Being raised in a conservative Christian home and church, I sometimes felt that being happy was a bad thing. Contrary to popular belief, “happiness” is not a bad word. I feel that not only has the world taken happiness out of context, but the church has, too.
So many times, we shy away from what makes us happy because we have this notion that what makes us happy cannot possibly be of God. To be happy, we believe, is to not be in God’s will.
We must be suffering for our faith in a different country living out of a suitcase. For some strange reason, we have decided that the only life a Christian must/can live is one of hardship. I am not saying we shy away from hardship, but let us live and enjoy things that make us happy.
We find this hard to do because most of us find it hard to know what we really want. Here is another word that society and the church have taken out of context. By pursuing what we want, we become happy. Allow me to clear up some ambiguity on the subjects mentioned above.
Happiness is a choice. I am sure you have heard that before. But, it is one thing to know what that means and another thing to live it. The way to choose happiness is to not allow other’s behavior, words, or actions to upset you.
The only way to be happy is to have control. And, the ONLY person you have complete control of is yourself. No matter how hard you try, you cannot control anyone else. They make their own decisions and live with the consequences.
Sure, those consequences can/will affect you, but it is not because they tried to control you. You see, control is something that makes us feel safe. When we lose control or do not have any to begin with, we feel scared and make hasty decisions.
Lots of times, we end up hurting people and being hurt ourselves. Sometimes I wonder how silly we are by putting all our happiness into things or people that we cannot control.
By doing that, we are cursing ourselves to a life of constant emotional change and misery. If you take control of yourself (actions, words, behavior), you will find it a lot easier to be happy. Things and people can do things to make us happy, but it is temporary.
To be truly happy, you must choose it for yourself. A good way to do that is to choose to delight in the Lord every day. Look at every day as a gift and look for little things that the Lord puts in your day to bring a smile to your beautiful face.
It may be a calm morning, a fiery sunset, or being able to catch up with a friend for an hour. I know bad things happen and that life is not fair, but why not try to get the most out of it and enjoy the little things?
Now we will move on to the business of knowing what we want. To want something is to be willing to give anything or do anything to obtain that thing. Wanting something is not a sin.
It is good to want things such as an improved character, a house, a job, a wife/husband, kids, a car etc. Many times we are not happy because we struggle to know what we really want. We pursue things we think will make us happy instead of pursuing things we want.
As I said before, it is hard to know what you really want. Some ways to help you find out are as follows: Make a list of anything and everything you want, from taking a nap to a new car. By making a list, you set those things before you and can evaluate how important each thing is to you.
Another thing you can do is to think about what you want to have or accomplish in five years. By looking ahead, you get a better picture of what you need to be pursuing now. Knowing what you want can help you make better use of your time.
We are given such limited time on this earth, so why not make the most of it by pursuing things we want? God said that He would give us the desires of our hearts. So He gives us the things we desire and the desires for the things. This means that if we want something, it is ok for us to pursue that thing until God tells us otherwise.
I hear people say “I am just waiting to know what God’s will is for my life.” You want to know? It is very simple. He wants you to make disciples of all nations. That is it. How you go about doing that is entirely up to you.
If you want to be a farmer and live in Ireland, do it. If God wants you to live that out, He will make it happen. But, do not just sit by and wait for Him to do all the work. Pursue is an action. It means to go after something. Do not be afraid to want things and to pursue those things.
Happiness is something that will make life seem brighter. It is not easy to obtain, but it is so much fun to have. Being able to enjoy the little things of life make living not so mundane.
Each day is different and brings with it new and exciting adventures. It can be challenging, but it is very rewarding. Life is short, so why not make the most of it by enjoying things that make you happy? Look for the gifts in every day and do not be afraid to be happy.
– Julia Champagne, Contributing Writer