Monday, June 16, 2014

Why I'm Not Raising My Kids To Be Happy



It is a tragedy for food to be wasted in our house.  On the rare occasion that something is so freezer burnt that I just have to throw it out, I feel like I should bow my head over my trash can and say a few words about the pig who sacrificed so much for so little.

That being said, we don't tolerate too many meal time shenanigans from our oldest.  I cook reasonable meals for a toddler and if he chooses not to eat, he knows that he will not get anything else to eat until the next meal time.  No goldfish and no sticky gelatin snacks in the shape of Ninja Turtles.  Dessert is his weakness, so things can get pretty heated when the rest of the family clears the table and prepares for something sweet.

I will admit that it breaks my heart to see him so devastated that he cannot take part in something that the rest of the family is enjoying.  But it is more important to me that he understands the value of real nutrition.  Without learning this lesson, he will continue to gorge himself on Pez, MnMs, and fruit snacks all day and skip solid meals altogether.  Actually, he would prefer it that way.

Sometimes a temporary unhappiness is necessary to achieve a deeper sense of well being and joy.  I fully believe that God created life, so he alone gets to define it.  I may not like or understand all of his commands.  I may not think some of them apply to me.  But the rock solid truth of the matter is that every single word from God is breathed for us to thrive and have a deeper sense of well being and joy.

Philippians 2:3 says:

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourself."(NIV)

I have experienced first hand the dangers of not taking time out for yourself every once in a while.  A lack of date nights, quiet times, and time to take care of yourself can be devastating to a mom's mental, emotional, and physical health.  Please understand, this is not what I'm burdened by.  My heart is heavy for individuals of all walks of life who have accepted the lie that their own happiness is the ultimate goal of life.  We have mommies and daddies walking away from their families because a little less responsibility feels lighter.  Relationships are torn apart because people find it more comfortable to take the attention off themselves by pointing the finger at others.  Some are drowning in debt over material items because they deserve them.  Meanwhile, the ones who love them suffer as casualties of war.  A multitude of sins are being covered by the excuse of the pursuit of happiness.

We live in a dying world full of broken hearts.  It is saturated with selfishness and the lies our culture feeds us.  How will my children reach those hungering for love if they are misinformed that their happiness is what comes first?

When our chase for happiness becomes our focus, we stop being God chasers.  I would be elated if my children grew up with a deep sense joy.  And I know that will come from being a God chaser. 

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