What Makes You Happy?

I have rejoiced in your laws as much as in riches. I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways.  I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word.
Psalm 119:14-16
While researching the Internet for an upcoming blog on optimism, I encountered numerous sites that summed up several studies about what makes people happy.  See how many of these resonate with you:
  • Connections to family
  • Close relationships
  • Good health
  • Generous people; giving to others
  • Being engaged in some type of meaningful work
  • Forgiveness
  • Faith
  • Exercise
  • Interactions with pets
  • Attitudes of gratitude

As I reviewed these findings, I realized that quite a few of the items were ones that God would be pleased with too since many are directly related to our relationship with Him as well as the people and experiences He has created for us to enjoy.  Indeed, Scripture confirms that when our connection with the Lord is strong, we can’t help but discover a true, lasting joy in the process.  Look at this section of Psalm 119 to see what I mean:

Joyful are people of integrity,
who follow the instructions of the Lord. 

Joyful are those who obey His laws and
search for Him with all their hearts.
(verses 1&2)

The message found in these two verses seems counter-intuitive to much of what we find in our current culture.  In fact, the “me” focus of a few decades ago has transformed into a “whatever works for you” mentality.  Today, morals are questioned, social mores morph by the minute, and faith-based thinking seems way off base to many.

Yet these time-tested truths the psalmist shared transcend what may be trending on social media.  Consider these facts shared in this section of Psalms for a minute.  Has following God’s guidelines for great living helped you—or not?  When you’ve felt close to the Lord, did your life seem better—or worse?

And when we consider that list of top items that make people happy, wouldn’t many of them be more uplifting if the Lord was integrally involved?  For instance, how would our experiences with family, friends, co-workers, and community members be if we interacted with one another according to Biblical principles?  Might work be more meaningful—would we be more thankful—could we forgive more freely—if we had God’s assistance?

Summer is a perfect season for reflection, so I encourage you to think about what truly makes you happy.  Remember, God has great plans for you—and being joyful is part of that!  So, contemplate all the good things you’ve got in your life right now.  Make plans for fun, joy-filled activities in the days ahead—and include lots of family and friends so they can be encouraged too.  And, most of all, be sure to set aside time to focus on the One who makes life possible and would love to be part of your joyful journey here on Planet Earth!

Thought of the Month

May all who fear you find in me a cause for joy, for I have put my hope in your word.
Psalm 119:74