So here I sit with this huge task at hand. I’m not sure what to say and just finished praying that God would give me the words to type so that through this blog his truth and glory is what is read.
As many of you have previously known, I work with high school students at our church. So many of them have been asking me how to be happy. They talk about just feeling down and unhappy. Please help me out here! How do I sit and write words that can actually help them see and understand that our happiness comes from the Lord and not from specific moments or periods of time in our lives? Here is my attempt in full prayer mode, counting on Gods words coming through my finger tips.
In our culture happiness is a feeling, a great moment, a fabulous day with our best friend, the feeling you get when that crush you have been eyeing eyes you back. We believe that it is the moments when we can’t stop smiling or laughing or daydreaming. So what happens when all of that is over and we are sitting in our rooms, houses, cars or wherever and it’s just us? To me this becomes the times that we ponder life, think about all sorts of things and it seems that this is when teens especially sit and think about all the things or the people they are missing out on. They scroll through social media and see everyone else having “way” more fun than they are. They start to wonder and doubt why they weren’t invited, why they don’t have enough friends, why they are dating someone or why they have a family that can’t seem to get along. When our brains wander to all the negative that exists or that we think exists, we start to believe that our life isn’t great and we simply can’t be happy. This isn’t the case!
Don’t get me wrong I remember being a teenager and doubting, feeling left out, wondering why me in a bad situation or why not me in a good one. It’s hard, life is hard, growing up, changing, and finding yourself is hard but hard doesn’t have to equal unhappy.
The dictionary defines happiness like this:
the state of being happy.“she struggled to find happiness in her life”
synonyms: pleasure, contentment, satisfaction, cheerfulness, merriment, gaiety, joy, joyfulness, joviality, jollity, glee, delight, good spirits, lightheartedness, well-being, enjoyment
Ok, the state of being happy. Great, but it doesn’t tell us much so let’s look at the definition of happy.
Definition of happy
You may be wondering why I always use literal definitions in my blogs, it is because I think that it is important to understand the words meaning when you are using it to describe yourself or life. I want you to notice that all of these examples of “happy” are not actions. Actions don’t define happiness, what you are doing doesn’t mean you are happy or make you happy. If I am shopping for new clothes (which I love doing) you will probably find me smiling. I enjoy shopping. It makes me in a happy mood to be shopping but it doesn’t make “me” or my life happy or unhappy. Does that make sense at all? The things we do can bring that happiness for a moment but true happiness can’t be instantly taken away as soon as “shopping” is done.
1: favored by luck or fortune :fortunatea happy coincidence
2: notably fitting, effective, or well adapted :felicitousa happy choice
3a: enjoying or characterized by well-being and contentment is the happiest person I knowa happy childhoodb: expressing, reflecting, or suggestive of happinessa happy endingc:glad, pleasedI’m happy to meet youd: having or marked by an atmosphere of good fellowship :friendlya happy office
4a: characterized by a dazed irresponsible state a punch-happy boxerb: impulsively or obsessively quick to use or do something trigger-happyc: enthusiastic about something to the point of obsession :obsessededucation-conscious and statistic-happy — Helen Rowen
I want to pull out the Bible and find out what God has to say about happiness and achieving it in it’s truest form.
Psalm 37:4-5 Seek your happiness in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desire. Give yourself to the Lord; trust in him, and he will help you; he will make your righteousness shine like the noonday sun.
The Bible gives clear instruction about happiness through the words of Jesus,“Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it” (Luke 17:33)
Psalm 144:15 Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.
Psalm 68:3 But the godly are happy; they rejoice before God and are overcome with joy.
Psalm 146:5 Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:
Proverbs 16:20 He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whose trust is in the LORD, happy is he.
The way to become happy is presented simply in Scripture: obedience to God is pleasure. Faith in Christ is joy. The psalmist says to God with evident delight: “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”16
We can see in all of these verses that Jesus Christ is our path to true happiness. True happiness isn’t about pleasing ourselves, finding a way to indulge ourselves enough to make the happy feeling last as long as possible so that we feel our life is “happy”. Becoming a Christian is the moment that we also stop trying to create our happiness and instead seek to make the Lord happy. The Bible clearly tells us that in serving Christ (Doing things that are right. Asking ourselves, is this to please me or to please Christ?) we find great joy! God’s gifts to us are blessings that bring true happiness. When we are seeking after happiness in our own way, in a selfish way, there are so many times that evilness finds it’s way in. We are sinners by nature, and seeking happiness without seeking God is part of that sin. When this is the happiness that is pursued it is fleeting.
Let me see if I can use an example that you can all understand; you are hanging with the guys or girls and having a great time. Then someone starts talking about another friend that isn’t there, and everyone joins in. Talking about turns into making fun of, gossiping about, texting “jokes” to that person, making them feel bad that they weren’t included and so on. Did you have fun with your friends? Sure you did. Were you happy while you were all hanging out? Sure you were. Were you seeking happiness through yourself or through Christ? Yourself. When you got home did that happiness last or did it fade? It surely faded and maybe evened you feel guilty. Ok great, I think you are getting it. This ISN’T true happiness.
Scenario number 2. Same group of friends, same day but new plans. You are all feeling a little bored, kind of just bumming around and decide to go to the mall. You get a text from that friend that isn’t with you asking whats going on, can you hang out? You stop and ask yourself, what will bring happiness to the Lord in this situation? You decide to invite them with you and everyone has a great time. No talking bad about anyone, no gossip, no mean texts and when you get home you can rest in happiness from the Lord knowing that you did the right thing and brought joy instead of hurt to someone else.
It isn’t a moment that brings happiness, it is doing what is right in the eyes of Christ and obeying his commands. When seeking Christ first all your decisions will end in righteousness, causing pain to no-one and an everlasting happiness that isn’t fleeting in yourself.
“When Jesus Christ enters a man, when his Spirit becomes our Spirit, the greatest visible change that occurs is how we seek to achieve our happiness. Many think that the greatest change is that Christians no longer possess “the pursuit of happiness.” But that’s simply not biblical. The Bible does not teach Christians not to pursue personal happiness; the Bible teaches us how to pursue true personal happiness in God alone, through Jesus alone.” (unknown author quote)
God’s way of bringing happiness is completely different than mans’ way. Man says do what you must to make yourself happy. God says do what you must to make God happy, and in the process you will find a greater joy than ever before.
I hope that you find this helpful, that you can understand why the tangible things in life aren’t bringing you the happiness you thought they would. That boyfriend, that new dress, that party the other night, the popular crowd, that A that you thought was out of reach, your summer vacation, your best friend coming to town; all of these things are fun, they all make us smile, they all make us happy for a time but not eternity. Eternal true happiness comes from living your life for Christ instead of yourself. Go out! Try it, put your faith into action and see what rewards you sow from it. Next time you are in a situation ask yourself if it is going to make you happy or make Christ happy? Choose the outcome that makes Christ happy and I can almost guarantee that you will also experience what happiness is supposed to be! Christ is our path to being happy. When you are living monthly, daily, hourly and by the minute for Christ your happiness then becomes a constant part of your everyday!