This continues the theme of “happiness”which I started last Monday.
I’ve been thinking more and more about this concept of happiness.
I disagree that happiness is a choice because I agree with all the research that concludes that happiness is the result of our actions. It is not (despite all the cutesy sayings out there) something we choose anymore than we choose depression or sadness.
I also believe that our definitions of happiness are unique to people and cultures, and perhaps most importantly, that happiness isn’t a birth right. It isn’t guaranteed for us anywhere in Scripture either. Joy, contentment, grace, mercy, forgiveness, love, peace, yes. Happiness, no.
I have finally decided it’s all a case of semantics.
We get used to using the same words to describe all our feelings. I’m as guilty as the next person in this regard.
So we say we are or are not happy, when we might mean something quite different. For example, If someone were to ask me if I’m happy, I’d say, “yes.” That implies that everything in my life is good, right? But like everyone else I know, my life has struggles, some bumps.
Today I’m happy because life today has been wonderful. But what about tomorrow?
And even on the days when I’m the happiest because everything is going my way, I only have to think about those I know who have cancer, the unemployed, those who are going through relationship issues, etc, and my happiness wanes.
Then when I look at my community and the ever-growing violence, my happiness wanes some more.
Finally, when I allow myself to think beyond the United States, I’m almost embarrassed to feel happy. Children starving, women treated as chattel, people denied basic human rights, terrorism, the list goes on.
I’m not suggesting that happiness is a selfish emotion or that we should feel guilty if we are happy.
My point is just that if we bank on feeling happy all the time, we’re going to be sadly disappointed. There is always going to be some shadow some where.
Joy, contentment, grace, mercy, forgiveness, love, peace, I claim these and everything else God promises me. Happiness I’ll take whenever it presents itself.
Now about the title of this series:
Who I am is more important than what I do IS true in regards to how we determine our self-worth. But it is also true that what I do often determines who I become and if happiness is the result of doing some things, then “doing” does become important, does it not?
So we need to make good choices if we want happiness to find us.
Explore some new avenues of thinking. Try some new things, hands-on. Help others. Find a cause you can pour yourself in to. I believe happiness will find you when you least expect it.
God bless and I hope you have a good day.