When we have surrendered ourselves to the purposes for which God created us to do, we are as willing to be deprived of our personal dreams and happiness as we are to celebrate them. I think it’s a key to knowing whether or not we have fully committed our lives to Jesus. Are we as happy when our dreams are taken from us as when we are excelling in them?
When we understand the character of God, we will comprehend our fullest, happiest, and most enjoyable life comes from being fully alive in His presence, regardless of what circumstances may be swirling around us. There is a confident peace and comfort when we have given ourselves fully to Christ.
We live in a dark world where happiness can be difficult to find. While we are followers of Jesus, we are not immune to the human tendencies to feel lonely, unhappy, or depressed. But all of those emotions creep in when our eyes are off our Savior. How could anyone possibly be lonely when the God of the Universe is with them always? If Jesus were physically sitting next to you at this moment do you think you’d be unhappy? Depression comes when we are focused on ourselves because we forget the hope and goodness inherent to Christ.
I know many struggle with these emotions and the effects are very real. Day to day stress can wear our bodies down and cause us to focus on quick and easy comfort rather than on the source of all comfort. Given the choice of lasting comfort and fading comfort which ultimately makes us feel worse, not better, we humans inexplicably choose the latter. We’re not so bright.
Remember, God is with you (Matthew 28:19-20, Hebrews 13:5). Don’t brush this off as simply an oft-quoted Bible verse. While Jesus is no longer here in physical form, He is in Spirit as the perfect comforter (John 14:16). If He had remained in physical instead of spiritual form, He could not have been with you at all times like He is today. When you feel lonely, talk to God. Ask Him to help you feel His presence. Read scripture that reminds you how much He loves and cares for you (you can start with Matthew 6:25-34).
We become unhappy and depressed when we are focused on our lives and the circumstances surrounding us. We despair when our plans fall through or our dreams blow up in our faces. We are happy with God when we are happy with our lives. That’s not surrender. That’s wishing for a God of convenience. You want a one-sided relationship, something God simply will not accept or tolerate.
When you are focused on Jesus and have surrendered every personal aspiration to Him, you will find happiness. You will find peace. You will never be lonely when you are focused on being in His presence. You will not be unhappy because you know your life is pleasing to the One who loves you most. Depression will not darken your door when you keep your eyes on the light of Jesus. He will never leave you behind (Hebrews 13:5). He will answer when you call (Jeremiah 33:3), and He will do amazing things through you (John 14:12). This is abundant living, the life of which we dream, and it is ours if we will only surrender – truly surrender – to Jesus.