Don’t mistake pleasure for happiness. They are a different breed of dogs.
~ Josh Billings
This week’s sermon contained the above quote, and I think it is appropriate even more today than when it was spoken. Many people in our Western culture are busy pursuing happiness. However, when you really look at most people, they haven’t found it. Do they really even know what it is?
I was listening to the radio when Ravi Zacharias was explaining how he pursued happiness through physical things. He thought if he got a degree, if he made money, etc. Well, he did those things. Yet, each time he reached his goal, he found instead of happiness that he was setting his next goal. He was filling his life with things and achievements, but he was not finding happiness until he surrendered it all and turned it over to Christ.
This runs so counter to our postmodern world. And yet, noted psychologists will tell you of studies where people seeking happiness were usually the least happy of people. Instead, the ones who were giving and seeking the welfare and wellbeing of others were the most happy.
There was a lot in this week’s sermon that hit me, especially right now. I’m going to a visitation today. I don’t know the person. It is a relative of a relative of a friend, actually. I am reminded of the theory of “Six degrees of separation”. Nothing we do truly is in a vacuum, unless we are a hermit.
In the end, though, we are dead and gone. What makes life worth living? I submit to you it isn’t happiness – at least not as the world views it.
This would be a good week to explore both happiness and self-worth. It would be a sort of therapy for me, I think. Perhaps I can share something that will help you as well.