According to the trending news feed on my Facebook page, today is supposed to be “International Day of Happiness”.
Since 2013, the United Nations has celebrated the International Day of Happiness as a way to recognise the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the world.
It is somewhat ironic for me that it falls on a day when I am NOT feeling happy.
My hubby is home sick – AGAIN. He has used up all his sick days and he is now quickly running out of vacation days. I am stressed because our finances are really being stretched at this point. The situation will become worse if my hubby runs out of vacation days and has to start losing paid days. The stress is making me anxious and the anxiety is making me grumpy and definitely UNhappy!
Now I am feeling self-condemnation because, as a Christian, am I not supposed to be “happy” at all times – despite my circumstances?
So I have decided to do a bit of research on the concept of “happiness”.
The online Merriam-Webster Dictionary gives the following simple definitions of “happy” and “happiness”:
: feeling pleasure and enjoyment because of your life, situation, etc.
: a state of well-being and contentment
Well, according to the dictionary, I may have some right to my current state of unhappiness as my “situation” is stressful which is not enabling me to live in a state of “well-being and contentment”.
But is that an accurate “truth”? The fact is that my current situation is stressful, but the whole truth is that, according to the Word of God, because I am a child of God, I should still be living in peace and contentment, regardless of circumstances.
Pro 16:20 … and whoever trusts in Jehovah, happy is he.
It is interesting to note that the 1828 edition of Webster’s Dictionary includes the following statement as part of the definition of “happy”:
The pleasurable sensations derived from the gratification of sensual appetites render a person temporarily happy; but he only can be esteemed really and permanently happy, who enjoys peace of mind in the favor of God.
Notice that the first part of the above statement says that happiness derived from gratifying “sensual appetites” (not meaning just sex but anything that pleases all of our five physical senses) only gives temporary happiness. True and permanent happiness comes from knowing God as a faithful, trustworthy, loving, merciful, gracious, compassionate, understanding and forgiving Heavenly Father.
I am a very emotional person and for me, happiness is an emotion based on circumstance rather than on a conscious state of being based on faith. I definitely need to work on that!
Having said that, I do believe that there are times when it is okay to be unhappy. Even the Bible says so!
Ecc 3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heavens: …
Ecc 3:4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
But I am going to try to work harder at feeling, if not “happy” in certain circumstances, then at least feeling more peaceful knowing that God is in control.
And I am going to review my previous post If You’re Happy and You Know It .
Wishing you much happiness on this International Day of Happiness. 🙂