Happiness is not the absence of pain, but rather the presence of God (Robert Schuler)
I measured happiness a couple of years ago according to how far my career goals have been achieved, and if I thought I was successful in juggling family life and job without letting anything drop at any given time. God’s presence and even considering the health of my spiritual life did not feature and wasn’t a priority in my classification of happiness even though I claimed to be a Christian.
This week however I realised with a shock that I don’t think I ever was really happy in that period of my life. Yes, there may have been short times of happiness but if I think back to that time I remember a huge amount of stress, rushing from place to place and a continuous fear that I won’t be able to keep up with the goals I have set for myself.
A lot has happened in the last couple of years and my life as I knew it has changed dramatically, mostly because at some stage during this quest for worldly ‘happiness’ I realised that something was missing. Even though I was very successful in achieving my goals there was no lasting joy and peace in it. In actual fact it felt like my life was spiralling out of control. I know now that the missing piece was God’s continuous presence in my life, to submit to Him and to allow Him to take control even though the Lord’s plans are not necessarily the same as my original ones.
Fears, pain and stress we have and still do experience, but it is truly an amazing feeling to know that I don’t have to try and cope with it all by myself. This morning as we were sitting together as a family having our breakfast I realised that happiness is that peace and a joy that is experienced even though you are in the midst of one or other crisis.
Long lasting happiness is never going to be achieved through career, money or recognition. It really can only be found when we live our lives in the presence of our God, making Him our Rock and Foundation so that when the waves come crashing down around us, and they will, we know that God is in control.