What is "Happiness" Anyway?
by Dina Sleiman
So life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These are evidently the inalienable rights I’ve been endowed with by my creator. People spend most of their life and their liberty pursuing happiness. That fleeting emotional state of being. Do you we ever find it? Do we even really know what we’re looking for?
Most people look for happiness in all the wrong places. Through fame, fortune, success, or maybe romance. Some may search in better directions like family, friends, and nature, but even those can let you down. Still others may turn inward to find happiness. Those searchers might be on the right track in their quest, but how can one find happiness within—without a source for the happiness.
In the Bible, we don’t hear about happiness as much as we hear about joy. Some Christians actually say joy has nothing to do with happiness. That it’s more a state of peace or contentment. Well, pardon me, but the Bible talks about those conditions as well, and if they were joy, wouldn’t it just use those words instead. Peace is peace and contentment is contentment and while closely related, they are not to be confused with joy, which is…well, joy.
In fact, dictionary.com uses terms such as “great delight, “happiness,” “keen pleasure,” “elation,” and “bliss” in defining joy.
It seems we’ve stumbled upon a pathway now in our pursuit of happiness. Happiness is a byproduct of joy. And as most of you already know, joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Ergo, happiness is found in the Holy Spirit.
In fact, I believe that sadness and depression must flee in the presence of the Holy Spirit, as well as fear, guilt, hatred, and most of the negative emotions one might experience. True peace, love, hope, and yes, joy are found in intimate connection with God. In God’s presence, most of life’s struggles begin to disappear.
To quote an old hymn, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grown strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.”
So this is where true happiness can be found. Simply put, in communion with God. And while happiness itself is ephemeral, its source springs eternal. If you would like to learn more about how to seek God’s presence, look up my posts on the subjects such as Write Down the Revelation, The Television in My Mind, Ancient Truths Rediscovered, and Alight in the Dance. Or to witness firsthand some joy in action try I Hope You Dance.
I leave you today in your pursuit of happiness with one final thought. My new favorite scripture which has become the mantra of my life from Matthew 11 in the Message version of the Bible.
28-30"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
Are you happy? What makes you happy? What can you do to actively pursue happiness in your life?