Reality Check


 

thUCGH0M3XI admit it – I like reality TV. I watch the shows knowing that the term “reality” is to be taken loosely but how can you make someone say or do something? It’s captured on camera, right? Well, according to an article I read, here’s the truth from a reality TV insider: “I can manufacture love where it doesn’t exist, hate where it doesn’t exist, I can make it seem like you’re tired or excited or angry, anything.” Nooooo, tell me it isn’t so!!

And then there’s photoshop. Most of us know that the pictures we see on magazine covers are not real yet many women still strive to look the way the celebrities and models in the doctored photos appear. And many times when I’ve helped myself to a few less pounds and when people have commented on my picture asking how I stay looking so great, I explain to them that there’s an app for that!

And don’t get me started on the news media! With parody and satire websites that post fictional articles and media outlets that spin stories like a politician, who knows what’s really going on in the world we live in?! There’s so many conflicting stories, we’re left wondering “who’s telling the truth?!”

In these times of such uncertainty, deception and confusion, it’s vital that we cling to what we know is the truth. For me, there are a few realities that I can be assured of even when everything else around me seems in doubt.

Reality-Check1. Jesus is still on the throne – when the world seems dark and broken and it appears that Satan is gaining ground, I can trust in the fact that Jesus is in control and I am assured of how it all will end. No matter how bad things may get and no matter how hard life may be, Jesus is still the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. One day, when He decides, all will be made right in the world and I find great assurance in that fact.

2. God’s word is truth. I like to read a lot. Some of it is fiction and some of it is supposedly non-fiction. But really, when I read articles or news stories I can’t be sure if what I’m reading is the truth. In most instances it’s one person’s perspective and opinion and no matter how convincing they may seem, I never really know for sure if they are 100% accurate. But one thing I can know for sure – the Word is the inspired, inerrant and infallible Word of God. When the news gets me down or an article I read leaves me in doubt, I can always go to God’s word for truth, encouragement and the building of my faith.

3. My salvation is assured because Jesus died on the cross for my sins. Many people wonder what their purpose is or why they are here. They fear death because for them it’s a huge question of what will happen when they die. Others live their life filled with guilt and condemnation associated with their mistakes, poor choices or circumstances that still hang heavy over their lives. I know because I was one of those people. But the moment Jesus became my Lord and Savior, my life was forever changed. I no longer fear eternity because I know it will be spent in heaven with my Father. I no longer live with the burden of my mistakes because I have received forgiveness for my sins because of Jesus’ finished work on the cross. I no longer deal with sadness, anger, bitterness and resentment because I am filled with the joy that only the Holy Spirit of God can provide. This is a truth that can be reality for anyone who asks and that’s why this truth is the greatest reality of all.

4. I have biological and spiritual family that love me, accept me and are there for me in my greatest times of need. There is no greater feeling than knowing you are loved and accepted by God but having family that loves you and accepts you is a close second. For many people today, their relationships are in question. Much like everything else in our world, they don’t know how real or how solid their relationships are. They find themselves questioning the authenticity of each person in their life. And even though you may not have biological family that you can depend on, spiritual family can fill a need we all have for authentic relationships.

5. I may not know what my future holds but I know who holds it. I know that if the time comes when I have nothing but God, I have all I need. The reality is that He is the answer to all my fears, all my doubts, all my questions and all my needs. He is my reality.

thXTBUEOJMIf your reality is uncertain, maybe it’s time to cling to what is real. Maybe it’s time to surrender to the reality that God loves you, accepts you and is waiting for you to turn to Him. He desires to be in a relationship with you. He longs to give you the gift of salvation and forgiveness. All you have to do is ask. He is so much more than you could ever ask for or imagine. Don’t spend another day in doubt when the One who is real is right in front of you.

 

 

If Happiness Is Not a Destination Then Why Am I Still Trying To Get There?


happinessMaybe it’s the time of year. No, I’m sure it has to do with the time of year. I’m at that point where I increasingly find myself trying to understand why I’m not happy.  Why is it that after all I am blessed with that I still feel unhappy and unfulfilled? Why am I still trying to reach a place that I know in my mind doesn’t exist?

The question may be a difficult one but the answer is quite simple. The reason I keep looking is because I forget. I forget that happiness isn’t a destination and I easily find myself back in the search for that which cannot be found. Like most people, I’m just simply looking for the wrong thing in the wrong place.

We hear things like “do what makes you happy” and “choose to be happy” but it’s never quite that simple. You can’t choose what you don’t know. I don’t know what makes me happy. Over time I’ve figured out what doesn’t make me happy.

Stuff does not bring happiness. More stuff means more work, more expenses and more upkeep. Possessions can be enjoyed but even the temporary happiness you experience upon getting something new will quickly fade because material things will never truly make you happy.

Relationships do not make me happy.  Don’t get me wrong – I have experienced great happiness in relationships and moments with friends and family that I will forever cherish but sooner or later you will find reason to be disappointed in every relationship you have because people cannot bring you happiness. You may have relationships with family members, your spouse, your children or friends that are a great source of happiness much of the time but overall happiness cannot be found in them because people can and will let you down at some point. We may have some extremely positive and meaningful relationships but for many, they can also be a source of extreme highs and lows.

thQ4E9WCBRPlaces do not make me happy. I use the term “my happy place” when referring to the beach, naps, or reading a good book but those are all temporary. And I’ve lived in many different physical locations and each one had its positives and negatives. So I’ve also learned over time that places can be nice to visit and some are great to live but no place will ever bring me complete happiness because no one place “has it all”.

I asked my friends on Facebook what makes them happy and the answers were as varied as my friendships – they ranged from the simple to the extravagant, from the tangible to the philosophical, from the selfish to the selfless. We all have “ideas” about what makes us happy but at the end of the day happiness is not something to be obtained, not permanently any way. So why do we keep searching for a destination that doesn’t exist? Why do we spend so much time in search of something we’ll never find?

Because we are made to do so. We were born to seek that which fulfills us. We are designed to search for what brings us joy. We end up making wrong turns and heading down wrong paths toward a destination that doesn’t exist when we confuse happiness with joy. There are many things that will bring us temporary and worldly happiness in this life but only one thing that can bring us joy. A relationship with our Creator and Father in heaven is the only thing that will ever completely and fully meet all our needs and fill all the empty places in our hearts. And He created us to seek Him because it is His greatest desire to be in a relationship with us. But when we seek happiness elsewhere, we simply find momentary fulfillment in temporary things like possessions, relationships and places.

thKTQKPTLTThis season when happiness is highly sought after but hard to find, seek joy. Joy is not based upon your possessions, your circumstances, the people in your life or where you find yourself at this moment in time. Joy is found in Christ. He alone is the destination we all seek but not all will find. Seek God and you will find what you’re looking for. When I catch myself in my unhappy place and searching for happiness in the things of this world, it is in my desperation that I’m reminded that He alone is my happy place.

 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  (Luke 2:10-11)