Monday, May 14, 2012

The Pursuit of Happiness

What is this perpetual pursuit of happiness to which our world is addicted? What does it even mean to achieve true happiness?

I've spend a lot of my days trying, and failing, to attain a level of happiness I thought I should have, that others had. You know what I'm talking about: those people who always seem to have everything together. Like nothing could ever rock or phase them. How did they get so....happy.

I actually think the problem lies in the question itself: "How do we achieve happiness?" I mean, the very word 'happiness'; is the culprit. If we strive for constant happiness, we are going to be constantly disappointed.

The Bible clearly states this life will not be without it's struggles, disappointments, hurts.  "Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows" - John 16:33. So it would be impossible to attain pure happiness in a world where bad things happen, where evil exists and temptations lurk.

Pursuing happiness will always result in dissatisfaction, in UNhappiness. We should instead strive for an underlying joy that supersedes happiness, which allows us to be thankful in the midst of suffering, find beauty when we are hurting, rejoice in the Lord when our flesh tells us we are down.

Back to those people who have it all together. They have happy days and sad days, great days and horrific ones like we all do. But their underlying joy in life is what takes them away from the pursuit of what the world says is true happiness (cars, money, houses, wealth, good looks, career, etc.) and lets them rest in the fact that the next thing God says after telling us this life has it's burdens is to "Take heart! I have overcome the world." He is giving us permission to be unhappy with life on Earth at times, and assures us that underlying joy can co-habitate with unhappiness because of salvation and His eternal promise. 

To help do that and remember the things that bring me joy, I've made a joy list. In the hustle and bustle of life it is easy to forget the very things that we love most about life: a list helps bring those to the forefront of your mind so that when you see a newborn puppy or a rainbow or get a kiss from a loved one, you don't simply take it for granted but remember to recognize the joy simple things bring to your lufe, and to thank God for the joy, even if it's hard to be 'happy'.

I'll be sharing my joy list over the course of a few postings as it's quite lengthy - I hope you'll make your own, and even find some on my list to get you started.


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