This is a question I was recently asked. As you can imagine, I answered it in the most Christianese way I know how- by saying Yes! (I even added a good-old Christian smile with my yes). Just so we are both on the same page, I was NOT being fake or giving false impressions. I had never been asked that question before nor have I ever asked myself that question recently. After the person left the room however; I was left with a huge question mark in my mind. Am. I. Happy?
I was surprised at my own answer. My honest answer to this question was; I honestly didn’t know if I was happy or not. This surprised me because, looking at the simplicity and commonness of happiness as a term so readily used. I would think I would know if I was happy or not. Right?
Mixed in with my puzzling answer, was the realization, of the discomfort I would feel if I disclosed my thoughts to fellow believers. I knew that the perception would be that I am discontent, and ungrateful, which was NOT the case at all. I knew I am whole, content, and confident in who I am in Christ, and excessively grateful (the Lord has done so much for me).
Now back to you my dear friend. I ask you the same question asked to me. Are you happy? Holistically. Are you truly happy?
As I was asking the Lord this question, He brought to mind a woman, who through the scriptural text was unhappy. The Lord said to me, “although you are not unhappy, her life will still help you decide if you are happy or not.” Her name is Hanna, whose name meant grace and favored, by the way. Based on the fact that in Hanna’s time names foretold your destiny, you’d think just by the virtue of her name Hanna would be happy, but she was not.
1 Samuel 1:4-6 (NIV)
4 Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the Lord had closed her womb.6 Because the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her.
1 Samuel 1:8 (NIV)
Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”
Basically in this scripture it seems that the reason for Hanna’s downheartedness, was the inability to have children, and Peninnah mocking her. (Side note- Peninnah’s name means “jewel”, precious stone, which tells me that whatever is most frustrating in our lives is a blessing because those become the things that bring us to the feet of Jesus.)
I choose to differ with the latter observation of that text. Hannas problem was not her closed womb, nor was it Peninnah’s mocking; Hanna’s unhappiness, in my opinion, was a result of an unestablished source of happiness. “Things” will never make us happy. There are quite a number of neuroscientific studies done to prove this as factual, and scripture also tells us that “things” won’t make us happy. This is inclusive of others doing.
Just like Hanna did, I prayed and asked God to show me what my true happiness is. The answer was always in me all along. Simple, yet unknown to my conscious mind. God is the source of my happiness. He is the source of my pleasure. How did I come to this obvious conclusion? We ONLY invest and spend our time, money, and gifts on things that we believe bring us happiness, enjoyment and pleasure. So when I evaluated my life to see if I was happy,I looked at those areas of my life.
If you are like Hanna and you are unhappy, or you are like me and you just don’t know, then go to the source, His name is Jesus. Ask Him to reveal true happiness to you and let Him help you find pleasure in your relationship with Him. This will cause you to give your offering and tithes with joy, this will also cause you to serve, however long, with pleasure, and willingness. This mind change will force you to give your first fruits to the one who gave you the fruits in the first place.
Hanna had a loving husband (scripture says he gave her a double portion because he loved her), she went to church, and she loved the Lord, yet unhappy. It’s not the promotion, husband, or new Church that will make you happy, it`s Jesus. Ask Him to give you the joy of your salvation.
Remember that I am not talking about joy. Joy is the foundation, and happiness is the fruit of our Joy. This perceptual change has helped me enjoy waking up in the morning to pray, working out because I am taking care of my Father`s temple, loving people, giving, serving and so much more. Hanna also went through the same transformation after spending time in prayer. She began to breakout in praise, worship and exhortation.
The answer now is a confident YES! Through being filled by the source of my happiness, I enjoy my every day and my every moment. Even in uncomfortable, hideous situations, I am still happy in my heart, because my focus is my source and not “things”.
Are you happy? Does your time and finances reflect the source of your pleasure?
Zintle is a graduate of the Chicago Masters Commission, and is currently an Intern for Radiant Women Ministries under P. Elizabeth. Zintle is a Life Coach, certified through Lets live Coaching institute and is affiliated with the Coaches and Mentors of South Africa (COMENSA), as well as the Federation for Nuero Linguistic Programming Coaching professionals (NLPCP). She also is a published author of a woman empowerment book "On Stiletto's".