Happiness can seem terribly elusive. We may think we have all the ingredients for it on hand -- all the right places, people, and circumstances. Yet things still don't always work out quite as well as we think they should.
But does happiness really come through combinations of people and events? Is happiness something we find "out there"? Or is it a quality that we carry around in our own way of looking at things?
Happiness is so closely related to spiritual ideas such as goodness, truth, and wholeness, that it seems reasonable to believe it is from the same source. And there can be no mistaking that source -- God. "Happiness is spiritual, born of Truth and Love," n1 writes Mary Baker Eddy, the Disvoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
n1 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 57
We can see that happiness is not something brought to us, but a quality we reflect by reason of who we really are. Joy is an attribute of God that He expresses in His perfect idea, man.
As we begin to understand this, we can learn to be deeply, spiritually happy even when circumstances or our own superficial moods tempt us with their ups and downs. But this requires effort, perhaps more than we've been giving.
What kind of effort?
"Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am," Christ Jesus said after he had washed his disciples' feet. "If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. . . . If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." n2
Jesus links the divine idea of love for others to happiness.And we can do the same. Try doing something practical for someone when you are feeling unhappy. Walk into a room -- your kitchen, your office, a classroom -- and you'll probably find an opportunity to help (in a natural, unobtrusive way) someone in that room.
Why can helping another make us happy? Well, why are we unhappy in the first place? Often it's because we feel a bit negative about ourselves; perhaps something has happened that has not drawn out the best in us.When we are impelled by God to help another, we see evidence of goodness. We see ourselves acting true to the pattern after which our real identity is created -- "born of Truth and Love." We are identifying ourselves with our true source, God, so naturally we will express what is coming from that divine source, including happiness.
So much for the short run. How about the long run? If service to a fellow being can bring happiness in one instance, then the basis of such service -- service to God -- can illumine the deep and lasting happiness that is fundamental to all true being. It can make the road ahead brighter and brighter.
What does it mean to serve God? It doesn't mean we have to drop all our activities and run off to worship the creator in some distant place. But it will no doubt mean other changes -- motives made purer perhaps, stronger habits of telling the truth to ourselves and others, or a softer, warmer heart.
Commitment is a key to serving God. After all, we are "born of Truth and Love." When we commit our hearts to the love of God that was so abundant in Jesus' life, then we are placing ourselves in God's service. We begin viewing each approaching event in our lives, large or small, as an opportunity to prove His love for us -- and to show our commitment to Him.
How does this ensure happiness? Simply because in the service of God there are only opportunities, no hopelessly heavy burdens. "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me," spoke Jesus.And he added, "For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." n3
n3 Matthew 11:29, 30.
For you and me there is important and sometimes difficult work to be done. But the yoke is is easy, the burden, light. Happiness? It's guaranteed! It may show itself in a smiling face but, more important, it is always felt in deep , inner purpose and satisfaction. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord. Nehemiah 8:10