I double tied my sneakers, threw my hair back into a ponytail, and grabbed my earphones. My eye caught the reflection I made in the mirror as I passed, and I hesitated for just a moment before moving in. I critiqued my body. “Ahh, I can’t wait till these workouts start showing some reward. Then I can look in the mirror and be happy with what I see.”
I’d resolved to start working out every day. (Again!) I told myself it was for the sake of healthy living. But in truth, I wanted happiness. And I had convinced myself that having the ideal body would bring it. Working out isn’t bad; it’s good! But there’s not a workout routine, stretch of track, or pair of sneakers great enough to grant me lasting happiness.
At the beginning of time, happiness was found in spending time with God. But in the Garden of Eden, Satan convinced Eve that she would not die even if she disobeyed God’s law. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:4–5).
He was offering her the chance to see how happy she would be in choosing her own way instead of God’s. When Eve sunk her teeth into that fruit, it was like the starting pistol of a race fired and a worldwide search began. From that moment, we’ve all been looking for something. I call it the Hunt for Happiness.
This hunt is completely exhausting. It’s an endless circle of looking to other people, things, even inside ourselves, searching for happiness. But the things around us are never enough, and desperation starts to kick in. We stop eating and obsess about exercising, or we flirt and flaunt to get that guy to give us attention. We spend hours at the mirror, trying to make ourselves look perfect. But no matter how hard we try, happiness escapes us.
God didn’t design us to be fulfilled by any earthly thing.
The situation may seem hopeless, but God has given us the solution. Although the world is on this constant hunt for happiness, God didn’t design us to be fulfilled by any earthly thing. We weren’t created to be happy because of our body, our boyfriend, or our stuff. God designed us to find our happiness in Him. But we’re so used to the hunt, we wonder, “How do I start?” Here are three things that can help in realigning your focus and finding true happiness in Jesus.
1. Compare, despair.
“Comparison is the thief of joy” Theodore Roosevelt said. And it’s true. When we compare ourselves to others, it’s a happiness thief. So next time we’re tempted to compare, let’s remind ourselves of the truth. Memorizing Scripture is a great way to do this. Here are some verses that might help:
2. Actively serve others (Mark 10:45).
Have you ever noticed how people who have a lifestyle of putting others first often seem more content and happy than those who are living for themselves? When we pour into other people’s lives, our own outlook becomes brighter.
3. Call off the hunt (2 Cor. 3:5).
When we pour into other people’s lives, our own outlook becomes brighter.
Daily surrender your desires to your Creator. His love is unending, and we can be fulfilled, content, and happy when our happiness is grounded in Christ. Reminding ourselves of the truth, serving those around us, and daily surrendering to Jesus are ways we can truly be content and happy, no matter what’s going on in our lives.
So what is it in your life that you’re tempted to find happiness in? Can you think of a time when you decided to find happiness and contentment in Jesus instead? I’d love to hear about it, so comment below!