I used to think happiness was a finish line I would cross, as if I was running a marathon and then one day BOOM! I could enjoy life.
I remember being in high school and thinking, “okay, once I graduate and start a new life, I will be happy.” Then it turned into a series of years thinking the same thoughts over and over:
“Once I am done college and get a job, then I’ll be happy.”
“Once the interview process is over, and I’m hired, I’ll be happy.”
“Once I move to a different job with a new environment, I’ll be happy.”
“Once I have my dream career, then I’ll be happy.”
“Once I get married and have a family, THEN I’ll be happy.”
The same narrative, and no permanent result. Happiness would come and go.
However, with time, I’ve come to realize that, indeed, I’m running a marathon. But this one doesn’t have a finish line or even checkpoints for that matter. The reason for this is because happiness is a daily choice. Circumstances (like having a dream job, or marrying prince charming) could definitely allow the emotion of happiness to be present. Still, it does not guarantee that this emotion will be the only one you feel. Yet, it’s easy to believe, because these things are desirable. So is a chocolate bar, but if you eat 50, you may start to feel the opposite of happiness.
A person can end up diminishing the beauty of all of these circumstances (college, work, marriage) by putting too much pressure on them to determine their happiness.
A person has to shift their focus and realize that you are the one who determines your happiness. Not your circumstances, not other people, but YOU. It’s you that has to fill your happiness meter. With that said, that doesn’t mean that ‘things’ will make you happy either. Yes, a cup of coffee and a vacation might make you happy, but that’s all temporary, and once that cup of coffee is empty and that vacation is over, you’ll be back to square one. Therefore, you have to CHOOSE to FIND happiness, no matter what your circumstances, because life is life and you can’t drink coffee or be on vacation 24/7. You can find happiness, even in negative circumstances, when you choose to replace a bad feeling into a grateful feeling instead. For example, the job you dread everyday is not easy to go to, but it is a blessing because it will put food on your table.
Flip the script. Don’t give circumstances the power to determine your happiness. YOU have the power to determine your happiness. And like I said, there is no finish line. You will have to choose it day in and day out for the rest of your life. And you don’t have to do this alone; God gives us the gift of joy- which is even better than happiness. Joy allows us to rest in faith that, despite circumstances, we can rejoice, “…for the joy of the Lord is your strength” Nehemiah 8:10.
Sending you hugs and happiness your way!
- Jess 🙂
📷 by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash