Do you want to be happy? Of course, we all do. Happiness is so good even our Declaration of Independence says we have the right to pursuit it. We know it is not referring to just feeling good. It is more like having a blessed life where you feel cheerful contentment, attaining and high-spirited but also enjoying simple pleasures. Overall, it is more long lasting when it is not dependent on surrounding circumstances, but emanating from within your heart.
But sadly, people often behave differently in its pursuit. Maybe they would forget, compromise, or even sacrifice people and principles that stand in their way. Is it necessary? How does one find happiness?
First of all, is happiness promised to all? Just like many other good things, it isn’t. If not, why do we act like it is then conclude that life is unfair? This misconception easily breeds resentment. Still others develop a crab mentality saying: Why me? If I am not happy, neither can you; If I suffer, so should you; Until I am happy, dare you. As expected, this mindset is behind counterproductive harmful behaviors that create more unhappiness.
I also wish everyone can be happy. But you and I have lived long enough to know that happiness would not just appear on our plate. Should happiness come to us or should we create it? I am greeted every morning with a ray of sunshine but the rest is mostly up to me. Creating happiness is not just possible, it is a must.
In the Bible, we are told it is a personal choice and responsibility, not somebody else’s. In that case, rather than waiting or relying on others, picking the right meaning of happiness, the right goal and method makes a difference whether we create it or not. It is aiming for peace and fulfillment without involving foul play. It is about who and what we are and become and what we do with our lives.
To put it in a nutshell: Loving and being loved, united in harmony and security, no longer conflicted nor separated, especially from God, you experience wholeness is such peace. Growing up, realizing a dream, delivering a duty or promise, building strength, dignity and justice, overcoming obstacles and weaknesses is such fulfillment.
Yes, we would meet failures. But is failure really incompatible with happiness or a part of it? We might think the happy story of Adam and Eve ended miserably. It didn’t because they had redemption, instead of just punishment. Receiving a blessing we don’t deserve is “grace.” The same grace offered them transformation. Thus they experienced another kind of happiness after overcoming their failure. It was no longer an idyllic happiness, but the joy of overcoming, of learning, of growth. It’s also more personal. Such becomes the conquests we celebrate, the love songs we sing, and the unforgettable stories we leave behind.
What would happen my life is not yet what I expect it to be? But does it have to always be the best for us to be happy? If that is the case, the best has become the enemy of good, preventing us from enjoying the good, the present blessings. It is so sad to forfeit so much of what could be better because we only want the best to feel happy. And if happiness relies on one big shot of a lifetime, we would be paralyzed at the thought of missing out.
Truth is happiness is made of many “grace moments” as we miss and hit. Isn’t it smart that failures can be useful like firewood on the stove? By grace we can create different kinds of happiness out of trouble, and that without turning ourselves into demons first. Grace trickles down like dew that nourish the land, rejuvenating it. And like the tide that goes in and out shaping the landscape, at times if we just give it some time, we regain from our losses, reach our goals and become happier.
And when you finally noticed your “grace moment”, savor it like wine, sniff it like fresh bread, with gratefulness. A grateful heart quickly turns it into happiness, whereas grumpiness and malcontent spoil it. Jesus said those who are faithful in little will receive even more. That way, you CREATE more happiness, much much more.
Quick start: What’s that towel in your hand? To wipe dirt, clean your face, or wrap around your body? Are you grateful or did you just miss “happiness”? When was the last time you chose to be “unhappy”? To be “happy”? Do you have a quick start to share? Welcome to send it in.