Today we are halfway through 50 Days of Flourishing. Thanks for following, reading, and reflecting on these themes. I pray you are taking slow, steady, persistent steps toward flourishing.
Let’s dive right in to the idea for today. It is time for a little more good, robust, biblical theology.
The title of this blog post is what Alan Jackson sang:
Everything I love is killing me.
Cigarettes, Jack Daniels, and caffeine.
Everything I love gonna have to give up.
Cause everything I love is killing me.
If there is one thing that would help you flourish, it is this: You are to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, strength, time, resources, and possessions. Love God supremely and you will flourish and be happy. Without God we are not happy. Well, not real happiness sustained over time!
Here are three thoughts about unhappiness from loving the wrong things. The first is from a comedian. The second is from an ancient philosopher. The final, longer thought is from an evangelical theologian.
Unhappiness is not knowing what we want and killing ourselves to get it. Don Herold
There is not anything in this world, perhaps, that is more talked of, and less understood, than the business of a happy life. It is every person’s wish and design; and yet not one of a thousand knows wherein that happiness consists. We live, however, in a blind and eager pursuit of it; and the more haste we make in a wrong way, the further we are from our journey’s end. Seneca
We have a residual memory of paradise in our minds. We intuitively know of our previous state and the way things are supposed to be. We are acutely aware of what is now absent. We long for some king of recovery of happiness with all our hearts. In fact, our love and longing for happiness deepened because what we once enjoyed is gone, and so much misery has replaced it. Now we resolve even more intensely to find enduring delights and consolations that make our lives bearable, if not enjoyable once again. David Naugle
Not knowing what we want and killing ourselves to get it. That sure sounds like America! We just do not understand what we want. We simply do not understand what will bring true happiness. So we kill ourselves to get something we think will make us happy, only to find that even if it did make us happy, that feeling quickly disappeared. We are running in the wrong direction, pursuing things that cannot make us happy. The further along that road, the further away we are from Real Flourishing Happiness.
And we know it. Not to be happy is one thing. To know you are not happy only makes your unhappiness deeper.
I started this blog with the words of a country western singer. We heard from a comedian, a philosopher, and a theologian. I will finish with one more theological insight. This one comes from the scientist, mathematician, and philosopher, Pascal (pictured to the left).
There was once in man a true happiness of which there now remains to him only the mark and empty trace, which he in vain tries to fill from all his surroundings … God is our true good, and since we have forgotten Him … there is nothing in nature which has not been serviceable in taking His place … And since man has lost the true good, everything can appear equally good to him. But these are all inadequate, because the infinite abyss can only be filled by an infinite object, that is to say, only by God Himself.
Take a long look at The Flourishing Model. Father, Son, and Spirit are in the center. In God is our happiness. With God in the right place, everything else may be rightly ordered and a source of happiness. Without God, nothing else will make you happy. What it will do is kill you!