It’s not how much we have but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness. – Charles Spurgeon
It sounds like happiness is a state of mind; but we have to choose to live there.
According to Webster, happy is being pleased or glad about a particular situation or event.
I’m happy when I spend time with my family and friends. I’m pleased when things work out as I’ve planned. But I’m glad that every area of my life does not reflect my desires. Because from a spiritual perspective, happy takes on a different meaning.
A deeper meaning.
I once heard someone say, “God is not concerned about us being happy as much as he is concerned with us living holy.” I believe he wants both.
For the Scriptures say, “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. (1 Peter 3:9-11)
Our ability to “enjoy life and see many happy days” is not based on how much we own or who or what we control. If it is, happiness itself can become our god. We’re willing to do or say anything based on what we want or the way we want it.
But Scripture tells us we can see many happy days when we speak truth, do good and seek peace.
Some days, I have to fight for that happy place.
I’m not pleased or glad about every situation. When I lose something or someone I love or the world as I know it goes wild, being giddy goes away.
My emotions may take a while to catch up to 1 Peter 3:9-11.
Even as I get up to pace with these verses, my hurts, fears, and selfish desires are experts in offering counterfeit contentment. I’ve fallen for their schemes a few times.
Until the fantasy feeling wore off.
Then the gloves came off too. It was time to fight for my happy place.
Thankfully, Jesus is my Champion. He only gives genuine joy. No matter how wild the world gets, the world can’t take it away. Here’s how I land a few punches:
Don’t deny difficulties. Cast them.
Pretending a problem doesn’t exist doesn’t make it disappear. Owing my pain and bringing it before the throne of grace frees me to receive God’s help. (Hebrews 4:16) It takes the weight of what would do me in and turns it into the wonder of watching him work (See 1 Peter 5:6-7).
Discover God’s direction in the midst of disappointment.
When what I’m hoping for looks less likely to happen, my happiness meter fluctuates. But disappointment can be the door to discovering what God has in mind. My limitations are not his and his promises never disappoint. (Romans 5:5)
Designing our best life doesn’t mean duplicating someone else’s.
From our feelings to our fingerprints, our uniqueness is a gift.(see Psalm 139:14-16) Comparing my life to someone else’s can lead to chasing what’s theirs and rejecting what’s mine. That’s a sad existence.
But when I embrace the uniqueness of my journey, I can discover the wrapping of God’s grace around my life. Comparisons end. Contentment flows.
Fighting for our holy and happy place is worth it. Perhaps the hottest part of the battle is how we define what makes us glad. Life’s difficulties will come, but we can have “many happy days” as we trust God’s plan includes hope for the heart and joy to the soul.
But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. – Psalm 5:11 NIV