What Defines Happiness?

by | Jul 27, 2015

There is not a single person on this earth who is not seeking for happiness – the pursuit of happiness is everyone’s dream. Although we are chasing this dream called “happiness“, what actually defines happiness? Is your definition of happiness the real happiness that you should be pursuing? Will your definition actually bring you to happiness? Happiness is a simple word to understand and an emotion that is easily relatable, yet why is it that not many people reach happiness?

The answer to this question is because many people chase the wrong happiness. Many of us define happiness as to how much we have and own (which includes money). I don’t blame those who have this mentality because we grew up with this mentality as children. When we were young, we were trained to see happiness as something that was given to us; a reward or gift. When we got an A on a test we would get rewarded by getting the toy or item we always wanted, when we did well in school we would get candy, and the list goes on. We have been trained to love receiving toys and gifts and saw happiness as to what our parents gave us. A reward for us was defined to what we got in return for obedience.

But as we get older in Christ, we should start to see the reward of life as giving back to others, spending time with the people you love, and impacting the world. As adults we start to have more responsibilities, and although it might not seem that having more responsibilities is a reward, when you really think about it, it is actually more rewarding to have more responsibilities. When you have more responsibilities, you have the ability to make a greater positive impact to others.

Acts 20:35 says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” You might be wondering but how does giving to others more than yourself make your life happy? I asked this same question to myself as well many times before.

I was reading the story of Mabel Dean, a lady who dedicated her life to God. God called her to leave the U.S and service as a missionary in Egypt. She left everything that she had and followed where God had called her. Even though she wanted to go back to the U.S, she stayed in Egypt and sacrificed her life for 30 years in Egypt to do God’s calling on her. As I was reading her story, I could not help but wonder how could someone be willing to sacrifice their life and still feel happy? Although I appreciated what she did, I could not understand how serving and sacrificing her life brought her joy.

How could a life that asks for so much of yourself be a life worth living for? Then I read the last sentence in the passage that opened my eyes. The passage stated how she built 15 churches and another 30 congregations. She made not only a big impact on Egypt, but a lasting one as well. That is when I realized that this is the life worth living for. I finally learned the simple definition of happiness:

Happiness is not from what we hold, but from what we leave behind.

Did you know that you have something worth more than money? Something that can last for generations to come? That something is your legacy. We all have the power of happiness and it is not determined by our circumstances, or of how much money we have. What we have will not last forever, but our legacy does – it can last for generations to come

A life like Mabel Dean’s is a life worth more than what money can buy. Having a life where you are filled with money means you can own everything you want – the best brands, house, clothes, cars, ect. It is a great life, but it is a life that anyone could have and that money could buy. Money cannot buy a legacy that will last for generations, it cannot buy the salvation of Jesus, and it cannot buy an impact to the world.

Money only means you will have more, but having more does not mean you will be happy. Our natural tendency is to always want more than what we have, so what we have will never make us content or fulfill our lifelong happiness.

Your legacy and impact is what will make you happy and create purpose in your life. Many of the people who are most happy are the ones who gave and left behind the most. The things you have will not last forever, but the impacts you make will last forever. John the baptist is another great example in the bible. He sacrificed his whole life to serve Jesus and even ended up in jail, but his example and teachings have left an impact to the world even until today.

Life’s reward is not on how much we can take from this world, but on how much we can give to this world. 

So now that you know the definition of happiness, can you pursue happiness? The answer to that is yes! You are the source of happiness – it is not what you have but because of you and your capabilities can you create a strong legacy. I encourage you all to stretch your capabilities to impact this world. With the hand of Jesus in your life, you will be able to do more than you can imagine.

1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “No eyes has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” Let Jesus into your life and you will find your true happiness. Jesus is worth more than anything on this earth, and he will help you define your purpose in this life. So remember, the foot steps that you leave behind today is what defines your happiness for tomorrow.

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