Is It Possible to Be Truly Happy?
If there's one thing everyone in the world wants, it's to be content, to feel like life is good. So why does it seem so hard to find real happiness?
To get some answers, we talked with a group of high school students. Here's what they had to say.
IYF: Let's start with the most basic questions: What does it mean to be content? How do we try to find real happiness?
Kristin: A lot of people think happiness is money.
Elizabeth: Sometimes I think material things will make me happy. Then I do a reality check. I realize the thing might make me happy for a little while, but what's it really gonna bring me—one more outfit, one more mile in a new car? It's not gonna get me any closer to heaven, it's not gonna get me pure contentment in Christ. It's going to give me happiness on earth, which means nothing in the whole scheme of things.
Mark: Things do make me happy, and I like to be happy. But then I have to look at what it says in Psalm 119:35-37: "Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word." That part about "turn my eyes away from worthless things" always hits me. Some of the desires of our hearts are so worthless.
So even though we know better, we still fall into traps that tell us happiness can be found in "worthless things." Why is that?
Elizabeth: Because we're sinful. We are in this world. We're not of the world, but we do have a sinful nature, and those temptations can bring us down.
Kristin: I think the reason we fall into those traps is because we want everything fast and our way. We can't wait around and trust God's timing. We need it now.
Rebecca: And in God's mind, time doesn't really exist. So for us, waiting three months for an answer to prayer seems like forever. But to God, the right thing happens when we are ready for it.
Elizabeth: Some people want an easy life, smooth sailing all the way. They think that's happiness.
Tim: Other people seek out success to make them happy. But I think true happiness is being in Christ. If you're looking toward Christ, then you can find happiness. But if you're looking elsewhere, you're never going to be happy for long.
Rebecca: People who don't know the Lord search for contentment their whole lives. And, yeah, they'll have happy moments, but they won't be content all the time. They won't feel like they can be happy no matter what happens. They don't have the confidence that God has put them in a situation for a reason. But as a Christian, you can be content even when things are tough, even when you're going through trials. You know you have a hope and salvation in the Lord.
Have any of you experienced that—finding contentment during a difficult time?
Dan: Some of us are dealing with that right now. A good friend of ours, Mike, was in a bad car accident last week.