of purpose in the will of God, I promise you, you will not be left wanting for happiness.
Know that you can trust the One who created you to be able to completely fulfill you.