one thing is needful

Choosing Happy

I really want to be happy. Sometimes I have no idea how to go about doing that. But I’ve found that I can’t choose to be happy by simply changing my mood; I choose to be happy by living in a specific way, and then the happiness comes.

Happiness is difficult to define in words, but I know how it feels. I find happiness in small moments, like laughing at something funny or working hard at something new. But I want the happiness in my life to last. My life sometimes feels like a roller-coaster of ups and down; I am searching for a happiness that persists through good days and bad days. I want true joy, a feeling that can exist even with sorrow and difficult times. Joy fills me up with light, peace, and a feeling that I’m doing the right thing. How do I find lasting joy and happiness when life seems to come at me with some new challenge almost every day?

I find joy by following Jesus Christ.

It’s simple, really. I’m miserable when I am not following Jesus Christ and his commandments. When I think about all of my incredibly miserable moments, the moments filled with despair and icky-dark discouragement, they have been moments when I have made bad choices: I wasted my time, I didn’t forgive others, I was selfish, or I was proud. Because I’m rarely miserable when I’m truly trying to be meek, humble, and serve others.

Recently, I had been feeling discouraged for various reasons—it was in the middle of a dark winter and I had been sort of lazy. I was going through a difficult time—not that I could really describe what was so difficult, but I was struggling to wake up in the morning and get going. I’ve had moments like this a lot in my life, but I found that this time I didn’t feel any despair, something that I had felt often before. I wondered why I was doing better, why I had enough to hope to keep trying. And I realized that over the years, I have tried to make Jesus Christ the foundation of my life. As I become more successful in doing that, it meant that I always had hope to rely on.

When I focus more on Jesus Christ, I knew that I could always rely on him. I knew I was always loved. I no longer felt despair because I always had at least a glimmer of light in the darkness. I could find lasting happiness.

I know that I have to choose between good and bad, right and wrong. I can’t follow Jesus Christ and hold on to all my bad habits and weaknesses. There have been days where I simultaneous want to sit around and do nothing and feel like I’m accomplishing my goals and doing good in the world. The two things don’t go together. If I’m going to be happy, I can’t make the choice to do what seems easy to me. I can’t just go with the flow. Following Jesus Christ must become my deliberate, active choice that I make not just on occasion, but daily.

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