We want to be happy.
We live in a country dedicated to giving us the right to the “pursuit of happiness.” We’re convinced that happiness is out there; we just need to catch it. So we chase after it. We have an “if only” mindset.
- If only … I could make just a little more money, then I’d be happy.
- If only … I got married, then I’d be happy.
- If only … I was married to someone else, then I’d be happy.
- If only … we had kids, we’d be happy.
- If only … our kids would move out, we’d be happy.
- If only … I got promoted.
- If only … I had a different job. I’d be happy.
- If only … I had my own home.
- If only … I could sell my home. I’d be happy.
Is that you? What do you think you’d need to be happy?
The truth is you wouldn’t be happy.
Research shows none of these things have the power to bring lasting happiness. Studies reveal that circumstances count for about 10% of our happiness. At most, they may have the power to make us feel happy for a very short while. It’s like the toys kids get for Christmas. They’re ecstatic when they unwrap them, and a few weeks later those toys are sitting on the closet floor, next summer they’re in a garage sale.
We see this all the time. People who have the kinds of things we long for are not happy. Good looking celebrities who have millions of dollars, and gorgeous homes, and fancy cars, and go on exotic trips admit their lives feel empty, and far too often turn to drugs or even try to end their lives.
Happiness is not something that happens when our circumstances change. Unhappy single people don’t find happiness on their wedding day. No, unhappy single people become unhappy married people. Unhappy unemployed people become unhappy employed people.
So maybe happiness comes from a different place.
In his book, “The Law of Happiness,” Dr. Henry Cloud writes, “Happy people don’t chase after happiness, they chase after God and happiness catches them.”
God set eternity in our hearts. We try to stuff all kinds of things into us to make us happy, but anything other than God is too small to fit in that hole in our hearts.
Happy people live with an awareness of God’s love and they embrace every moment as a gift to be lived with Him.
Perhaps God is someone you believe in and you give him an hour of your life every week when you show up at church. Beyond that? You don’t really have time for God because you’re too busy pursuing happiness. But what if happiness is only found in him?
We think happiness will come when I start getting what I want for me, but the truth is that I won’t be happy until I reach the end of me. The end of me is where life with God can begin. And happy people don’t chase after happiness, they chase after God and happiness catches them.
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VIDEO BLOG Jackie Hill-Perry is a writer and hip-hop artist who grew up in church, but didn't have a relationship with Christ. She found meaning in the love AND APPROVAL of other women, but God had a better plan for her.