I didn't think it was possible anymore, but I have to admit that I have been shocked at what I've seen this week. Just by watching previews of shows, I'm thinking there weren't any shows on where an inappropriate sexual encounter did not take place. That's to say nothing of the language and substance abuse. It seems that we're no longer content to simply condone immoral behavior, we're now in the business of promoting it and making it seem normal and even justified. For example, it seems that between Cougar Town, Mercy and Accidentally On Purpose (just to name three that I didn't even watch), we're telling women that if you're a single or divorced woman of a certain age you're entitled to certain happiness that makes sleeping around and playing with other people's lives and emotions acceptable. In other words, you deserve "happiness" no matter the cost.
Now, I know, you're all thinking, "uh-oh, is this one of those posts where prudish-Jenn takes center stage and gets on her high horse about spending our time in better ways...reading the Bible, listening to Andy Stanley, blah, blah, blah." Well, maybe it is, but hang in there with me for a few moments...
I want to be happy as much as anyone else. I want to enjoy life and I want to do things and be part of things that lead to that end. But if happiness becomes my sole focus, priority and aim, I'm pretty sure I've gotten off track and I'm equally certain that I'll end up lots of places other than the land of eternal happiness. Let me try explaining this with an example:
I've worked hard today. I've accomplished many of the things on my to-do list. I've even gone to a meeting I really didn't want to go to, but I went, I even smiled and made the best of it. I "deserve" to take it easy tonight. I "deserve" time to put my feet up and relax. I "deserve" to be happy. Well, it would make me happy to spend the rest of my day watching tv, eating ice cream, reading a novel and getting a massage. However, if I do that - how will my laundry get done? who will feed my child his dinner? how loved and appreciated will my husband feel if I ignore him when he gets home from work and neglect to ask about his day? I "deserve" to be happy and I could do the things that would make me immediately happy, but I have a feeling I'd end up with a hungry, fussy child, a barking dog, an annoyed husband, no groceries and no clean underwear for the rest of the week - not a happy scenario.
You see, I'm convinced that happiness is not meant to be an end goal, but rather a by-product of faithful living that centers on Jesus Christ. And even then, we're not promised to always be happy, we're promised to be filled with joy, which is a peace of mind not dependent on circumstances. The idea of getting what we deserve is a selfish mentality fed by a culture that says "it's all about you, you, you."
Scripture says we deserve death, but Jesus gives us life. I'm thinking I'd rather not get what I deserve. Instead, my time would be well spent pursuing the One who has given me life and all that I have and being thankful for the opportunities each day to live, love and serve.
It's okay to watch tv. It's okay to take time-off (pretty sure God commanded it). But don't buy into the world's attitude that we deserve happiness no matter what the cost and who gets hurt. Life's not about you. It's not about me. "It's all because of Jesus we're alive!"