How to be happy

There’s no guarantee of happiness.

“Wait—but I thought I was going to be reading about how to be happy?” you say, “And I’d like you to give me back the energy I just expended clicking on your post.”

I’ll send some via e-mail, if you shoot me one first. (But you’ll have to cover e-mail s&h energy yourself.)

Life goes sideways, and fast. Many times in my few short decades I’ve found myself flipping over the handle bars and in that slow-motion moment thinking, “Damn. This is going to hurt.”

The secret isn’t in knowing how to always be happy. You won’t be. You can’t be.

Happiness is about knowing the final outcome.

And only one thing in all of human experience promises a perfect ending—faith in Jesus and forever life with him.

“That’s fair enough for you to say, if you buy into that stuff. False hope I guess is a kind of hope,” I hear some of you saying, “but the first mention of that spiritual stuff is where I sign off.”

But hang on a sec—it’s true, but not only that, it’s truly hopeful.

If it were up to me to create my own happiness I’d end up in one of three places: extremely selfish, surfacely ignoring the hurts of the world and smugly assertive while being hopelessly aware of how sideways my life and everything else was going; or, humble as a doormat and miserably depressed about my own failures, shortcomings and lamenting how life just wasn’t fair for…pretty much everyone; or, at some uncomfortable and uneasy spot in the middle, never being quite sure where it’s all going or why anything matters.

Luckily it’s not up to me. It’s not up to you. It’s not up to the efforts of anyone, except for one man, Jesus. Luckily for us we’re living in an age where he has already come and done the work and we have the opportunity to hear about it, welcome it and live by his life.

What does that mean, to “live by his life” and how does that make us happy?

It’s not about doing. It’s about being.

The fear of what might happen next and just-what-am-I-supposed-to-do-about-it is the biggest killer of happiness. Fear of an unknown future robs our peace, gnaws at our nerves, and holds us hostage to ever stepping out into green pastures by quiet waters. Without an assurance of the final score, we’re just wandering along, hoping to catch our own sort of happiness and hang on as long as we can before it dissipates and we’re left searching for the next oasis of comfort and emotional security.

When we focus on simply the state of being in right relationship with our creator by relying on what Jesus has already done, it no longer matters what happens in life. We can be “content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

Life with Jesus means simply living by the thought that his life and work takes the place of your life and work. At that thought there’s no longer anything to do. No ten steps to follow. No qi to absorb. It all comes down to one solid truth:

In the end it’s all going to be ok.

This is one of the most freeing thoughts that can occupy your mind. I challenge you to dwell on this for awhile. Meditate on it. Close your computer, walk outside, look up at the sky and say to yourself:

No matter what happens, it’s all going to be ok.

Living in this truth melts the outer crust of our timidity. It allows us to be happy with situations, with people, with life.

That’s what happiness is. Happiness is the freedom to feel all things and go through all things and to know that it’s all going to be ok. Happiness is allowing yourself to go to the places where all emotions lie and all circumstances dwell and to know that nothing can happen that will change your final outcome.

It allows you to live boldly, love deeply, laugh timbrously, and enjoy thoroughly. It allows you to cry when you mourn, to pray when you hurt and to fall on your knees in those crushing times. God is there in it all, is with you through it all, and no matter what happens in this life, is there at the end to welcome you home.

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