“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
In stark contrast to what Jesus taught, we have become a culture of addicts. We don’t often think of ourselves as addicts.
We have become addicted to many things including the failed pursuit of creating happiness by external means.
This addiction shows itself in a wide variety of ways.
We believe that a new “something” will create happiness. It is true that some things can create a better standard of living, but true joy and happiness are never possible with things. Things aren’t inherently bad but we have to understand that we can never purchase our way to joy or happiness. The endorphins will wane and we will be left wanting more.
We believe that a particular relationship will create happiness. We are created to be in relationship with one another and are called into the body of Christ, but human relationships alone will not create true joy and happiness. People will let us down, disappoint us, hurt us, and even leave us (by choice or by death). God, however, never fails us and never abandons us.
We believe that substances will provide us satisfaction and comfort and we hope that they too will lead to happiness and joy. Substances are just another external means of artificially creating pleasure, and will never lead to true joy and happiness. They merely cover up our insecurities, traumas, and fears. We have been told that pleasure equals joy and yet when you think of the most happy and joyful moments (a child being born for example), they rarely have anything to do with pleasure.
The hard truth is this: no external means will ever produce true happiness nor joy.
Alexander Pope famously wrote in An Essay on Man “Hope springs eternal from the human breast.” True happiness and joy and hope lies inside each of us. It is an internal spring that flows out and not in.
Advertisers remind me constantly that I will be so much happier with a new iPhone, new Alexa that responds to my voice commands, a new car, a new app (there’s an app for that!), a new “whatever.” I can quickly imagine my life of pleasure as I possess the new things. How great and joyful my life would be with that external thing or things. Not in a million years. That is simply satiating a desire created by clever marketing folks, but not feeding my soul.
Our happiness and joy are not dependent on anyone else nor anything else.
Roy T. Bennett reminds us, “If you aren’t grateful for what you already have, what makes you think you would be happy with more?”
Studies have shown when you write or say things you are grateful for each day (an expression of your gratitude), pray and give thanks to God, meditate, and work towards forgiving others and yourself - these things lead to joy and happiness. Appreciation, gratitude, and thankfulness are the real baseline for experiencing true joy and happiness.
Are you feeling discouraged, restless, or even dissatisfied? Spend the remainder of this week starting your day by writing down all the things you are grateful for, praying to God giving thanks for all those things you are grateful for, and working to let go of your anger, frustration, hurt, shame, guilt, and worry. Give that over to God and leave it with him. Those are walls that prevent us from experiencing true joy and happiness that come from knowing we are beloved children of God and we are absolutely enough. You are enough.
May you experience true joy and happiness this week and always.
Rev. Lou Ward
We are meeting at 11:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on Wednesdays in the Fellowship Hall.
We will take July 28 through August 25 off. Stay tuned for our new study coming in September.
Join us on the Second Sunday of every month, with the exception of September, 2021, when our potluck will be on September 26 in conjunction with Church in the Park.
Military Appreciation Breakfast
Third Saturday of the month, 8 a.m.:
Veterans and Active Military and their Significant Others, join us for a hearty breakfast as we share our appreciatoin for your service.
United Methodist Women Monthly Meeting:
Third Thursday of every month: August 19, September 16, October 21, November 18
United Methodist Men's Monthly Breakfast:
*Postponed Until Further Notice
Tuesday: 8-12 am
Wednesday: 8-11 am
Thursday: 8-11 am
La Junta United Methodist Church
601 San Juan Ave
La Junta, CO 81050
Phone: (719) 384-7717
Facebook: La Junta United Methodist Church
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