What is happiness? Many of us would say having a great career is happiness. Some would say having family is happiness. Or with enough money, happiness can be bought. In all these examples, there are always a period of time of having a happy state of being, but are we guaranteed this for all our lives?
I remember in college, I thought I had found my true happiness. I was in school full time, working part-time, had good friends, drove a cute car, I had my own apartment, and I had a healthy social life. I was happy……. for a while.
Then when I became an adult and started “adulting”, bills being paid, a well-paying job, working vehicle, loving relationships, weight loss, and active social life again made me very happy……for a while.
Then the unhappy moments start to hit.
What do you do when your health gets tested, your mind is not rested, your heart is no longer invested, and your life’s accomplishments are no longer being digested?
In this chapter, I am discussing what our true happiness looks like in our heads compared to what our reality of happiness should be.
God has an answer for the constant questions about why we do not feel whole like we should and why we still struggle with figuring out what it really means to find happiness within our mess.
We will find that successful “adulting” comes from realizing what makes us happy.
“I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also, that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.” Ecclesiastes 3:12-13
How do we exude to others what happiness looks like when we do not feel it ourselves?
Well, most of us know that social media contributes to the misconception of what happiness looks like verses what it truly is.
I just started using social media this year, to start promoting some of my blog writing and I have run across many accounts that, had I been on it ten years ago, I would have had a complex about my life.
You see all these “happy” people but then when you look closer you can also see much sadness in their eyes. And these folks have money, fame, houses, cars, trips, and tons of followers yet they are unhappy.
It is easy to perceive happiness to entertain the world but how is the false happiness entertaining you?
One of my friends, who follows me on Instagram, had text me a few days ago and said I made parenting look easy. Another one of my friends said I made marriage look easy. Someone else told me that I exude joy every time they see me.
These are all in fact wonderful compliments, but my secret is, I realized a few years back that the only one in charge of my happiness, is myself.
“In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.” Ecclesiastes 7:14
I used to struggle with finding my own happiness, because I was not able to handle the ups and the downs of life.
I would have a great week one week and could suddenly lose everything the next. And instead of moving on to a better week, I would hold on to the stress/worry from the previous week, month, and/or year.
So, my happiness back then was based around my temporary circumstances.
Here are some examples:
- Have you found yourself really enjoying something, and found yourself not enjoying that thing so much when someone criticizes it or you?
- Or have you always been that person who does not sweat the small stuff, the laid-back friend, the one to always give great advice? Yet somehow when something traumatic happens and no one was found to help you through it, you find yourself being the angry and bitter one?
- Have you finally found yourself in a wonderful relationship, and then suddenly that person makes a mistake and you are then that person who ALWAYS criticizes all men/women because of what that one person did?
Happiness is not just a word used to describe something or an adjective (for all my English folks out there), but it is a verb (an action word) as well.
It takes an action of choosing to be happy despite the circumstances.
It is an action of choosing to be happy despite the setbacks.
It is an action of choosing to be happy despite the loss of people and things.
I had to make the adult decision to be happy no matter what came my way. This is another part of “Adulting”. We will have to make some tough decisions that nine times out of ten is not our first choice.
I chose to forgive freely, trust openly but wisely, love fiercely and fully, and start fresh with doing some reflecting on myself.
Finally, I will challenge you all this week and weekend to think about your true happiness. Are you happy in your life as it is right now, or do you feel you need to move some old baggage out of your life?
Are you allowing the outside things to affect your inside groove?
You must remember that “Happiness begins within”. It is not something that anyone or anything can give or take away.
True “adulting” is realizing what makes you, you. And it is also realizing that the world does not have to power to destroy you, derail you, lower you, or push you.
Happiness is attainable and God’s destiny for you is within your grasp. True happiness is knowing who and who’s you are. Nothing can break what God has lovingly out together. Remember that! You got this.