Searching For Happiness in the Wrong Places

4796771840_f1321d4004Why is it that we have such a hard time letting go of physical wants and desires? Humans have been searching for happiness in all the wrong places for thousands of years and probably will for thousands to come, while history has shown time and time again that success and riches do not make people happy. They may provide temporary relieve, but quickly fade out. And once happiness is gone, it actually makes us even more depressed because we put all our hope in our money and success, and it failed us. I believe this is the reason that so many celebrities struggle with substance abuse, mental illness, or even commit suicide. They, just like most of us, had a “if only I was…” or “when I…” goal in their heart and a way to fix the pain they were feeling. Well, they got what they thought would bring them happiness and are still unhappy. They were once unhappy, but hopeful; now they’re just unhappy and hopeless.

God is the only thing that doesn’t change, always stays the same, and who we can find joy in regardless if times are good or bad. Most of us don’t have a problem with adding God into our quest for happiness, but we still want to be the one calling the shots. And that’s where our problem lies. We want to use God as a backup plan for happiness. We want his grace, but we don’t want to let go of our idols.

I don’t believe there is a desire shortage for God in our world; it is that we have an apostasy problem. We want God, but we don’t quite trust him, so we add in worldly beliefs and deviate from doctrine as insurance in case God doesn’t come through. And then we wonder why our lives are not “radically transformed” and “radically changing”. It’s not because he failed us, but because we failed him. Just as we don’t want any part of a relationship with multiple lovers on the side, God doesn’t want our smorgasbord of religion, desires, personal success, self-help where I’m in charge, and worldly goals. He promises to drive us to the destination and that he knows where he’s going (even though in the moment it may seem like he’s lost) but first we have to awake from our self-serving sleep and hand over the keys.

Waking From Sleep

Arise from your restless sleep
And put aside the dreams of old.
Offer up your precious copper idols
And receive an inheritance tenfold.

Do not lull yourself back into emptiness
Listening to lullabies that speak of false promises,
Designed to deceive feeble, infant babes.
For when has there ever been a day
When greatness visited a man
And rested on his lap while sleeping?

Temporary riches? Maybe.
But not the richness of character
With the ardor and strength to not rust
Or weather when the storms come.
And don’t attempt to fool yourselves –
They will come.
But will you be ready?

In your napping,
Desires have warped and deceived your mind,
Believing that the temporary and fleeting
Have a fighting chance of alleviating
An eternal need, A starving seed
That resides in your breast,
Yearning to be watered with meaning
In fields of nothingness.

In your drunken stupor,
You’ve let the weeds
overtake your garden with their deception
And run amuck.
Now their dirty hands are clutched upon
Your crops’ throats –
Who are choking and grasping for air.

Do not search the physical for your yearning –
You won’t find joy there.
For it quickly dries up and disappears
Under the sands of time.
But the spiritual is never-ending
And unable to be understood by the minds of mankind.

Arise from your restless sleep
And put aside the dreams of old.
Offer up your precious copper idols
And receive an inheritance tenfold.


-Poem Written by Justin Farley

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Photo Credit: isho via Compfight cc



  1. We like to say that put our lives in God’s hands…until there is something that we want that maybe God doesn’t agree with. Then, we take it back and later complain asking God why He let bad things come our way. He didn’t. We took the reins from Him. If we want happiness, then we need to have faith that He will lead us down the right/best path and then let Him do it.


    • Exactly. Following God isn’t hard when everything is going smooth. It’s doing those dark times when things aren’t going the way that we think they should that our faith is tested. Do I trust that God knows what’s best or do I fire him and put myself in control again?


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