I used to think that the goal of living was to someday end up in this “happily ever after” life in a beautiful house with a white picket fence.
I guess I just always assumed I’d get there and THEN I’d be happy.
Well, my life fell apart once again last month. Once again my dreams were shattered. Once again I had my heart broken. My picket fence seems farther and farther away.
I found myself looking wistfully at a cute little house with a picket fence the other day. That’s when I realized: It’s a lie! I’ve been believing a lie!
I don’t have to wait until I have the perfect life or the cutest house to be happy. I can choose to be happy now! In fact that’s the only way “happy” works: in the right now. I have to choose to be grateful and content where I am right now. Not when _____ happens or when I finally get to do ______ or buy _______. I have to make up my mind to choose happy every moment.
“I have learned the secret to be content with whatever I have….I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Have you ever felt like there is more? Like this world is lacking something? Like that beautiful sunset has something amazing behind it or that love really was meant to last forever?
I think we are supposed to feel this way. We’re supposed to feel like something is off. Like this world is not really our home. Because it’s not. If you are a follower of Jesus, then this is not your home. Not really.
You may have seen glimpses of it in fairy tales or movies like The Matrix. These stories get us thinking. We step back and think, “Is life really what it seems?” I love the Disney series “Once Upon a Time.” The first season opens with the heroine (who thinks she’s a regular person) getting dragged to a town called Storybrook by a boy who claims he’s her son. As the season unfolds, she and other characters start to “wake up” and realize that they are really characters from fairy tales (Snow White, Prince Charming, Little Red Riding Hood, etc.) who have been trapped in this town in Maine because a witch cast an evil curse. Everyone in the town is a character in a story, but they have been living this boring little life in this small town for years, thinking they are just “regular people.” The characters speak about “magic” and its effects, and good and bad struggle openly in each episode.
“Once Upon a Time” and other stories like this always leave me with a wistfulness similar to nostalgia. Almost like these stories are talking about me.
Actually, don’t think I’m crazy, but…I believe they are. Fairy tales and other world adventures are more than mere reflections of reality. They are pointing to the real story.
Recently I stumbled across a verse in Philippians that made me catch my breath. In chapter one, verse 27 it says, “Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven…”
Citizens of Heaven. That’s it.
We are also characters from an amazing story, stuck temporarily in a place that is not our home. We are “citizens of heaven” living here in this decaying, evil world. This is not the end of the story. We are more important and more eternal than we realize. We are stuff of story books. We are princes and queens and heroes. We just live in a place where our identities get confused and our powers are not apparent.
So, how do I live now that I realize my citizenship is really there? I’m just passing through this place. These heartaches and temptations and disappointments and migraines are not the real story. There is more. There is an adventure grander than any I could imagine. It is coming after this life is over. It will make all the pain and loneliness here worth it. It will complete all the hopes and dreams that started in my little girl brain years ago.
So,…dream…gaze at the sunset…love with your whole heart. It will all be resolved. It will all be healed. And the ending is happier than you could ever imagine.