I hear this saying all the time: “Do what is best for you,” and “Do what makes you happy,” and I always just kind of thought that was normal and good. I never really thought otherwise because it is my life right? Well, maybe that is a misconception I had. Did I really know the best things for me? Let’s talk about it through some of my own personal experiences.
I just moved jobs. For those that do not know me, I am still in school at App State with 1 year left on my bachelors degree. My original plan was this: a degree in Middle Grades Education and then attend Seminary at Gardner-Webb University for my Masters in Divinity. But you know what they say, “You want to make God laugh? Tell Him your plans.”
Though I am in school, I made the awesome decision to marry this beautiful blonde. So, I needed some money because a broke college student can’t support a family. I got a job working as an interventionist at Kings Mountain Intermediate School (meaning, I pull kids out of class to help with math and reading). I absolutely love it and have made more relationships than I ever imagined. I am not bragging about myself by any means, but when I walk in the cafeteria, I feel like a movie star because the kids go crazy wanting me to talk to them and give them high fives (but it is too much at times). The kids and I have grown close to each other, and I finally found a job that I love going to!
But the only downside to this job is that it does not pay the best. I am not in it for the money, but anyone who is getting married knows that you are not only supporting yourself but another person. And since she does not have a full time gig just yet, I was getting kind of concerned. I was not trying to change jobs but I was looking for a summertime job, since this position only lasted the school year. I am working part time with my hometown church as part time youth pastor and needed something else for summers, so what better job than grass cutting? I love to cut grass. Call me crazy but just putting my earbuds in and riding a zero-turn all day brings me relaxation. But there was a problem: they wanted me to start when school was going on, so that was out. Until, they went ahead and did not offer the summertime job, but a full time job with benefits. After praying about it and talking to my family, I told them I would take it.
Now, why did I just give you a run down of essentially my last 10 months? Who cares? Well, it is not so much about what has been going on, it is more about what people told me.
I approached my principal, assistant principal, and many colleagues to emphasize how I would miss them and how I appreciate everything they have done and, to my surprise, they said they would miss me and enjoyed our time together. But what followed did not seem to sit very well with me. Just about every one of them closed with this, “You have to do what makes you happy”. At first, I thought it was harmless but the more they said it, the more I began to disagree.
I did not make that decision because it was going to make me happy. I loved my job and it was super hard letting go of it. I did it because I felt God was opening a door up that He wanted me to take. It was nerve wracking walking in somewhere you know no one. In fact, everyone is a Crest fan (KM is better). The point is this: Life isn’t about making us happy. It is about following Christ and bringing Him glory.
My example was a minute one. But we are faced with this on a daily basis. There are many things that we could do that would make us happy but are not good things, as well as the other way around. I just preached my first sermon not too long ago, and I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I was terrified and did not want to do it so soon. I kind of thought I’d be in my 30’s before I started to preach but here I am at twenty and did it. I was not happy a week before up to when it came, I was extremely nervous. But when I was on stage and afterwards, I had so much joy in knowing I had given God’s word. It didn’t make me happy before, but it glorified God and brought me joy in doing so.
I think often about people who do not live in America. We say we have it tough here, but we are blessed. When I feel down or scared, I usually think of people in foreign countries who are hunted and killed regularly for their belief in Christ. I am sure they are not “happy,” but they care about Christ above all. I can’t help but think that here in America we have lost sight of that. Even believers are living for their happiness as opposed to God’s word. I am not being judgemental because I speak to myself as well, I have done things that please my flesh and not God. But the good news is Christ forgives me and I can repent.
In my personal opinion, I do not think Jesus wanted to die on a cross. He said this in Matthew 26: “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’” Jesus pushed His happiness and well being to the side and God’s will ahead of Him (kind of weird because He is also God). I want to do the same, don’t you? I mean, it isn’t easy by any means, but if I stand before God one day and He is pleased, that is the happiest I’ll ever be! By denying yourself and taking your cross, that means you put yourself aside. Have you made that real? God wants all of you, not just a piece and I promise, He will give you an overwhelming joy in the midst of sorrow and grief. It happened to me and it can for you.
I like having a plan. I told you earlier about my major and everything. Well, that has changed too. I no longer wish to be a teacher but a pastor– full-time. Instead of Gardner-Webb, Summer and I hope to move to the Raleigh area as I attend Southeastern Seminary. This is the plan for now but probably will change too. We are both home bodies so it will be tough. I mean, it’ll be super easy to ignore the call and just be a teacher and live in good ole Kings Mountain. That’ll make me happy! But it isn’t about me anymore. It is about what God wants me to do and I am blessed He has given me a fiance that thinks the same.
I’m not sure where I will be within the next year, and that is terrifying, but I know who controls it. I may be uncomfortable and nervous but who cares? If it pleases God, it is good enough for me. I hope you can say the same. Because at the end of the day, our world passes and the only thing that remains is The Rock.
Are you standing firm or playing in the sand?