Intentional Happiness

What makes you happy?

 

Happiness and joy are states of being that we all aspire to find.  How do we find it?  What does it look like? What makes you happy?

Happiness is defined as:  the quality or state of being happy; good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy. (Dictionary.com)

Greg Lafferty, in his article Happiness is a Serious Business (Today’s Christian Woman, April 2010) states, “People often divide Christianity into two attitudes toward pleasure and happiness.  There are those who are ascetic and austere.  Life is no laughing matter.  Seriousness is next to godliness.  Then there are the shiny, happy people.  Life is good. Drink it up. “

In her article Dare to Be Happy (Today’s Christian Woman, August 2016), Jennifer Dukes Lee noted, “For most of my life, I’d been a happy person.  But somewhere along the way, I had lost the fullness of my happiness.  During those times of unhappiness, my great comfort came in believing that God didn’t care about happiness anyway.  I figured, If I can’t be happy, I’m still good with God. My holiness, then, became an excuse to stop seeking happiness.  This is a tragic error of Christians everywhere.  So many of us wrongly believe that we have to pick one or the other: happiness or Jesus. “

“So how do we unite the two attitudes?  By understanding and adopting a theology of happiness—one that is both serious and joyful.” (Happiness is a Serious Business (Today’s Christian Woman, April 2010)

Jesus taught us in the Beatitudes about being blessed (happy).

Jesus' disciples gathered around him, and he taught them:  (biblegateway.com)

God blesses those people
    who depend only on him.
They belong to the kingdom
    of heaven!
God blesses those people
who grieve.
    They will find comfort!
God blesses those people
    who are humble.
The earth will belong
    to them!
God blesses those people
who want to obey him
    more than to eat or drink.
They will be given
    what they want!
God blesses those people
    who are merciful.
They will be treated
    with mercy!

God blesses those people
whose hearts are pure.
    They will see him!
God blesses those people
    who make peace.
They will be called
    his children!
10 God blesses those people
who are treated badly
    for doing right.
They belong to the kingdom
    of heaven.  (CEV)

 In an article from The Cut, entitled Read This Story and Get Happier: The Most popular course at Yale teaches how to be happy. We took it for you., Adam Sternbergh explained, “Happy people devote time to family and friends.  They practice gratitude. They practice optimism.  They are more physically active.  They ‘savor life’s pleasures and try to live in the present moment.’”

 “Blessedness is deep, lasting, spiritual and accessible, not circumstantial, tangible, and emotional.  Blessedness is serious business.  Blessedness doesn’t come from this world and its cheap version and understanding of the word happy; it comes from the eternal perspective.  It isn’t from human resources, but divine.” (Happiness is a Serious Business (Today’s Christian Woman, April 2010)

 So we should intentionally practice the attitudes of being happy.  We can’t depend on our circumstances. We need to lean on God and our relationship with Him to find the happiness we seek.  (See 1 Timothy 6:6)

 August is Happiness Happens Month. You may also like to read the article Regular Worship Attendance Equals Happiness and Health.

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