The other day I was in a store. As I walked past the lingerie, one in particular. It made me stop and think. It was not provocative or skimpy something that would turn heads. It was what was printed on the nightie that bothered me. It said, “Do what makes you happy.”
I know most of you who are reading this will think, “What’s so wrong with that?” Well, first, “happiness” is relative. Happiness, not a one size fits all thing. For example, I love running, it makes me happy. You, on the other hand, might hate exercise of any kind so it would not make you happy. “That’s not necessarily a problem,” You might say. And you are right, it might not be a problem. But consider this; I live in town, and my son is quite noisy in the morning. However, he is happiest when he is loudly talking to himself outside. If he did what made him happy, my neighbors would all be awake at 7:00 a.m. with him. Call me crazy, but I am willing to bet that my neighbors do not want him to do what makes him happy. There are many other instances where doing what makes me happy would be the worst thing in the world. If someone cuts me off in traffic and what would make me happy is to ram the back of their car then maybe I should reconsider doing what makes me happy. I don’t need to go on; you get the point.
Am I saying that we should not be happy? By no means! We should have and live life to the fullest. I am suggesting that happiness is a choice. I can choose to be happy or not happy in any circumstance life throws at me. I can elect to consider those around me when deciding what will make me happy. The absolute best example of wanting others happiness and not his own is the example of Christ; when he was hanging between heaven and hell. We would say that there is no way he could be happy suffering in that manner. The writer of Hebrews said, “For the joy set before him he endured the cross …” It seems that what brought Jesus happiness was suffering so that we could be brought near to him.
Perhaps the same is true for us also. When we consider the happiness of others as of greater value than our happiness, then our definition of happiness changes also. We find happiness and even, dare I say it, joy in considering the needs of others as more important than our needs. So even though my son would be happy to go outside and talk very loudly at 7 in the morning. I do not let him because I know my neighbors would rather sleep a little longer, that and I don’t want any rocks thrown at my house. Jus’ sayin’