Happy, happy, happy

We Americans place a high priority on being happy.  We excuse bad moods, we justify broken relationships, we allow for all sorts of behaviors by saying we just aren’t happy. We are sure that being unhappy is the worst possible state to be in.

But what does it mean to be happy? To get what we want? To have lots of money? Friends? Our Christmas list all checked off?

I propose that the word “happy” has come to mean something unattainable. For many of us, it is a feeling that cannot be permanent because it is based on circumstances.

Paul, on the other hand, writes to the Philippians that he has learned to be content in all circumstances. Not “happy” but content. And not “when everything is going well” but “in all circumstances.” He writes this from prison! How can he be content, even in prison?

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” he says.

This is the secret to happiness: contentment. No matter the circumstances. How? By choosing to draw strength from Christ. By choosing to draw on his strength in our weakness. By choosing to focus on the unchanging, all-perfect God rather than our ever-changing moods and situations.

So forget “Happy, happy, happy” (no offense, Phil). Let’s be “Content, content, content.”

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