‘I just want to be happy’ reflects how we live our lives

| May 27, 2016 | 0 Comments
Todd

Todd

Chaplain (Capt.) Jonathan D. Todd
325th Brigade Support Battalion
3rd Brigade Combat Team
25th Infantry Division

 

“I just want to be happy.” Have you ever heard a phrase like this?

When it comes to a person’s goals or what is desired in their life, the idea of happiness comes to the surface quite often. But what does “happy” mean?

 

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” — Aristotle

 

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” — Mahatma Gandhi

 

Seeking and finding happiness is part of the human experience and is therefore inherently important in how we choose to live our lives.

The framers of our government recognized this fact when they captured the pursuit of happiness as one of three unalienable rights in the Declaration of Independence. How we choose to define “happiness” in our lives, however, is up to us.

In the military, many decisions are made for us, but where we invest our personal time and energy, who we build relationships with, what we choose to believe in, these decisions are ours alone.

I recently asked a number of people to describe what happiness means to them. I found two schools of thought. One centered on relationships and connected happiness to long-term goals or the welfare of others (healthy children, happy wife/husband, retirement plans). The other focused on immediate gain (winning the lottery, instantly being famous). Both, however, are connected with a choice, a decision that results in an action. A healthy marriage requires relational work. Winning the lottery requires buying a ticket.

How do we find happiness? One way is to invest in short-term immediate satisfaction and hope for the best. This almost always leads to a let-down. For example, look at these:

 

  • Drunkenness = bad decisions.
  • Gambling = loss of wealth.
  • Overeating = poor health.

 

We can also invest into long-term healthy goals with a much better success rate:

 

  • Time with spouse = relationship growth.
  • Retirement planning = fiscal security.
  • Heathy diet = healthy body.

 

This same principle applies to our spiritual happiness. By investing ourselves into a healthy relationship with God, we grow and develop spiritually. This growth is directly related to the amount and quality of time and energy we choose to invest. Our spiritual health and happiness, however, are special because they directly impact how happy we are with our lives overall. Spirituality is foundational to overall well-being.

Developing spirituality doesn’t require advanced schooling, ritualistic practices or living a perfect life. It requires only that we invest our time and energy into our relationship with God.

We do this by setting aside unhealthy and destructive practices and instead embrace long-term, healthy habits. Time in prayer, meditation, fasting, communion and study of the scriptures, these and more are all ways to grow.

This week, I encourage each of us to look inward. If we want to be happier, let’s start with investing our time and energy in our spirituality.

The choice is yours. What will you do?

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Category: Footsteps in Faith, News

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