Why I Don't Want to Be Happy in Life

There are many things in life that I hope to be - peaceful, generous, adventurous, strong and encouraging, just to name a few.

But one thing that I do not want to be is happy.

Yes, you read that right.  And no, that is not a typo.  I don't want to be happy.

Because happiness is only temporary.  

Yes, you read that right.  And no, that is not a typo.  I don't want to be happy.

Because happiness is only temporary.  

Happiness is a surface-level feeling that can be brought on by anything from a funny show on TV to a new flavor frappuccino at Starbucks.  It can also be the result of an enjoyable time with a friend or loved one.  But, because happiness only exists at the surface-level, it is usually fleeting.  It doesn't last for the long haul.

It's also usually very dependent on your circumstances. 

If everything is going your way - you have a great job, the bills are paid, you're dating the love of your life and your body is in amazing shape - you will feel happy.  But most likely, if the opposite is true - you're struggling just to make ends meet, you dread going into work every day, you're lonely and feel like you're always sick and tired - you're probably not happy.

In fact, in Shakespeare's days, the term happiness actually referred to "good fortune" or "prosperity."

But what about those days when things aren't going your way?  When you are going through a storm?  When you are being challenged and when your circumstances don't look so good from the outside?

Is there a way to still find happiness in the midst of all that?

Happiness, no.

Joy, yes.

You see, joy is so much greater than happiness.  Joy is not dependent on your circumstances.  It is not a "A+B=C" reaction to something good happening in your life.

Joy is a perspective, a mindset, a way of life. 

When you are joyful, you know that no matter what happens in your life, you will be okay.  When you are joyful, you see the blessings in your life and feel gratitude for them, even when other things are still missing.  When you are joyful, you have an overall sense of peace and contentment that cannot be shaken by circumstances or others around you.

Joy is freeing, liberating and most of all... exciting!  Because it is not temporary.  It's not something that comes from money, possessions or a promotion at work.

Joy is listed as the second "fruit of the spirit" in the Bible and it comes from our relationship with God and our willingness to help others.  In fact, where happiness is usually based on getting something, joy is usually a result of giving something.

It's the rush you feel when you give some money to the man standing on the corner, even though you don't have much yourself.  It's the feeling that bursts out of your chest when you surprise someone with a precious gift or unexpected visit.  Or the way your heart beats or your eyes water when someone tells you how much you've helped or encouraged them.

Because joy is not about you.  

Whereas, happiness tends to depend on "me" - what am I getting, where am I going... or the opposite... when am I ever going to get ___?, why is this happening to me? - joy is about looking outward.

Joy is found in humility, in gratitude and patience.  In knowing that the hard times will pass and that there will be blessings that come out of them.  In forgiving people who have wronged you and extending them grace.  And in being peaceful with others and not giving in to anger, jealousy or rage.

And the best part of all, is that joy is available to all of us, at anytime.

All we have to do is take the focus off of what's wrong in our lives and start being grateful for what's right in them.   To be humble and help others however we can.  And, to trust that God is at work in the greater picture, no matter what storms may come.

So, if you're tired of riding the up-and-down roller coaster that is the pursuit of happiness, stop pursuing.  And start living... with joy.  

Until next time, keep your worries tiny and your dreams BIG!

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