The happy life. What does this mean to me? Kristen Linker, a third year student at Redeemer University College. It begins with balance: trusting God, finding Joy, having harmonious relationships with the people in my life and doing the best I can with what I have at this stage in life. If I would have had to write this paper at the beginning of this semester, I would have had a completely different view on the happy life. However, through this course, I have learned what I think are the most important things to work towards. Lyubomirsky’s happiness activities have also given me some ideas about what I find to be imperative to living a life pleasing to God. Now, I will not be describing a three step program to achieve the happy life. Something like that does not exist, as I have gathered from this course. But, I will be sharing some things that helped me realize how to switch my focus to a more optimistic outlook.
Scripture and Theology
I will be starting by describing what I learned as I journeyed through Naugle’s book Reordered Love, Reordered Lives. He wrote this from a Christian perspective and had many insights into happiness. He wrote, “The basic biblical pattern is happiness with God, unhappiness without God, and happiness regained with God again” (Naugle, 129). When we are in-tune with God and His word, we will find true happiness. Apart from God, there is not true happiness.
We often discussed in class about situations where things were all going well – like the example Dr. Kosits said in class about a woman who was married to man for a number of years and was content and happy, but then found out her husband was having an affair. We posed the question, “Does that mean she actually wasn’t happy in her marriage?” Well, no. She was happy. But things changed. “‘God whispers to us in our pleasures,’ C.S. Lewis, ‘speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains; it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.’”(129-130). C.S. Lewis describes it perfectly; when we feel pain in this broken world, we think that we will never be happy. But, God uses those times to grow us. Grow us in His grace. Change happens when there is pain. And, as I have learned in this course, people who suffer pain often have a more optimistic outlook on life and tend to be happier overall when they have dealt with the pain in a healthy way. Trusting God is the only way to achieve this. Trusting in His purpose and plans – not my own.
What does the Bible Say about Happiness?
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (Holy Bible). These are not suggestions that are recommended for us to lead a Godly life. These are commands. We are expected to abide by them. It doesn’t say ‘be joyful only when things go your way’ or ‘only when you are not stressed.’ Always. This is essential. The magnitude of the word always astounds me. It is not temporary. It is continuous.