After twenty-two years of living on this earth, I think I am finally at a place in my life where I can answer the question, “What is the secret to happiness?” In my opinion, you have to realize that you are not always going to be happy. Becoming content with that realization is the secret to happiness.
People often say, “Well, I know God wants me to be happy…” I very strongly disagree with that statement. If being happy our whole lives will not get us to Heaven, then I have a hard time believing God always and only wants us to be happy. Did you know that the word “happy” is only mentioned 20 times in the entire Bible?
Always being happy means that we are comfortable, and when we are comfortable, there is no room for growth. If things are constantly going well in our lives and we never experience any hurt, pain, or sadness- we become complacent, or stuck in our spiritual lives. When we are always happy, we seem to forget about the One who makes us happy.
Throughout the Bible, even the best warriors for God experienced hurt or pain- nobody was always happy. Look at Moses and Abraham, David and Paul, Job and even Jesus! If you didn’t already know, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but you are going to experience hurt, loss, and pain in your life and you are not always going to be happy.
Happiness is an emotion. Emotions cannot get us to Heaven. Emotions are temporary.
Although we may not feel the emotion of happiness when we are hurting or find ourselves in low places throughout our lives, we can have joy. The word “joy” is mentioned in 242 times in the Bible. When we experience trials and tribulations, pain and loss, we can have joy. We can rejoice when we are “unhappy” because, during those times, we are being molded into even better Christians. For example, being hurt by a best friend obviously will not make you happy, but you can find joy in the situation knowing that you are becoming stronger because you are learning to lean on God.
Deciding to be joyful is a mindset. Even though joy is also defined as an emotion, we can control if we are joyful or not. Being joyful is a lifestyle. To be joyful is to rejoice or to be glad. Romans 5:3-4 says, “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tell us to, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
If we spend every second of every day trying to make sure we are happy, we are missing the point. If we are always happy, we aren’t leaving room for growth. I challenge you to develop a mindset that, even when you aren’t experiencing an emotion of happiness, you are striving for eternal joy. Find the positives in every unhappy situation and let God shape you during those times. The secret to happiness is realizing that you aren’t always going to be happy. Make the most of every unhappy situation!
God is good all the time. All the time God is good.
“For the joy of the Lord is your strength…” Nehemiah 8:10
“Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.” Psalm 95:1
Anna Doyle graduated from Freed-Hardeman University in May 2010. She is currently the Jackson Christian School middle school girls basketball coach in Jackson, TN. She was married June 18, 2011 and enjoys playing sports, creating art, and helping others. Mother Teresa is one of her biggest role models and she believes that God is good all the time and all the time God is good.