Which is greater: happiness or joy?
The first of the year seems to hasten a craving for happiness. I’m not saying that people don’t wish to be a happier version of themselves all throughout the year, but I just think we see that desire magnified in January. We are looking back and reflecting on the good, the bad, and the ugly of the previous year, and wondering how this new year could be different. How can we make it different? How can we be happier despite our circumstances? We make resolutions that are ultimately an attempt at that very thing. We convince ourselves that surely if we do (fill in the blank here), then the result will be that we are happier. And if we’re happier then life is good, our social media feed is on point, and everyone thinks we have it all together.
Did you know that statistics show that 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February?
So what if it wasn’t about happiness?
What if our focus wasn’t on what we could do to create our own happiness?
What if instead of striving for fleeting moments of happiness and exaltation of ourselves, we were striving to give God more glory and exalt Him, regardless of if the moment was happy or sad?
Don’t get me wrong, being happy sure beats the heck out of being sad and depressed. I’ve been both sad and depressed, and I would much rather be happy. But I truly believe that if we shifted our focus, something better than happiness would follow.
I’m afraid that we have glorified ourselves in the happy and decimated ourselves in the sad. We were created to have feelings and, like I tell my children regularly, it’s okay to have those feelings. But we cannot let our ever-changing emotions be our compass. So how can we do this differently? How can we find something more lasting than happiness? How can we shift our focus and experience joy instead?
I challenge you to see how you can glorify God in your work, in your goals, and in your relationships. Let’s change our posture to: “I will choose to praise you Lord, for You are good, your love endures forever and your faithfulness continues.” (Psalm 100:5), regardless of if our finances are where we want them to be. Let’s say: “I will hope continually and praise you more and more.” (Psalm 71:14), even if we lose our job or worse, a loved one. Let’s stop doing things with a motive to glorify ourselves and instead choose to say: “I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.” (Psalm 86:12)