Christians don’t throw around the word “happy” too often. We are cautious of that word because we think it sounds earthly, temporal, and fleeting. We much prefer the word “joy.” Joy is of God. Joy is rooted in something more than a mere mood or a passing event. In fact, the joy of the Lord is our strength, so says the Bible.
But, I’ve been wondering lately, is it so bad to just want to be happy? I mean happiness is still cool right? It’s okay for Christians to be happy, isn’t it? Personally, I’d take a big ‘ol plate of happiness any day of the week.
Filling up your life with things that make you happy is healthy, and yet I know some Christians for whom this is especially difficult. They operate under the belief that God alone is suppose to make you happy…and nothing else. Happiness, they believe, should come from Him and nowhere else.
Is it sacrilegious for me to say that I disagree with that statement? God says we shall worship no other god. I’m all for that commandment but does that mean that God is to be the sole source of our happiness? Can we find happiness elsewhere?
Dennis Prager, my daily sage, says that God is certainly necessary, but not sufficient to supply all of our happiness. God Himself said, “It is not good for man to be alone.”
He did not create one man and then leave him to walk through the garden alone for very long. Adam needed Eve. God saw this and supplied his need, not by more of His Holy presence, but in the form of a woman (women=happiness. I’m just sayin’…)
Prager puts it this way:
“However, as necessary as faith in God is for our ethics, our emotional and psychological well being, our sense of purpose, and our ability to stand firm in a world that pulls us in every direction, God is not enough. We also need people.”
Relationship and intimacy is what God created us to experience with Himself, but also with others. It is our relationships that in many ways provide us with comfort, counsel, hope, laughter, compassion. It is a friend calling just to say hi, a kind word, a hug, an affirmation that you are loved.
I cannot imagine having gone through life without those friends and family with whom I have been able to celebrate the big stuff, laugh over the funny stuff, and cry over the sad stuff.
People, however, don’t only need other people. We also need God, beyond measure. Prager points out that “Many theists and many atheists are so committed to their respective worldviews that they cannot entertain the thought that their belief does not answer all human needs.”
Humanists would argue we only need people. The religious argue we should only need God. The truth is we need both.
I would go one step further and suggest that we need not only God and others to supply us with happiness, but we also need things. That’s right–things. Now, I’m not suggesting we need more stuff. Americans, especially, have plenty of stuff, but we do need other things that can contribute to our daily happiness.
What makes you smile? What geeks you out, over-joys you, gets you jumping up and down? A hobby, an interest? For me, it’s politics, design blogs, serving, fashion, film, discipling, food, travel, this blog. These are just some of the things that bring me great happiness.
And the truth is, I need God, people, and outward interests to help bring me complete happiness. My joy, however rocky it may be at times is rooted in Chris yes, but my daily happiness comes from many places. I am so thankful to God that in His wisdom He created us to crave connectedness and closeness with others and to delight in the pleasures to be found in life. In doing so we gain a happier more fulfilling life and that I believe makes God happy, as well.
Do you think God is enough for happiness? Do relationships supply you with happiness as well? What else, besides God brings you happiness?