Two weeks ago we looked at a summary of five regrets of the dying, as reported by an Australian woman who worked with those who were terminally ill. We have covered two of the five regrets the last two weeks, and this week we will cover a third (and last), and the move on. The fifth regret was "I wish that I had let myself be happier." Notice they did not say they wish they were happier, but rather they wish they had let themselves be happy. That means that they actually did not give themselves permission to be happy and enjoy life. How sad.
APART FROM THE LORD
I know there is no true fulfillment or happiness outside of the Lord, and it's possible that some or many of those surveyed were not believers. My experience, however, is that some or perhaps many believers are guilty of the same thing: they are fighting themselves and their joy. They are so conditioned to think that joy and happiness are traps and not really consistent with the Christian life that they avoid joy and happiness. In other words, they are afraid of joy? Is this possible?
The writer of Ecclesiastes conducted a life experiment, as you can read in Ecclesiastes 2. He tried all kinds of pleasure, pursued knowledge and wisdom, undertook great projects and amassed considerable wealth. None of these things in and of themselves brought the writer happiness.
Having done all these things, he came to this conclusion:
A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind (Ecclesiastes 2:24-26).
So let me ask you a question based on the writer's conclusion: Are you happy in your work?
AFRAID OF HAPPY?
Do you enjoy your work or are you afraid of the joy and happiness it can bring? Are you conditioned to think that work must be miserable or at least only tolerable? Have you put the pursuit of the big three, career, a nice salary and benefits, ahead of joyful work? There is nothing wrong with any of those three things, but if you are pursuing them and don't have joy, you will eventually be frustrated and even burn out.
When you are afraid of happy, you are in some ways fighting yourself, resisting who God made you to be and what He created you to do. God wanted to make the process a bit simpler for you but attaching joy to the work He has for you to do. When you fight the joy, you fight God as well as yourself. So do yourself a favor, listen to the writer and pursue what you love - the money will follow eventually, I promise. Don't let yourself be scared of your own shadow of happiness, but let it come into the fullness of the light of your daily existence. Thank you and have a great week!