Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Truth About Happiness by, Heidi Avery

I did not grow up in the happiest of homes. There were some happy times of course, but overall we did not rank high on the happy-meter. I discovered at a young age that my dad was not my biological father which at the very least explained the rocky relationship that he and I sustained. My parents struggled terribly in their marriage as well. Some of their troubles were due to the strained relationship between me and my dad. I have no memory of them being happy… no holding hands, no kissing or loving each other in any way. I do remember the bitterness that lived in my mom’s aflicted face and the hurt and hate that echoed through my dad’s words. Eventually their marriage came to a very sad and ugly end. Our family of four split right down the middle; my sister staying loyally behind with my dad and I eagerly escaped with my mom.

Needless to say, I grew up with some strong misconceptions about happiness. I thought I deserved it. I wanted it for myself and I knew it wasn’t going to just envelope my life without some work on my part. So, as a young adult I set out to get all the happy that I had coming to me. A personalized happiness checklist began to mentally take shape…

Job P
Friends P
Husband P
Baby P
But with each new phase of life that I encountered another make-me-happy-task would mysteriously write itself on the list…
Home owner P
Stay-at-home mom P
Travel P
Another baby P
It never seemed to stop and with all that I thought I ever wanted or needed and much more it still did not = happiness.

Happy times… yes, but happiness… no.

Even though I was a newly saved person and God was on my happy little check list I just kept moving ahead with my plans and my unhappiness just kept resurfacing. I couldn’t figure it out and as rifled through all the reasons why I thought I should be happy I became more and more frustrated. I began to pray. And as I searched His Word for answers I divinely collided with the hard truth about happiness.
Much like love or any other fiery emotion it manifests itself as an aggressive feeling. Something triggers it to go off and as long as whatever set it off maintains itself the feeling of happiness lives on. But when your trigger is an earthly thing or a worldly status it will faithfully leave you stranded and wanting more.
Galatians 2:20 says…

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

That says I live by “faith” not by happiness. In Christ I will be satisfied. It’s not happiness, it’s Joy. And it’s not an emotional feeling; it’s a lovely by product of my increasing faith in God. It can only truly come from the hope that I have in Him. The bible never says that we deserve happiness. What we deserve is nothing. What we deserve is death. But because of what Jesus did we have life. Isn’t that enough?
Psalm 16:11 says…
You will show me the way of life,
granting me the joy of your presence
and the pleasures of living with you forever.

I trust Him. When I put my faith in Jesus He will lead my every step and the result for me is the Joy of His presence along the way. He is my Pleasure and my Hope and there is nothing sweeter than His love for me.
Now, will He bless me with circumstances and things here in this world that will bring me happiness? Of course! But I must never forget that they are fleeting and that they are nothing compared to the Joy I have in Jesus… it lasts forever.

The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.

Isaiah 40:8

This post was written in response to Bonnie Gray's Faith Barista Jam. Would you like to take the Thursday Faith Barista Challenge? Click here and find out what it's all about!


  1. Walk by faith and not by sight(or feelings) You learned a valuable my friend. I'm so glad you have learned this, and glad you are sharing it. We don't deserve happiness, but when you serve a Big God with a big heart, its hard not be happy. Love your writing, even though it's for MOMs Lol. I just like your style. Thanx-Luke Martin

  2. This is a great post. I especially like how you've wrapped it all up: " I must never forget that they are fleeting and that they are nothing compared to the Joy I have in Jesus… it lasts forever."

  3. I love how you said happy times do not equal happiness. They are fleeting aren't they? When we put our focus on those happy moments we will never have true joy. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thanks for that relate-able entry Heidi! I am blessed by your reiteration of what true Joy is!

  5. "I live by 'faith' not happiness." That's a very profound statement! Great post. Thank you, Heidi.

  6. I like your little checklists. I've done the same things, and I have found that I'm always left wanting more. Jesus is our only true source of fulfillment in this life and the next.

  7. I agree with Jason. I love that quote, especially when I understand the childhood you grew up in -- what you say at the end comes alive. I didn't grow up seeing happiness in my childhood either... it looks like we both ended up in this wonderful place of faith, which connects to each other. And that gives me joy.

    Wonderful to meet you in this post. So disarming and beautiful expressed, Heidi! Thank you for adding this special autobiographical shot of faith!

  8. Heidi,
    You write so real, so honest. I love the way you challenge the status quo mindset about happiness. You're right, we don't deserve it, and the more we pursue it as a commodity, the emptier we are because it fails to satisfy. Only Jesus can do that! Thank you for sharing your heart and your story!

  9. When your trigger is an earthly thing or a worldly status it will faithfully leave you stranded and wanting more.

    So true! Thanks for that reminder! Thanks for your transparency. This is a great post.

  10. Great post! Beautiful reminders! Love reading your work :)

  11. That was an excellent message and one to continually strive for. Thank-you for this.

  12. Wonderful post and beautiful blog!

    God Bless you in your ministry to others,

  13. Your post is true to life ..real joy is only in following Jesus not our mirages of joy..

    God bless!