I slept late today because it was raining and I had no plans. It’s Spring Break and I’m slow to adjust to the time change, so why not take advantage of a flexible day? I heard the rain and it was dark so even though I woke up off and on, I snuggled up in my soft sheets and let myself drift back into my dreams. One of the times I was awake, I started thinking about what I might write about today. The worrisome thought popped into my head that my blogs are too serious lately and I should write about something happy. But then I began to wrestle with the reality that I haven’t been ‘happy’ in a long time. Not the kind of happy that I think I used to experience, or was that just an illusion? What is being happy, anyway?
So that is my topic today. Here is my answer and you can provide your answer in the comments.
What does it mean to be happy, and secondly, is that even a Biblical concept?
I would say that the world’s definition of happiness is often based on desires of the flesh such as pleasure, acquiring possessions, sports, hobbies, watching various forms of entertainment, not working ( as in being on vacation or weekends), mind-altering chemicals such as alcohol, drugs, food, sugar, caffeine, etc, exercise-induced brain chemicals, sex, or more sinister things like power over others, schemes, or revenge. Most of those are not really bad things unless we pursue them to the exclusion of other healthier and responsible desires such as relationships, work, and God.
It’s okay to enjoy your birthday with a cake and ice cream and dancing and even wine, but every day can’t be a birthday party! Not yet anyway. Maybe it will be in heaven!
We are fallen humans and our fleshly bodies seek those things naturally. However, lets not forget the pure happiness of falling in love, having a baby, seeing our children grow and learn and succeed, and the happiness of being in nature. Nothing makes me happier than seeing my kids smiling and excited about something! Being happy is a blessing! But being truly joyful is even better.
If you do a quick search for ‘Bible Verses about happiness’ you will find that there aren’t many.
We’ve all heard that happiness and joy are not the same thing. You can be at peace, joyful, content, and blessed even when circumstances are terrible. That is supernatural and comes from knowing God and knowing that He is in control and is working all things together for the good of those who love Him*.
I think I’m experiencing life in that last category nowadays. I’m sure some of it is just from getting older, but there’s also so much happening in the world that I feel like I must write about things that seem ‘unhappy’ or negative and warn people. Is it really wise to live in denial of the reality of what is happening in the world? Or is it my responsibility as a believer to speak the truth while I still can? Obviously I believe the latter. So even though my blogs are serious, I am still at peace and joyful. Actually more so than ever because this joy depends on nothing but knowing Jesus.
My blog topics may not be fun and carefree in 2021, but I have to write what God puts on my heart. I’m thankful for those who write on other topics! I need that balance. What makes me even happier now is knowing that I don’t have to please everyone. I used to believe that I did. That was quite a burden! I enjoy reading fiction, laughing at funny videos, watching my pets and birds, listening to music ( although my range has shrunk because I am now more offended by sinful lyrics), running and walking, and mostly just being with my family. That is what makes me happy. But Jesus is my joy.
So what about you? Are you ‘happy’ and what makes you feel ‘happy’ even in this uncertain world? Do you know Jesus and does that give you joy even in bad times? How do you feel about people who try to warn and inform? Would you rather not know what is going on in the world?
*And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.Romans 8:28