What does happiness mean to me?
Happiness is mostly about having peace in my heart. Yes, you can get a feeling of happiness when nice things happen around you. Those feelings can go up and down depending on things that are not within my control.
But there is a deeper type of happiness that remains no matter what happens around me. This type of happiness comes from the peace that I have in my heart. It comes from knowing that God cares for me. It comes from believing His Word and believing His promises. It comes when I know in my heart that God is taking care of me, that He has plans for me, that He has forgiven me, and that He’s helping me to do His will.
That confidence and peace is not influenced by the circumstances around us, and it is that confidence and peace that makes us so happy.
The other very big part of happiness is thankfulness, which is something that I choose. I choose to be thankful. It’s something constant. It’s also something that does not need to be influenced by my circumstances. So, although we also have happy feelings, and are very thankful for blessings that come and for people we love and a sunny day, our happiness is not dependent on that, because the peace that is underneath can’t be taken away.
There are of course times of loss, times of testing, times when things don’t go my way. And there are no good feelings, no feelings of joy during those times. But I can still have peace and thankfulness in my heart. That gives me a joy that is not touched by trials or conflicts that I’m in, or whatever it might be that I’m facing. Everyone goes through times when we don’t feel so happy. “Choosing happiness” doesn’t mean that I get to choose happy feelings, but it does mean that I hold firmly on to God and His Word, and that gives me a happiness that is deeper.
Thankfulness is the way to happiness
Thankfulness is a choice. There can be things that happen that are not the way I would choose it. But I can choose how I react to it. And thankfulness is a real solution. It’s a key. Maybe I’m in a situation and there’s something I really don’t like. Maybe I have to meet difficult people, or maybe I feel a bit lonely. Then I can choose how to react to it. I can choose to thank God for what He is doing in me and that I know I’m in His hands, and I can do what He’s given me to do with all my heart. And when I do that, I become happy.
I believe it’s possible to always be happy
When I think of happiness as the peace and thankfulness I have in my heart, then I believe it’s possible to always be happy. And it’s not dependent on any of my circumstances. It’s not possible to always feel cheerful and happy. There are dark days where we’re tested. We even read about the “evil day” in God’s Word, but it doesn’t mean that I need to come out of rest, or out of the joy I have when I fully trust in God.
My happiness can also grow when I get rid of things that could take this inner peace away. Complaining thoughts, comparing myself to other people, discontentment, fear, and worry are all thoughts that come up easily within us and can take away our joy if we allow them. So, I need to prepare myself and use God’s Word as a weapon against these thoughts and pray in my thoughts so that I can resist them when they come up! If I do this, then it’s possible to keep my joy – always! But I have to be awake and aware of the things that want to steal my joy from me.
I choose to believe God’s Word is true for me
I can find this constant happiness when I simply choose to believe that God’s Word is true for me and that God truly loves me and has plans for me. His plans for me are not difficult. It’s about doing the best I understand with what’s right in front of me. Then I go to bed at night full of peace, and I know God is for me. He’s following along. He’s interested in me. That peace is more valuable than any happy feelings.
So even if things are going against me right now - there are a lot of things to learn, a lot of trials, and a lot of things we face, especially when we are very young - I can always have that faith and peace and happiness deep in my heart.