What Makes You Happy?

It’s not necessarily a bigger house, more money or a new job

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Posted in , May 23, 2016

How faith, generosity and spiritual habits lead to true happiness.

During my recent vacation I decided to read Searching for Happiness: How Generosity, Faith and Other Spiritual Habits Lead to a Fuller Life by Martin Thielen. At first I was hesitant, given the title and subject matter, but the more I read the more the topic drew me in.

Thielen uses Scripture, science and personal experiences to remind us that happiness doesn’t come from material items or external circumstances, that true contentment comes from within.

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Thielen believes that if he were to survey Americans and ask “what would make you happy?” the participants would list the following:

  • Find a better job.
     
  • Make more money.
     
  • Own a nicer house.
     
  • Have a more loving partner.
     
  • Lose a lot of weight.
     
  • Have a child.
     
  • Be more physically attractive.
     
  • Be prominent member of the community.
     
  • Inherit a large estate.

Most of the listed things are external. This is not to say that external things such as a better job, more money, children and a loving partner are not important. Having these things does matter. But do they make us happy?

Research indicates that circumstances only add up to 10% of our happiness and material things can bring happiness, but it’s short lived.

Contentment and happiness come from within. It is “an inside job.”

The author of Ecclesiastes accumulated wealth, knowledge, dabbled in pleasure and built an empire, said, “all was vanity…a chasing after wind.” At the end of reflecting on his life, he concluded, “Fear God. Do what He tells you.”

Fear doesn’t mean being scared of God, but acknowledging His presence in all that we do. It means if we nurture our spiritual well-being and stay connected to the source of contentment and joy, we will discover the true meaning of happiness.

Read More: 3 Ways to Strengthen Your Prayer Life

What makes you happy? Please share with us.

God, help us to discover that happiness in “an inside job.” 

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