“What we all want in this life; to travel, fall in love, and be happy.” (Pinterest)

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints!
There is no want to those who fear Him.
The young lions lack and suffer hunger;
But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.” – Psalm 34:8-10

Happiness. It is the ultimate human goal; we strive, we stress, we struggle for it. The very thing that we think will bring us internal peace is the reason why we are unhappy. There is always something bigger, better, seemingly more fulfilling. Money, appearance, status, relationships, security…it’s a never-ending grocery list of “if only THIS…then I would be happy!”

But lately, I’ve been thinking about what happiness really is, and how TRUE happiness isn’t based on constantly shifting circumstances, but on obedience and seeking God (click here for an awesome sermon from this past Sunday at Harvest Bible Chapel, Rochester. Talk about wrecking me right now! Thank you Jesus.). Despite everything I have been through in my short life on this earth, every season brings another opportunity to choose God’s best, or to fight for my own version of happiness. It’s funny actually. Just when I think I’ve got this faith thing figured out, I’m thrown another curveball and swinging hard, praying I’ll come in contact and hit a home-run.

Happiness; even in the storm? Even when my heart is breaking? Even if I don’t know how I’m going to make ends meet? Even if I’m lonely, or exhausted, or afraid of all the “what ifs”? Even if I don’t have any control?

Yes. Exactly.

If you’ve been walking with Christ for a while, then you know that there isn’t a day that goes by 2439_wes_-_79when you aren’t faced with decisions about choosing to obey or choosing to follow your own will. There are no “5 Easy Steps to the Perfect Life” in following Jesus. It’s messy. It’s broken. It’s beautiful. And the way that God strengthens us in our faith through all the moments that we turn away from our will, our wants, our desires, and give Him complete authority and control, continually reminds us that we are not alone. We have a power within us that is beyond what “happiness” means to this finite, physical world.

The writer of Hebrews put it this way: “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” (12:28-29) Thankfulness in ALL circumstances because we realize that this is not our home. This world is temporary. TRUE happiness can only be found in Him. We fill ourselves with so many distractions, when the answer to fulfillment is Jesus. To follow hard after Him, no matter the cost. And to see the promised blessings of obedience. To see the goodness of the Lord.

When we finally surrender to His timing, His will, His perfect plan, perspective changes. Real peace untangles the anxiety and unrest in our hearts. And true happiness is found when we let go of what we think will make us happy, and embrace His plan for our lives.