My heart is shaking from the brokenness in this world. It’s nothing new, but recently I am more aware of it than ever. From disease to disaster, slave trade and injustice, to hate and violence, broken relationships and broken people, these things seem to be consuming our societies.
I have a feeling this will be one of those “all over the place” posts, but bare with me and I will try to eventually tie it all together.
Being a psychology major I am very interested in mental illness and how that effects people. Currently over 121 million people in the world suffer from some form of depression. Rates of depression and anxiety have increased over the years, along with a decrease in relationships. Do these things factors correlate directly with one another? That’s up for interpretation, I guess.
However, personally, having struggled with many of these things, I do know that a brokenness or separation in a specific relationship does correlate in my life.
To see so much pain people are in, to see them searching in all the wrong places to fill that empty void in their souls, has me aching. We’ve fallen into the trap of “when I get this I will be happy” or “next year will be my year” or “I only need a little more and then I will truly be happy” the only problem with that is, wanting more becomes needing more and soon it becomes an obsession with the next thing that will make you “happy.” I know what that is like. I was that person too. I still am sometimes. But having experienced a fully satisfied heart, I not longer desire to live that way, it’s exhausting.
Our society today is very “spiritual,” but our generation is least likely to identify with a specific religion. I like to view this “spirituality” as wandering souls, looking for peace and happiness. Maybe some of you can agree? I am curious as to what others would define their “spirituality” as. Is it praying? Is it a sense of a greater force? Is it freedom? Is it searching?
Religion, to me is also a belief in a greater force. But on the other hand it is more uniform. It is structured. A system. Rules. A mold that has to be fit into.
Do you see? Two totally different ends of the spectrum. It is either this complete freedom to wander or a strict set of rules you need to follow.
I identify with Christianity. However, it is so much more than a religion, it is a relationship, that has fulfilled and set me free from the “rules” of a religion.
It is a relationship with our Creator. Our heavenly Father. Our Savior.
Because of the brokenness in the world, we’ve been separated from God. But hey, good news, we’ve got a freaking awesome savior, Jesus, that came to reconcile that relationship for us, if we desire.
And you know what He says “I have come so that they may have life and have it abundantly” John 10:10, here are a few other ways this can be translated:
- “I have come so that they may have life and have it to the FULL” NIV
- “I came to give life-life that is FULL and GOOD” ERV
- “My purpose is to give them a RICH and SATISFYING life” NLT
- “I came so that they can have REAL and ETERNAL life, more and BETTER life than they ever DREAMED of” MSG
Now, who can argue that a description of a life like that, doesn’t sound wonderful? Isn’t that what everyone is searching for? To be full and satisfied. To have a life better than they ever dreamed of? Aren’t we all always dreaming of something more, something better?
A recent article I read titled “Are We Trying too Hard to Be Happy?” made some interesting points, although it is from psychologytoday, so I take it with a grain of salt because that is the equivalent to People’s Magazine, regarding accuracy, it discussed that our idea of happiness is continually changing and we are always trying to strive for what will make us happy, that ultimately we end up disappointed. Which I myself have experienced.
Paul writes in Roman 15:13 “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.” Again, isn’t that what we are looking for? Joy and peace. Hope. There is a difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is fleeting, ever changing. But joy is constant. During hard times you can still experience joy. And true joy of that kind comes from God.
Here is where I will try to attempted to tie this all together.
From the beginning we have been separated, in a broken relationship with God. The one in whom true, peace and hope are found. Without that relationship we are wandering, lost souls looking for that eternal, fulfilling life. Trying to attain this “happiness” ultimately leaves us empty and craving more, the cycle repeats. When we are reconciled with God, through a relationship with Jesus, we are PROMISED, that satisfying, full life we long for. We are not promised happiness, but we are promised everlasting joy. True joy. And if you have never experienced true joy, man, oh, man would you be in for a treat.
So, I guess my question is, what kind of life are you longing for? A never ending cycle or an adventurous, joyful journey?
My friends in Christ, here are two things I hope you may have gotten from reading this…
- Encouragement. That this is a refreshing reminder of the relationship you have ventured into and how fulfilling it truly is. Reminded of a few of the promises you have been made. And encouragement to step back into that full and good life you have been given, and to stop chasing after the temporary “happinesses” of this world.
- Those statistic I included in the beginning were for a reason. To hopefully open eyes to a new perspective of the brokenness happening in this world. I am sure not all 121 million of those people are lost souls, but I very well could be wrong. Still, that is an extremely large number. What if all of those 121 million had a relationship with Jesus? What if they were all living the life He promises? Maybe this too will encourage you to share a glimpse of that promised life with someone who is searching.
This world is broken. In need. And in a broken world, awful things happen. But fortunately we have been given a Savior, a Redeemer. In Him we are given, Hope. Joy. Peace. Ultimately, life.
Author’s note: I am not, by any means saying that by being in a relationship with Jesus will “cure” your depression, anxiety, illness, etc.. It will continue to be a struggle, but you will have a Helper. A Healer. A Mighty Counselor. And He promises to bring life, if you believe.
Here’s the link to that article if any of you fancy people would like to take a peek; Happiness Article