Happiness…goodness that’s a bit of a deep topic. I’ve had a whirlwind of thoughts up in my head lately about happiness, and just last night they seemed to be actually making some progress in a definite direction, so I thought I’d maybe take the time this lovely, rainy, Sunday morning to try to make sense of them all.
I am the owner of a little yellow, square magnet that was given to me as part of a graduation gift. In the absence of a magnet board in my current room, the little square sits propped up against a jewelry box on my headboard. On that little square is a quote that always seems to be relevant to whatever life-season I’m in: “You do not find the happy life. You make it.” -Camilla Eyring Kimball
I feel like at this point in time in my life, I am so crazy happy. Everything seems just about perfect, and I’m sort of sitting at the edge of my seat, almost unsure if I’m okay to settle in or not, almost wondering if it is too good to be true. I’m significantly optimistic about life, so I’m not really doubting the substance of the happiness, but it’s more of a “Holy cow, is this real? Everything is so amazing! What happened?” In some ways, I feel as if I’ve just randomly found the happy life. I’ve stumbled onto it through what seems to have been a not-quite-blind, mostly faith-filled search for light. And that search has brought me here. And I love it.
But then on the other hand, a person can’t just blindly stumble around and expect to find happiness. Like I just said about two sentences ago, it’s a search – a conscious, calculated, guided search at that. As I look back on the past few years, it’s crazy to see how every tiny little thing has added up. I can say that I’m just living my life, but then when I think about it, that almost suggests a passive motion through this existence. It almost seems more accurate to say that I’m building this life. I’ve built this life. Am I allowed to say that I am proud of it? I look around me every day and try to take stock of my blessings and I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude that somewhere along the line I must’ve gotten something right. That sense of gratitude is coupled with a huge appreciation for all of the amazing people I’ve been blessed to know and learn from as I’ve grown up and found my way. And there’s no way I could leave Heavenly Father out of the picture – I’m beyond humbled that I am able to be so blessed. I know for a fact that I have been guided by Him, and He is the real builder behind the scenes.
I’m no expert on happiness, but I would venture to say that it’s a gradual journey. And it will always be a struggle of choice. You choose happiness, whether directly choosing to be in a happy mindset, or by making small choices taking you in what seems to be the overall right direction. Happiness doesn’t just happen randomly. The happy life is a calculated one. Happiness is a choice.
And then there’s the question, “What is happiness, even?” Sometimes I wonder that to myself – I guess I’m happy, right? This is happiness, right? This happiness thing has become much more real to me over the past few weeks. It’s probably different for everyone, and it’s far from being a concrete concept, but here’s what it is to me. Happiness is peace, and calm. It’s a pervading sense of light throughout every day – a sense of light that cuts through occasional negative thoughts and feelings of inadequacy. Happiness is assurance – assurance of the present and the future – that although they won’t always be perfectly perfect, there will be joy in the midst of the occasional clouds. And for me, happiness is the gospel of Christ. Everything that the gospel stands for and speaks of and promises is happiness. The gospel is my ultimate source of light. There is no way in the entire universe that I would be where I am today, sitting in my little apartment, typing some random words and grasping at the meaning of happiness if I didn’t have the gospel. One of the many, many things that I love about BYU is that here everything is taught with a purpose, and that the role of God’s power is able to be discussed in every class, no matter the subject.The hand of the Lord is everywhere. Nothing just happens randomly.
Knowing that every single one of my blessings – every single amazingly delightful thing – came from Heavenly Father fills me with gratitude. I think that the knowledge that you aren’t alone, and that there’s an omnipotent, loving being out there that wants to bless you as much as He possibly can, brings happiness. It wouldn’t be quite the same if you had to do it all alone – if everything you’ve earned in this life was just from your own power. How unsatisfying would that be?
So today I’m full of gratitude. I’m so grateful to my Father in Heaven, first and foremost. Everything that I have stems from Him. He keeps his promises. I’m beyond grateful for Christ, and for all that He did for me. I’m grateful to those that have gone before me that have made it possible for me to be where I am today. I’m grateful for my parents, and my church leaders, and my friends, and for the scriptures, and for music. Slowly, with help from so many sources, I’m beginning to think that I have made the happy life. Or, more correctly, I’m making it – I’m not done yet I know that there are blessings in obedience. Obedience brings happiness, as does reliance on Heavenly Father. And ultimately, the gospel is the place to make the happy life.
I hope you have a beautiful Sunday!
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