Happiness. That word sometimes feels like a dangling carrot, doesn’t it? We all want it. Marketing is driven by telling us how to buy it. Media is driven by telling us how to look like it. Anyone who has ever lamented with John Mayer singing his song “Something’s Missing,” or Kid Rock singing “Only God Knows Why” can tell you that our temporary fixes are not working.
Is lasting happiness even real? Or is it just another elusive fairytale that teases us from time to time, and then slips away again?
Yes. It is real. And over the next five weeks we are going to explore how we can actually become happy people, as well as many different “branches” of what that means. Today, we are going to focus on the root issue.
Fleeting happiness is rooted in experiences, attaining success and/or wealth, and positive circumstances. By contrast, lasting, sustainable happiness is a state of mind that is experienced when we are rooted in peaceful contentment, regardless of our circumstance or achievements. That kind of happiness can only come when our roots are planted in the right soil. If we don’t have healthy roots that are pressing into healthy soil, focusing on healthy branches is futile.
Just like trees must have roots that are buried deep in healthy, nutrient-rich soil, we need to be connected to our life source, constantly pressing our roots deeper in order to survive and thrive. We were created by an infinitely amazing God that invites us into relationship with Him, no matter who we are or what we have done. Throughout the Bible we see that God didn’t just create us, and then leave us to let us be on our own; He created us to know Him, and to sustain us in a loving relationship with Himself.
So how do we dig our roots deeper into our life source in order to truly experience lasting happiness that transcends circumstances, levels of success, amounts of wealth, and fleeting experiences?
In his best-selling book, Crazy Love, Francis Chan says, “We never grow closer to God when we just live life. It takes deliberate pursuit and attentiveness.” I’d like to offer a few practical ways to intentionally pursue depth, growth, and life:
1. We need to acknowledge our need and desire for true, lasting happiness.
We start by first opening up the conversation. We simply confess to God openly that we are desperately broken, and in need of Him and the life He offers us through His son Jesus. We must admit and acknowledge our true need, and that we too often look to fill it with the wrong things. Only God can satisfy the hunger of our souls.
2. Be Intentional About Cultivating A Deep Relationship With God.
Just like dating, simply saying, “Hello,” to someone isn’t enough to cultivate a deep, meaningful relationship. It takes time and intentional effort to really know someone. It’s like that with Jesus. Truly following Jesus does not stop at acknowledging our brokenness and asking for forgiveness and new life; that’s where it starts. Take time daily to open your Bible and slowly read the words that God has spoken to us. Put it to the test; God’s Word is alive and active, and when we encounter His presence, we can’t help but be changed.
*If this is all new to you, here’s a simple study plan that I use each day: 1 chapter from Psalms, 1 chapter of Proverbs (there’s one for each day of the month, so you can read Proverbs 12 times in a year!), and one to two chapters from another book of the Bible (I recommend starting with the book of John, then Romans).*
3. Plug into authentic community with other Christ-Followers.
Find and cultivate community among other Christ-followers. I cannot stress the importance of living life in community, whether that’s through plugging into a church, or a local Bible study; we are sharpened in our relationships with others. (We are going to look more at this topic in this series, but for now simply know it is vital).
4. Document your personal story.
Keep a journal of some kind. No matter where you are in your journey, your life will not suddenly be perfect when you choose to turn to Jesus. There will still be hard days, and there will be days when you wonder if it’s worth it. I have huge storage bins full of journals that I have kept over the last 12 years that I have walked with Jesus, and when I feel discouraged or full of doubt I look over those journals and see God’s faithfulness throughout my life. It’s like an energy drink that reminds us that even when we can’t see, God is with us and is for us.
5. Be patient with yourself.
We are discussing deep, abiding happiness and contentment, not perfection. The goal is not to be perfect, but to be deeply rooted in The Perfect One, knowing that our security lies in God who never changes, and not in our circumstances or fickle emotions.
Now that we have addressed the root of true and lasting happiness, join me for the next five weeks to discuss supplemental elements to becoming happy people. We are going to look at a wide variety of topics including relationships (both platonic and romantic), health and nutrition, money management, building margin in our days to avoid burnout, and more.
I hope that you will continue on this journey with me. Invite your friends. Share, subscribe, repost, pin, and let’s become a richly sustainable, authentically happy group of people…together.
Run Hard. Love Strong.