It’s Not About “What Makes Me Happy”
If our main concern in life is being happy, happiness, ironically, will always allude us.
How often we run after illusive “happiness.” Parents want their children to be happy. We often hear people say “Whatever it takes to make you happy,” or “whatever it takes to be happy.” How often we think, if I just had a different partner or if he behaved differently, or if I just get this thing, or if I have sex with this person, or if I get this boyfriend or girlfriend, or if I get this job, . . . then I will be happy.
Life is not about being happy. However, I do believe God wants us to be joyful. Joy is different than happiness. Happiness is about ME, it is predominantly concerned with the self, the ego. We seek after this or that to make us happy and the happiness is fleeting. Then we’re on to the next thing. How often we see this in relationships. We look at the other to make us happy. Over time, if that continues to be our main concern, our partner fails in making us happy; and so our heart and our eyes begin to roam elsewhere. And in the process of running after our happiness, we can do a lot of harm to ourselves and others. The grass always looks greener somewhere else. But is it?
Joy, on the other hand, does not emanate from self concern but from concern for others. The most joyful people I know are those who are self giving and concerned for the welfare of others. Their lives aren’t devoid of pain, or moments of sorrow, but their presence exudes joy because they carry within themselves a realization that their lives are making a difference in this world and ultimately that’s what gives life a sense of meaning. I think that’s what Jesus meant when he said in order to find ourselves, we’ve got to loose ourselves. That is, stop running after this or that that you think will make you happy, stop thinking so much about yourself and you will discover deep joy.
We live in a society that screams an opposite message, a message that we need something new, this or that thing, person or place in order to be happy; and we are held in a state of perpetual adolescence instead of growing into mature, loving people and discovering what true happiness is about.
Do you want to be happy? Do something for someone. Happiness is concerned with what I can get from life. Joy comes when my concern becomes not so much what I can get from life, but what I can give to life!