Does happiness come from our
circumstances, or from within us? If from within us, then can happiness be
programmed into our minds as a norm, rather than an exception? What is real
I remember living in the hills of
Tennessee when our boys were little. We were truly poor, financially speaking,
but we were happy. We had some difficult years, but when I look back on those
years, I know we were happy. What causes happiness?
Depending on who you ask, there are
various ways to achieve happiness. Pleasure brings us happiness, although usually for limited periods of time (i.e.: eating
chocolate, seeing someone we love, buying something new, etc.). Challenge brings us happiness; using
skills that require our attention and that produce measurable results (i.e.:
building a bird house, fixing a computer, restoring an automobile, etc.). Doing
something that has lasting Meaning can bring us happiness (volunteer work, community service work, charitable
Ultimately, happiness is a choice. Since
we can choose to do things that make us happy, we should be able to control our
happiness. But, how can we be happy if everything around us is falling apart?
And how do we really know what can make us happy? Happiness seems to elude far
too many people. This is where faith and mysticism come in.
Jesus told his disciples: “… do not
worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your
body, what you will wear … can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your
span of life?” (Matthew 6:25-27, NRSV) Happiness begins by not worrying. But
what about the unforeseen occurrences in life that threaten our happiness? That
is the “but” of it: “But strive first for the kingdom of God and his
righteousness, and all these things [that you need] will be given to you as
well.” (Matthew 6:33, NRSV)
Happiness begins within our minds
and hearts. By focusing on the kingdom of God, rather than purely selfish
endeavors, we can begin to learn real happiness. Why are so many people
depressed, lonely, angry, addicted, hungry, homeless, or in trouble? Maybe
because eighty percent (80%) of the citizens of our State and Nation are not
involved with and regularly attending any church.
Does church bring happiness? Not
always. Does a focused, healthy Christian life lead us to happiness? It should.
Can attending church help us learn to be kingdom focused? It can. But be
careful when choosing religious structures; many are dangerous in themselves.
Look for friends in a faith community that are on a healthy spiritual journey
of self-reflection and self-improvement.
Who has the responsibility to make
you happy? You do! Remember this: It is not up to life to make you happy; it is
up to you to make life happy. Glory to God!
and Peace to You All,
ST. ANDREW’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH
555 E. Third Street | Grove, OK 74344