I had the most profound discussion with my daughter, in the car, about a week ago. I was completely blown away by her response and it got me thinking and processing my own perception of what she said. I don’t exactly remember how the topic came up – I think it may have been a song or conversation that came on the radio. But the basics of what we heard was that this person was saying ‘something’ will make them completely happy.
As we’re listening, Aislyn pipes up and says, “Mom, that will never happen…” and I immediately ask her why she thinks this. (mainly because I was shocked to hear that my daughter thinks that happiness will never happen for her or for anyone – like what-the-what?)
She then replies, in a very matter of fact way – “well, happiness is in the flesh and is just a feeling that will fade”…… Guys! I was literally hit in the chest with this statement. I’m the grown up and this child is saying such truth that I hadn’t even considered. Naturally I think it’s great to be happy – I mean our lives are happy and we are content and enjoying where we are at – but that statement got me, so I asked her to carry on.
She then says, “It’s better to have Joy, Joy is true and spiritual and you don’t have to be smiling on the outside to have it. God gives joy not happiness” WHAM!! Mic drop! I literally wanted to stop the car and do a slow clap. What truth this is! I have seen it and experienced it. My outside circumstances can be in total disarray and a complete mess from anyone’s perspective – but you can be joyful and draw your strength from the joy of the Lord which is unending and always there.
I had a completely different perspective on the saying, “pursuit of happiness”. I’ve asked myself the questions since this conversation – what have I thought would make me happy? what am I placing in front of me that is filling this fleshy desire? When have I experienced joy, true joy where even though I’m heartbroken or struggling with my faith – has it been there? and the answer is yes. There have been many times when it’s been hard to be “happy” but I’ve had to dig deep and rest in the peace and joy not of my own but of the Lords.
There’s no explaining it fully, until you have been hit hard with it and have experienced it for yourself. It took an 11 year old to help me reposition my focus and realise that what the world is spewing at us on a daily basis is to find our happiness in things, people and money. I am continuously on the look out now to identify the difference between “feeling happiness” and “experiencing joy”.
But as a side note, I was completely impressed and blown away by the way my daughter had the conviction about her statement and she understood it. For her to have this kind of truth at the age of 11 and “get it” – I am completely mind blown and so grateful. As you may have guessed, I had no input with this perspective – I can thank our Childrens’ ministry at our church. They are helping our children see life from a spiritual point of view that I can’t even give them.
I love that it’s not from me – because all too often (and it’s going to happen later) the child doesn’t want to hear things or statements from the parent. So, when the eye rolls come and the tears and “my life is over” happens – I will be able to draw from statements given to them by other people and from God. As they say, it takes a village to raise a child – this I can officially say is true. I am grateful from my village.