Well, if it makes you happy, then go ahead. Do it! Right? This is becoming more and more the “law” of the land. As long as it makes you happy and it is not hurting anyone, well, why would that be wrong?
But we have to start with the question: Can I even trust myself to know what makes me happy?
For me, the big thing is eating. I love to eat. I could eat pizza all day every day. Follow that up with a couple of donuts. Yep, that would make me happy. Really? In that moment, I would definitely be happy. However, after I eat stuff like that my stomach tells me otherwise. I know this is in the category of too much information, but my body does not like that kind of food. I will get bloated and even at times have to visit the bathroom sooner than later, if you know what I mean. And yet, that makes me happy?
I do not have to stop there. I like to watch television too. In fact, there are times where I would rather “be happy” and watch a show or movie before I go to bed. Yes, I am happy. I am happily enjoying the show even as it goes on way past the time where I should be in bed. Then morning comes. Am I still happy when I have to crawl out of bed? Am I still happy when I feel sluggish throughout the day?
I am guessing I am not alone here.
How many decisions have you made in your life because they made you “happy” only to later think, “What did I do?” How many late-night decisions? How many relationship choices? How many money decisions, to buy or not to buy?
It seems way too easy to know what makes us feel “happy” in any given moment, but do those in-the-moment decisions truly bring happiness? I think the answer here is a rather obvious, “no”.
What truly makes us happy? Can we even find true happiness? Dr. Timothy Keller has a great sermon called “The Search for Happiness.” He makes a rather profound statement that if you seek happiness, you will never find it. If all you ever do is make choices based on what makes you happy or not, then you will never truly know happiness. By the quick review above, this does not surprise me. Does it surprise you?
Can we even know true happiness? Where can we find it?
Dr. Keller uses Psalm 1 and does give a way to know true happiness. True happiness comes when we pursue God (this is the one essential ingredient…pursue God), when we follow His ways.
Psalm 11 The truly happy persondoesn’t follow wicked advice,doesn’t stand on the road of sinners,and doesn’t sit with the disrespectful.2 Instead of doing those things,these persons love the Lord’s Instruction
I know; this sounds so backward. This sounds so limiting. God is the One who keeps telling me what not to do.
If you have kids or have been around kids, you will get this. Kids too often think you have it out for them. They say, you are mean or you will not let us have any fun. The reality is we have their best intentions in mind. We truly want what is best for them. Still, they struggle to believe it. Does this sound familiar?
How do we even know what will truly make us happy, not only here in the moment, but for all of eternity? We think we know, but do we really? How about a God, an all knowing, gracious God who loves us more than we even know? Yes, He might truly know what it means for us to be happy.
Why then do we fight Him so much?
This post originally appeared July 21, 2015 as “As Long As It Makes You Happy”.
(All scripture cited above from Common English Bible Copyright © 2011)