Going After Happy

“Be done with feeling guilty for what you want.” Danielle LaPorte

What do you want? What do you really, really, with-all-your-heart want? What’s that one thing that feels too big, but won’t go away? Think. Where does your mind wander?

For a long time, I wanted to be happy. I wanted to be the type of happy I saw around me but couldn’t feel. Happiness looked simple, attainable, easy. But it wasn’t. Not for me. Happiness was big and selfish and wrong. I wanted it anyway.

Growing up in the church, there was a mysterious distinction between joy and happiness–one I never understood. “Joy is something entirely different from happiness.” I’d learned. “Joy, in the Biblical context, is not an emotion… There is a big difference between joy and happiness. Happiness is an emotion and temporary; joy is an attitude of the heart.”* Somehow the differences became biblical. Joy was better. Joy is better. Happiness became the feeling I didn’t want to want. 

I pretended emotions weren’t important. There are “bigger things” to worry about. We can’t all be happy. Happiness isn’t necessary. It couldn’t be. Right? But here’s the thing. IT WAS. It was essential. It was fucking life changing. Happiness was the gateway desire to my deep-down feelings.

As I started to think, How can I be happy? The deep-down feelings surfaced. I began realizing I wanted to be loved, and to love. I wanted to connect. I wanted to travel and breathe and dance and be. I wanted to feel safe. And I wanted to be known. And these things–I knew–would make me happy.

I was right.

Discovering my emotions became the catalyst for the life I wanted. Happiness doesn’t feel selfish anymore, it feels possible.

And I think that’s what a miracle looks like.

 

*From Is There a Biblical Difference Between Happiness and Joy? by Randy Alcorn