What is happiness? How do we find it? Why does it slip away from us sometimes? Let’s look a little deeper than the surface and discover how we can attain true happiness.
Disclaimer: I understand that there are circumstances that can cause life to seem exceedingly difficult and I am in no way trying to downplay the fact that certain obstacles exist or trying to act as if your problems are insignificant.
First, to be truly happy, I believe one needs to find contentment. Contentment is not something you just walk into. It is, in fact, a choice– a difficult one, but a choice nonetheless. Whatever it takes, force yourself to be optimistic about where you are now. I am not trying to suggest that you become complacent in your contentment. Never become content in circumstances you know that God would not want you to be in. Of course there are times you will need to rise above what you have fallen into. I am simply saying that in the times in which you wish you were someone or somewhere else in life, count your blessings and make the most out of what you have. God is with you and He knows exactly what you’re going through. If you feel He is not hearing your prayers, just remember that He has a plan for you and He will bring forth that plan in His time. Remember Jeremiah 29:11. God’s time is not our time. I’d trust His plan any day over mine. Think of how much more knowledge God has than we have and take comfort in that. Isaiah 55:8 says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. –Proverbs 3:5, 6
Secondly, remove selfishness from your heart. Selfishness will make you the most miserable person you could possibly be and will send your life spiraling. So many times, we let it creep into our lives unnoticed. I know I have been guilty of it. We have to constantly be on guard against it. Examine yourself to be sure it doesn’t have a grip on you; you may be shocked at what you find. Philippians 2:3 advises us, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.” When someone is selfish, they turn inward, and when someone turns inward, all they focus on is what they want which often leads to discontentment. As we saw above, discontentment also pulls you down. When you really think about it, selfishness is the root of most every sin that is ever committed. Scripture shows us that. James 3:16 reads, “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.” As soon as we obliterate selfishness, we are on our way up and on to a better more fulfilling life.
Lastly and most importantly, to have the most wonderful, meaningful life you can have, develop a deep love for and relationship with God. No one will ever love you as much as the Lord always has and always will. He made the ultimate sacrifice for you and me (John 3:16). Another proof of His love is that He gave us His perfect Word, which tells us how we can find eternal salvation. Many times, the problem with people is that without meaning in their life, they fall into hopelessness. The Bible gives us the meaning of life: “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Make this your goal and you will find the happiness you so desperately long for! God loves you and wants to have a relationship with you. Seek Him, and I guarantee things will start looking up and you’ll experience true joy.
It really comes down to what your attitude towards God and life is. You will make or break your relationship with Him and as a result will make or break your happiness. The choice is yours. I hope these suggestions will help you to have a life filled with hope and abundant blessings!
By Anna Wilkie
Anna (age 17) serves with the Bear Valley church of Christ in Denver, CO. She is the daughter of Brian and DeAnn Wilkie and sister of Rachel, Jack and Joe Wilkie. Her father, Brian, serves as an elder for the congregation. Anna’s interests include photography and learning to play the piano.