“I just want to be happy.”
“You deserve to be happy.”
But we can’t all simultaneously be happy, nor can any individual be happy through every mess of life. We live in a culture that wants to give trophies and accolades to every child who puts on a team t-shirt just to avoid discouraging anyone. We declare on social media, “What a great life you lead!”
But life is difficult. By claiming “happy” as our right and goal, we misconstrue reality. We miss out on the tools we need to live an intentional, purpose-filled life. We set aside the discipline, pruning, and trust that comes from focusing on God’s purpose in favor of our own comfort.
What we expect or demand in our “now” robs us of the fullness of “someday.” Happy gets in the way of joy and contentment. Pride gets in the way of faith and trust. We might appease ourselves and others temporarily, but we in the long run we will find ourselves dissatisfied.
Even if declare we want more meaning and purpose in our lives, our daily choices and attitudes reveal we are more happy-dependent than content and thankful for what we have. We may wish for those we love to be happy, forgetting that the things they desire may result from hurtful or destructive behaviors.
There will always be issues with striving for happiness, but our idea of happiness changes over time, and there is no reliability in happiness. Happy dependence is a worthless pursuit.
Contentment and joy are worth pursuing, as are peace, faith, and humility. Any attribute of God is a worthy pursuit. Chasing after God brings the great reward of knowing his purpose for us.
What does God want for you? Your pursuit of that truth and your response to it may not be easy but it will give you purpose. That you can depend on.
Susan Lawrence is a writer and speaker who blogs daily at PurePurpose.org. You can also connect with Pure Purpose on Facebook.