The (Desperate, Devoted, Debilitating) Pursuit of Happiness


Photo by Bekka Mongeau from Pexels

December 1, 2018

People want to be happy.

Is there anyone you know who doesn’t? In our culture there is a driving desire for happiness.

Happiness has been elevated to a pedestal, and it cannot live up to the position. Think of what happiness is. It is a temporary emotion which comes and goes, usually based on the circumstances. Trying  to achieve it as a lofty lifetime goal is a frustrating and disappointing exercise.

In our founding documents we were told we have the right to the pursuit of happiness. I agree that it is a gift to have the liberty to craft your life.

Before I go on, take a look at this fantastically done video. It will lead you to the point that is on my mind today.

Do you not identify with this in some measure? Who of us has not pursued this or that or seven other things in order to feel happy? Again, feeling happy is great. Like you, I prefer it. Believing the continuous feeling of a splendid level of happiness is a lifetime requirement for living well is hopelessly optimistic.

You have known people who are “happy all the time“. In general that seems to be good. But we would not have to look far to find examples of people who impressed everyone with their daily happiness, but because of hidden darkness ended their life.


Photo by Juan Pablo Arenas from Pexels

In other cases, I believe what you see is an outward expression of inner joy.  In fact, the Bible uses these terms interchangeably, so I don’t want to make a large deal of it, but I believe there is a subtle difference.

  • Joy tends to last
  • Happiness fluctuates

Joy – and peace — can exist whether a person is happy at a certain moment or not. Keep in mind also, that the level of happiness is much influenced by your perspective on life. But still, it comes and goes, or shall we say it varies.

There have been moments in my life when there did not seem to be much cause to be happy. Things came into my life that I would much rather not happen. Some days go better than others. Yet, an underlying peace and joy has sustained me—day upon day upon months upon years.

I’m not living for happiness. I am living for the higher authority — Almighty God.

I am living in and for the deep joy and perspective that only He can build into a person.

Do you want to be a happy person? Would you consider turning over that quest to God? That will involve a heavy transaction, but worth it all.

In general I observe that those who have the joy of the Spirit of God tend to live much happier lives. When happiness becomes a byproduct of something richer and deeper, the quest for it loses its attractiveness.

Leave the rat race. That race has no finish line.


Photo by dylan nolte on Unsplash

2 thoughts on “The (Desperate, Devoted, Debilitating) Pursuit of Happiness

  1. Very well expressed! I, too, have found that happiness is fleeting, but joy and peace come from the Lord, and I don’t have to stress or work hard to achieve them in my life. What a relief! Thanks for describing it in more depth – hopefully others will turn to God for joy and peace because of your message.


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