What Is The Real Definition Of Happiness?
Happiness means something different to everyone but as its very root, finding happiness is what everyone is searching for. The very definition of being happy is to be satisfied, contented, and fulfilled in whatever you are doing at the moment.
But happiness is not defined by momentary pleasures. We want to go much deeper than that. We want something that is sustainable, something that stays with us and something we can access at any time we want.
Now, let’s take a look at the literal definition from Webster’s dictionary to see how it defines happiness.
It states that happiness is:
- A : a state of well-being and contentment : joy
- B : a pleasurable or satisfying experience
Definition A is important to you to understand as it uses a keyword that most people do not fully understand… that being joy!
Joy is something most people think of as a synonym for happiness but it gets to the heart of what we feel as opposed to what we experience.
Joy is not about pleasure or stimulation that makes us feel good. Joy is the embodiment of love. It is what’s left over when pleasure and contentment are gone. It’s what God has given to us as a gift that we must cherish.
In Lamentations 3:17, we feel the heartache when we lose our happiness. “My soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is.”
But true happiness comes from God. Despite all the problems, Romans 12:12 tells us, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
According to author Donna Labermeier in an article she wrote entitled, “Do We Really Know What Joy Is?” she speaks of the true nature of joy when she writes, “Joy is a sustained, elevated, super-fast vibrating energy that most people are not at all used to. A state of true joy reveals an eagerness and enthusiasm for life that many dear souls have probably never felt before.”Is that the kind of happiness you seek?”
Joy takes happiness to a new level. It’s what is inside of each and every person yet most don’t know how to access it and even worse, don’t know how to enjoy it
Do you want to get an immediate boost to your happiness? Listen to the MP3 below for the real secret.
What Does Happiness Mean To You?
Everyone wants to be happy but do you know what happiness means to you? Do you know what it takes to make you happy?
Are you living the life you imagined you’d live? So often, we look back on our lives and wish we could have done things differently. We wished we could have avoided the painful things we encountered while enjoying the little things a bit more.
King Solomon built some of the most beautiful projects known to man. He had at his disposal all the money a man could ever want and used it to bring happiness to himself. After taking a serious look at what he had built, he lamented on the sheer waste of it all as he finally understood the principal of searching for joy when it was already there through the love of God.
“Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done… and found it to be nothing but vanity and a striving after wind” Ecc 2:1-12.
This is how many of us look at happiness. We gather up riches here on earth yet none of it makes sense until we take a long look at our lives and what these possessions have given us.
What’s truly important to you?
What is the one thing you can’t live without? Is it love? Friendship? Your family? Your job? Whatever it is, that’s what you will focus on. If you focus on things that don’t fulfill you then they will take up valuable real estate in your heart and will waste your time, money, and your feelings.
How To Find Lasting Joy In Your Happiness
Happiness is like a game for most people. They go on a mad scramble to find lasting happiness yet they never finish playing the game. All the things they think will make them happy are disposable and move on to the next thing they think will fill their hearts.
Let me tell you why all of this is in vain. In fact, let God tell you in his own words and you will see why joy is what you are really lacking.
Treasures in Heaven
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
Joy is short-lived if it is done with selfish intent. Real joy comes from investing ourselves in the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Pastor Dr. D. W. Ekstrand brings this out beautifully in his article, “Genuine Joy And Happiness” when he writes, “A Christian’s joy can be just as short-lived as anyone else’s, if he seeks it for itself as the world does. Biblical joy is a fruit, a byproduct, an additional blessings, not an end in itself. It flows into and grows within the person whose life and energies are not focused merely on being “joyful.” The lives of those in this world who so zealously chase after it prove this point. If they are still chasing it, then they must not have it! On the other hand, when we follow God’s prescription, He feeds us in such a way that we experience real joy and satisfaction.”
How are you feeding this joy? Is it with the fruit of the world or the fruit of the Holy Spirit?
If everything you do comes from a genuine love of the Jesus Christ then joy will follow you all the days of your life. You will not descend into the depths of debauchery but be lifted through the unconditional love that God shows you.
It’s so easy to get caught up in this world. The problems, the acrimony, the greed, the jealousy, and the gossip. We waste so much of our time on things that bring no sense of joy. Instead, we let life and society dictate our own brand of happiness.
Think about it. Are you able to enjoy yourself to the fullest knowing that someone might make a comment on what you are doing that you may not like or appreciate? Does what others say or believe influence your happiness?
I hope not! But let’s be real here for a minute. If you enjoy things that others don’t, doesn’t it make sense to to find others that enjoy the same things you do and enjoy it with them? Why let others spoil what gives you pleasure.
Let me give you an example of this. When my brother and I hit our early twenties, we finally had enough money to go to Comic Con in New York City. Comic Con is a festive held in both New York City and San Diego where fans of comics, graphic novels, anime, manga, video games, toys, movies and science fiction go to enjoy themselves. Some people dress up as their favorite movie and comic characters while others go to soak up the atmosphere.
As we are big science fiction fans (Star Wars and Star Trek to name just a few), we went to meet some of the cast members and enjoy the festivities. When we told some people we were going, we got some funny looks and one person even commented, “Why would you want to go there for?”
I will never forget that. They tried to spoil our fun because they thought it was stupid to waste our time there. Happiness doesn’t depend on what others think or believe. It should come from deep inside. As a writer, I wanted to go to understand what made these movies, shows and characters click. It was a chance to meet our heroes.
God knows what makes us happy and puts things in our life to enjoy them. He wants us to be happy. He doesn’t want us depressed or feeling like life is a drag. We tend to forget what God wants for us and go off and do our own thing until we realize God has other plans for us.
Going to Comic Con inspired me to take my writing to another level. God was leading me in a direction and I followed. Why is this important?
We read it in Psalm 16:11 where David encourages us to seek out God’s joy. “Thou will make known to me the path of life; in Thy presence is fullness of joy; in Thy right hand there are pleasures forever”
Now, does that sound like a God who doesn’t care whether we’re happy or not? Of course not. He is guiding us and watching over us all the time and through this, He offers his joy which brings us the true pleasures of the world.
Where would you be if you had to do everything yourself and no help whatsoever in accomplishing your goals in life?
Probably not too happy but when you allow Jesus to guide you and show you what real joy is then you can experience happiness in a brand new light.
The Purpose Of Joy
Without joy, it would be a pretty boring world wouldn’t it? Day after day, slogging through life without any hope at all. That’s not what God offers us.
In fact, there’s a purpose to God’s joy. He want to bring us close to Himself where He can bring out the best in us. Pastor Dr. D. W. Ekstrand says it best when he writes, “Biblical joy is inseparable from our relationship with God, and springs from our knowledge and understanding of the purpose of life and the hope of living with God for eternity when there will be joy evermore. Joy is the sign that life has found its purpose and its reason for being.”
From the article, “Happiness Is a Choice You Make: Lessons from a Year Among the Oldest Old” author Eric Barker talks about happiness and purpose. He states, “People who have purpose in life are not only happier and healthier — they live longer.” He goes on to say, “What drives you? What inspires you? Feed that now and reap the benefits later. Don’t have hobbies — have passions.”
We are all equipped to be happy. The problem is, we don’t give in to our passions we give up our passions to make a living. It’s when we combine them that we find our happiness and the joy of life.
“Many people are alive but don’t touch the miracle of being alive.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
That quote by Thich Nhat Hanh explains why most of us are not happy and don’t feel the joy in our life. You’ve got to live to be happy. Happy people enjoy the life God has given them. They are not just actors in their life but actually live out their passions.
If you want to define happiness and joy, it all comes down to this: Joy is a response to God’s word. Pastor Rick Warren chimes in with his definition which I like the best because it brings us to the heart of how joy works.
“Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.”
What is your definition of happiness and joy and are you a living example of it?
Let me know in the comments section how you feel about being happy.