Saturday, December 5, 2009

Manufactured Joy

I'm not sure to what I owe the blame for how emotional I feel tonight. Hormones? My potentially undiagnosed mental illnesses? The weather? That's not the point. The point is that my heart is sinking in to my chest.

What follows is something that very well could be the disorder of someone raised a Christian, and raised to abide by the rule of finding joy in all circumstances. This is not a bad thing at all. However, sometimes, I think we confuse this finding joy with pretending to be joyful when we're not. There's a huge difference. Think about the way someone's voice would sound over the phone after you announce to them that you got a promotion that they might have wanted for themselves. You can easily tell the difference between a, "Oh my gosh! That's great! Congratulations!" and a, "Oh. That's great. Congrats..." One response reveals the innermost happiness of the person, and the other so obviously is trying to hide just how disappointed the person is.

If we think we can tell the difference, imagine God's point of view.

He created us. He knows our innermost thoughts. He knows our good sides and bad sides. He has the hairs on our heads counted. He sees the very deepest longings in our hearts and the coldest, darkest places that we would never let any other human being see. Therefore, praying fake prayers of thanksgiving without meaning them is pretty insulting, isn't it? I mean, who on this earth could possibly lie to the Almighty? If I were Him, I imagine I'd be pretty fed up with people trying to veil themselves with these facades of happiness when on the inside, they are horribly shattered and in need of some strong and gentle hand to reassemble the pieces.

The Lord says so Himself. Proverbs 12:22 says "The Lord detests lying lips, but He delights in men who are truthful." Even further, Psalm 145:18 tells us that "The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth."

Let's be honest with Him, shall we?

I am going to be flagrantly honest. I'm hurting. There must be something in the air, because so many of my friends and acquaintances are now starting up these fresh and exciting new relationships with one another, which is so exciting. I know deep down in my heart that I want them to be happy, and that I rejoice for them. At the same time, I would be lying if I did not say that I was jealous a little bit. It's hard being 20 and never having dated anyone, or anything like that. It feels an awful lot like I'm being set up to die an old lady in a mansion full of cats.

I fear that as I get older, this part of my life will be exactly the same, and I will only get older, flabbier, wrinklier, and just worse and worse. The hope would dwindle downward with every passing year. The most I have to look forward to is a career where I can show the world just how clever and dedicated I am -- by myself.

Even if I didn't think these beliefs were kind of stupid, I've been told many a time that they are. I'm blessed enough to have friends who not only tell me that these are all very foolish ideas, but they also tell me that none of these things even begin to define me. My identity is not chained to a relationship status on Facebook. But I seem to love clinging to the idea that they are, that at least I can predict what will happen to me and plan accordingly by tossing out useless dreams that occupy my headspace.

You know how we come to fall for these thoughts, though? The same reason Eve took the bite from that fruit, and the same reason Adam followed suit. Satan wants more than anything to see us believe falsehoods. Even if we have professed to follow Christ, and even if he no longer has his grip on our destinies, he still takes great pleasure in pulling us off the path with lies.

The Lord detests lying lips.

Let us undo what the fallen one has started in this world, pushing even Christians to believe that lies are acceptable in any way, shape or form. I put my honest hopes and longings before the Lord -- no frills, no fixes, nothing but the gut-honest truth about what I dream about. It's so hard to believe that the Maker of everything is remotely concerned about my wants and that He wants to fulfill them in the best way He can devise, but it's true.

I can only know for sure that my broken nature has me worried for all the wrong reasons, and lying to pretend that I am perfectly okay. That's all that is to blame.

Admitting that truth can only lead to seeing all the healing that the Lord has in store for those who can cry out this confession. Then, truly, I can rejoice in everything, because I will finally understand that I had everything all along.

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