Finding Happiness In A World Filled With Hate
Finding happiness is a journey we all take and like every good journey, there are bound to be ups and downs. The feeling that comes with real contentment, sheer joy, and a sense of well-being are what we all strive for in life. When you’re on the path to finding real happiness, plotting the journey becomes just as important as the journey itself. Unfortunately, the world is at a crossroads with how it treats one another and achieving happiness is not given for anyone.
Hate has taken over the world and many people are scared, lonely and feel as if happiness is no longer within their grasps. We are living in a time of great heartache with terrorism, racial tensions at an all-time high, and Christians are facing persecution all over the world. In fact, over 95% of people either go to bed or wake up with worry and fear.
How about you?
Do you feel that way?
For me, I never thought I’d find a way to be happy ever again. In September of 2014, I nearly died in a horrific car accident that left me with four crushed discs in my back and two herniated disc in my neck. Walking has become a chore as well as trying to get the proper amount of sleep but you may think I’d feel sorry for myself after that but God turned around my life and He can do the same for you.
Ways For Christians To Start Finding Happiness In A Sinful World
You’d think it would be easy to find ways to be happy in life with the amount of things that tickle our fancy. From social media to video games, easy sex, illicit drugs, and immoral practices, living without sin can feel like a daunting task.
How does one go about finding ways to be happy without committing sins against God?
As a Christian, we must get back to basics. Do we follow society’s version of happiness and be like everyone else or do we follow God’s plan and alienate ourselves from the masses who don’t believe in God?
For young people, it can be a struggle but fortunately, God has given us a roadmap to follow that guides our every step. It’s called the Bible yet many Christians do not read it and follow God’s commands, especially millennials.
For them, God has become something that isn’t cool anymore and most people do not like to be told they are sinning so they ignore the teachings and live for the next high or good time. But is that really fun they are having or have they become mindless followers?
Let’s look at Five Ways Christians Can Start Finding Happiness In Life
1- Loving Others – Selfishness has become the norm in society. Everyone thinks they are entitled to things but forget that they must work for what they have. Loving others brings happiness in a way that we cannot find on our own. Mahatma Gandhi once said that “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
Studies have shown that helping others improves our own levels of happiness. A 2010 survey entitled Do Good Live Well Survey , found that out of 4,500 American adults, 41% of Americans volunteered an average of 100 hours a year. 68% stated that they feel physically healthier after helping others, over 89% said it improved their sense of happiness, and 73% found it lowered their stress levels.
This is a big difference in the way most people live. We put our circumstances first and complain about feeling tired and stressed out yet the path to happiness always goes through others. In their book entitled The Paradox of Generosity , sociologists Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson found that very happy people volunteer an average of 5.8 hours per month. as oppose to those who are unhappy who volunteer just 0.6 hours.
Volunteering to help others is a concrete way of putting God’s word into practice. We are asked to love God with all our hearts and soul and to love others as we do ourselves. Giving of ourselves does that much more than giving money can ever do.
2- Show Compassion – Emma Seppala Ph. D., states that “We often think that we will gain happiness by achieving, receiving or attaining. We also think that in order to be happy, we have to receive love. Think again! Research shows that our greatest fulfillment comes in large part from being connected to others and from helping them.” She goes on to say this about compassion, “Compassion brings meaning and researchers have found that living a life of meaning is one of the greatest determinants of happiness. Not only does compassion ensure depth, fulfillment and purpose in our lives, studies show that it has powerful health benefits and even leads to a longer life!”
Compassion is the glue that holds humanity together. Love cannot function without compassion and we as humans cannot experience real happiness if we are not filled with compassion for others as well as ourselves. Having compassion for ourselves helps us feel good about our existence and who doesn’t want to feel good?
Learning how to be compassionate starts with empathy. We cultivate compassion by developing empathy for others. Empathy brings appreciation for our own situation and circumstances while helping us to see the suffering of others.
Having compassion for others also brings out the commonalities we all share. It is through this shared commonality that we recognize the worth of others. Our happiness comes from loving others in a compassionate way.
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – Dalai Lama
3-Self-Discovery – Happiness comes from inside not from all the things you’ve accumulated over the years. When you don’t feel happy, it’s time to take a step back and get to know yourself. When you know who you are, what your core value system is, and take notice of what fills you with joy, you’ll be ready to plot your course to true happiness.
Getting to know the real you can be difficult. You’ve formed an opinion about yourself from the time you were a small child and what makes you happy, sad, angry and self-confident is all based on both your personality, circumstances and experiences. You may be surprised to find that what you thought was true isn’t true at all.
God knows you better than you will ever know yourself and has a plan for you. Following this plan brings it’s own brand of happiness.
Self-discovery is your launching pad to finding happiness in your life. When you know what you want out of life, what your true purpose is, and why God created you, you will be on your way to completing the circle of happiness that all Christians long for.
Assessing the various parts of your Christian life can be helpful in determining what level of happiness you achieve. One way is to keep a gratitude journal. Each day, write down all the thing you are grateful for. pray for guidance so that you focus on those things that bring gratitude into your life.
4- Find Your Core Values – The essence of your personality come from within your core values. If you’re engaged in activities or have relationships with others who don’t meet the criteria that meet your true values, it’s time find a way to r surround yourself with positive people who adhere to those values you hold dear to your heart.
Your core values are the building blocks of who you ultimately become. Life coach, Debra Smouse states that, ” Your values are who you are, not who you think you should be in order to fit in.” We sometimes forget that and make fitting in with others our goal in finding happiness. Instead, your beliefs and values give you purpose and are the branches that we spread out amongst the world.
Christians must wade through a maze of conflicting messages that can compromise our values and send us skidding down the pathway towards sin. Having the right values and living your life based on those values keeps Christians strong. Our love of God and His word teach us what to believe in and we derive our happiness from putting those beliefs in action.
5- Live Out The Gospel – Every Christian knows what the four Gospels teach and our whole existence is based on those teachings. How often do we compromise what we’ve learned to seek out happiness in all the wrong places?
We are told in Psalm 1:1-6 that, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.”
Prosperity comes from the law of the Lord. We are hardwired for happiness and that happiness comes in the form of Jesus Christ. It’s in our pursuit of holiness that real joy comes into our heart. The more we love and follow Jesus, the more we experience the joys He has promised.
Happiness is a journey. We must practice it everyday if we are to overcome sin and those who force their beliefs on us. The more we come to Jesus and submit ourselves to Him, the more we will find joy in our ordinary lives.
Happiness is there for the taking. Are you Christian enough to take it?