Happiness is a sleeping child. At least to a mother who spent the last four hours dealing with a lot of whining!
Happiness is a state of being that is well sought after in our culture. I can’t speak for other cultures, but maybe they also seek happiness as much as we do. We try to find it in many things and in many places: money, clothes, the arms of a lover. And even after that, many of us have a continual lust for more. In high school, I became very overwhelmed by the reality of my parent’s divorce that had taken place when I was just a toddler, and the aftermath that followed. I often wished I had never been born and wondered if I would ever be happy. I honestly believed that I would be in that state of mind for the rest of my life, I even pictured my future husband explaining to my future children that “mommy isn’t feeling well today” when I’d be having an anxiety attack or suffering in other ways.
But here I am, things have definitely changed, my outlook is much brighter. I am glad that I was born, I see a purpose to my life, and Peter does not have to explain heavy situations to Eva. What has changed? Well, of course, the obvious is that God is now in my life. Well, honestly, God is my life (even on days I don’t represent Him well). And since the day that I decided to allign my life with God, I have become more and more thankful for the life that I have. I honestly believe that thankfulness is the key to happiness. For so long I had tried to use things to make myself happy. Or people. Or situations. “If I just was there then I’d be happy” or “if I just had this“. “If I just looked like that“. “If this hadn’t have happened”.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-28 says “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” How is it that you can meet people suffering so much, who have so little, and yet they can be so joyful? And we can meet people who are drowning in material wealth, and yet they are truly miserable. The truth is, no matter what the situation, we can be happy. We just have to be thankful. Thankful no matter what. Thankful because it could’ve been worse. Thankful because you don’t deserve anything. Thankful because someone opened the door for you. Thankful that you have a child, even though she was whining for the past four hours. Thankful because.
Because if you can’t be thankful, you can’t be happy.
“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
“Happiness comes from spiritual wealth, not material wealth… Happiness comes from giving, not getting. If we try hard to bring happiness to others, we cannot stop it from coming to us also. To get joy, we must give it, and to keep joy, we must scatter it.”