Television, movies, and music give us definitions of what happiness is. In today’s society, happiness is the ultimate goal to achieve. Whether it’s through making a lot of money, a romantic partnership, or landing your dream job, happiness seems to be just around the corner. However, as we age, we realize that happiness is a myth. Having money to do the things you want to do or land that dream job may be good in the short term but never makes us happy in the long term.
After reaching our goal, we may feel a short burst of happiness, but we’re always thirsting for more. Money and love are two great things, but they’re not the things we should chase in life. Money and love can become idols if we’re not careful. We can make idols out of anything through which we’re trying to achieve our happiness. Even placing our happiness in our friends and families can be idols if we’re not careful. Here’s the true meaning of happiness.
The definition of happiness.
Happiness is a state of mind that happens when we feel satisfied and experience joy from something. What makes someone happy differs from person to person, but one could say that most of our efforts are directed toward achieving happiness. We may think we must keep gaining possessions, experiencing new events, or meeting new people to find happiness, but that’s not always the case. Indeed, we can be happy when we meet somebody in our lives or buy a new item, but the happiness we get from these experiences doesn’t last forever.
You might notice that you feel down again after some time, so you look for the next thing that can give you happiness and satisfy you. One may think this kind of happiness is only temporary, so what is genuine happiness? Happiness that originates from external factors is ephemeral. It’s like hitting a high state for some time before it starts decreasing. So, it’s not easy to achieve true happiness when we link it to external things. External things like people, possessions, or events don’t last forever. Possessions might break, events provide a specific high for a short period, and people disappear from our lives.
So, to be truly happy in life, something must come from within. True happiness is a choice, like a switch you turn on if you want to be genuinely happy, regardless of the conditions you experience or the state of your life. The true meaning of happiness is that it’s not something you chase to achieve. You always have it in you if you choose to experience it. True happiness is like upholding a high flat line on an electrocardiogram reading instead of experiencing it in a cycle of highs and hows. Therefore, it’s critical to fulfill certain conditions in life that can help us attain such a state of mind. Here are some ways we can attain true happiness in life.
Consult the Bible.
For any significant issue in life, we should consult the Bible. As we study people in the Bible, most of them had challenging lives according to today’s standards. They were sometimes blessed with animals, land, many wives, but many characters were still unhappy. Solomon discusses this when he says he’s seen everything under the sun, and all of them are meaningless, like chasing after the wind, as detailed in Ecclesiastes 1:14. One of the primary keys to happiness is having a life with meaning and purpose. We can only find purpose and meaning through God.
When God directs our steps and leads us on the path He wants for our lives, we’ll always have a purpose. Because we’re being used for His ultimate plan of doing the work for the kingdom and spreading the Gospel, we’ll always feel like we used our lives well. However, when we spend our lives chasing things that make us happy, we’ll always feel empty. Some people from the Bible never saw the promised ultimate goal. Life isn’t about realizing a huge dream or achieving a big goal but being obedient to the steps God has led you towards.
Spend time with God.
Some of our best moments have been spent listening to and being God’s voice. It’s not always easy to obey God’s instructions, but hearing His voice and believing God still wants to use us for His purposes is enough to achieve happiness. Simply hearing from God is an experience because our almighty God chooses to use us to execute His plans. Spending time with God isn’t only vital in our spiritual journeys and makes us feel closer to God. When we feel closer to God, we’re never alone.
Doing life alone is why mental health problems like depression are rising. People who spend most of their time on social media feel disconnected and alone from people. Knowing we have God on our side makes us feel like, even in the worst circumstances, we have hope that there’s a God who’ll always direct our steps.
Know the difference between joy and happiness.
Happiness is a brief feeling that comes and goes. On the other hand, joy is an attitude that we can choose daily. We can have joy by renewing our minds with the Bible, changing our attitudes toward the world around us, working as if we worship God, giving freely and helping others. Even when health concerns, financial issues, and marriage tensions abound, we can still choose joy through it all.
Joy is the attitude that brings unbelievers to believers. When we show the world that we have an attitude that differs from what others have or an attitude that’s the opposite of what should be considering our circumstances, we’re Christ’s example to the world, which helps us understand what joy truly means. When we renew our minds to understand that joy is a choice, not a result of our circumstances, it gives us hope that we can always choose joy and have happy feelings accompanying it.
Happiness can be a good thing, but it’s only good if that’s not the only thing we aim for. If we keep our minds focused on God, sacrifice to others and live our lives, we’ll live a life with meaning and purpose. When we choose to join the minister under challenging circumstances, we can have joy and happiness every day.