This post was originally posted on Sept 15, 2014. It has somehow disappeared through some website changes and so I am posting it again. New post coming this week and I wanted to refer to this similar writing.
Where does your source of happiness come from? Don’t give a cliche answer… really think about it. What makes you feel happy? If I’m being honest here (and hey, isn’t that what’s the site is all about?) I would tell you that for a long time my happiness would come from what other people thought about me. Even though I was a Christian, I regularly allowed what others thought of me to control my happiness. [Side note: Being a Christian doesn’t eliminate you from struggles or sin, although I used to believe that it did. Having the false impression that a Christian wasn’t suppose to sin or “screw up” made me live in denial and continuous sin without hope or help.]
This is what searching for happiness in others looked like for me: I was constantly seeking approval from others. It would vary from my husband, children, parents (yes – even as a grown-up), clients, and friends. I told myself that I was trying to make them happy – trying to be good to them. But what I was really doing was seeking their approval of me. If I could make them feel good – give them something good, they would think highly of me. Again, I told myself that it just made me feel good to do good for others. The problem was that my [honest] source of drive/motivation was coming from the need to feel loved and accepted. No doubt, this is a need we all have.
I wasn’t only seeking others approval of me by doing things for them, I was analyzing the way others talked to me, treated me, how often they called me/texted me, asked me to do something. Shew, how exhausting. Exhausting to think about and exhausting emotionally. Having my happiness level going up and down so often can wear a person out.
Depending on others to satisfy your happiness level is a lot of pressure for the other person. People were not created to satisfy others need to feel loved. That hole in us is created by God so that we would fill it with Him.
Although I have not mastered this (nor anything of the like) area of my life, and although it has taken me, gulp, 39 years to get to this point, I have found and embraced my true source of happiness. Jesus Christ. When I truly rely on him to fill that need in me my stress decreases. My satisfaction and contentment increase.
There is no pressure to perform. No pressure to make someone else feel good. No pressure to be perfect. Without all of this pressure it frees me up to do what Christ calls me to do. He loves me regardless of or in spite of me. This freedom stirs up my desire to do good from love. Because of love.
Where does your source of happiness come from? Where does your motivation come from to do good? I challenge you to honestly search this in your soul and find true freedom in Christ. If you are looking for a resource, I recommend Let Hope In by Pete Wilson and the study Freeway by POTSC.