Are you happy? We place so much weight on this simple little question. And everyone seems to have a different idea of what happiness means and how to get it. Many in our materialistic world define it as a big house, filled with plenty of 'toys', and then of course the bank account to buy more. Some may think happiness comes from having the job that pays the most. I don't know how many times I have seen articles highlighted on Yahoo about what jobs pay the most, or pay the worst so you can avoid those career paths.
I certainly haven't met everyone or done the proper research to give you statistics on this subject, but I have little doubt in my own mind that none of the things I listed bring much if any happiness. How can you be happy constantly trying to keep up with the newest and latest gadget, or working longer hours to get more money to buy all those 'things' that you believe will bring you happiness.
Usually at Christmas my husband and I spend just enough on each other for a few DVDs or books or shirts. Nothing too expensive is in our budget. But this past year we had a little extra, so since our anniversary is also during the holiday season, we spent a few hundred each on one another. I bought Jon a few items, one being quite a nice watch, he collects nice watches. That was my splurge as well as a very nice watch case- like a jewelry box but for up to 10 watches. He loved both and wears the watch often at church. Would he have been just as happy without it, yes. Now when shopping for me, I have a hard time giving Jon a 'frivolous' list of items I want just for me. Not something for the house, or for the kids or for Jon, just something for me to have a little fun with. I had a few Disney figurines on my wish list that I had been pining for, but Jon wanted something I could use and have fun with, not something that would sit somewhere collecting dust. He bought me a Nintendo DS. For the first few weeks, I played it and enjoyed it quite a lot. I was 'happy' with this gift, or so I thought. It wasn't long before I lost interest in it between taking care of the household as well as the children, I just had better things to do with my time. So this gift has ended up collecting dust just as a figurine would have.
Temporarily, the gift made me smile, it was fun and I enjoyed it. Ultimately though, it faded away, it became outdated as a newer better version was released. I lost interest in it because it wasn't important enough to hold me. That is what so many of us place our happiness in. Happiness itself is not a lasting emotion. It comes and it goes. We may be thrilled to be able to buy the newest gadget at the store but shortly after we get home there is something bigger (or smaller now a days) and better out there, and our shiny new toy begins to dull in light of something even better.
Being happy is good. I want my children to be happy, I want my family to be a happy one, but more then happiness, I want them all to have joy. Happiness may come and go, it may fade away, but true joy is everlasting. True joy is a gift only God can give.
My joy in Him never fades. While I may set aside a Christmas gift and find better things to do, there is nothing greater then the gift God has given me. Nothing can be more important then Him. No other gift in this entire world is greater. There is no newer better version to go out and get, God is unchanging, as is His love for me. He will never take away His gift, it can't be stolen or broken. What more could I want? Even when I am not happy, things are just not going my way, I will still have my eternal gift from God that brings me joy always.
In answer to my own question, I am very happy at the moment. My life is good, God has blessed us with a good home, a wonderful church and amazing friends. How could I not be happy?! But I know something may happen at any moment to steal my happiness away, Satan is always looking for his chance to drag me down. But I am not worried about it, because he can take my happiness, but he can never steal my joy.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~Romans 6:23
Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow shifting. ~James 1:17
"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never persih; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand." ~ Jesus, John 10:27-29
So here is my question for you, are you happy or are you joyful? Do you want a gift that will fade away or the one that is eternal?