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God Wants Me to Be Happy?

If not good, then happy (maybe)?

What God Wants Most of All for You (6)

If not good, then what?

God wants us to be good. You want to be good. The question remains, however, What is good?

And this is where the God-you-know-but-deny conflicts with the mind/god-you-deny-but-serve.

God wants us to be good. But being good is not what God wants most of all for us.

“If not good,” you may be asking, “then what? Be happy?”

That’s an important question, and it seems rather obvious. Doesn’t everyone want to be happy? And don’t we apply our brains to the task of figuring out and pursuing whatever we think is going to make us happy?

Put another way, don’t we look to our mind/god to explain happiness to us and then to help us figure out how to obtain it?

But the problem, of course, is that the ideas of happiness we embrace and pursue don’t always pan out. Either they remain elusive, and always just out of reach. Or, having achieved them, they either don’t satisfy, or don’t satisfy for very long.

That’s when our mind/god begins his shape-shifting ways, jerking us in some new direction in pursuit of the happiness we seek.

The problem with happiness
And this illustrates a basic problem with happiness. You just can’t count on it. Either it turns out to be not what we thought it should be. Or we can never realize it sufficiently so that happiness becomes our settled state of mind. Or we can’t manage to get all the pieces that make-up our idea of happiness together at one time, so that our happiness is always mingled with disappointment, disillusionment, and frustration.

And if you think God wishes this for you, you’re wrong.

Happiness, as is obvious, is dependent on “hap” or “happenstance” or the conditions and things with which we seek to surround ourselves in the belief that these are what we need to enjoy that overall sense of wellbeing and security which we associate with “happiness.”

But “hap” can be an elusive thing. After all, which of us is omniscient, so that we can know with complete precision exactly what it is that will make us happy, and in what mixture or amount? And which of us is omnipotent, so that we can actually assemble all that “hap” at the right time in order to generate that sense of “happy” that we seek?

God indeed wants you to enjoy an overall sense of wellbeing – of being safe, loved, cared and provided for, and at peace.

But that’s a far cry from saying that God wants you to be “happy” – to have all the right material conditions and things that will ensure that state of mind in perpetuity.

God does not want that for you. Not at all.

Happiness? Or joy?
God does not want you to be happy. He wants something much more for you. God wants you to know joy.

Joy is to happiness as an original Andrew Wyeth painting is to a print. The real painting has texture, depth, permanence, richness, and presence. A print is merely a flat reproduction that witnesses to the real thing, but can never be it.

Joy is the real deal. Happiness seeks to mimic joy, and sometimes it manages, partially and briefly, but most of the time it just leaves us, well, flat. We think we’ve found real happiness, and yet we hear the voice of Peggy Lee singing in the back of our brain, “Is that all there is?”

The reason is because what we really want is not happiness. What we really want is joy. We want that real, textured, permanent presence, rich with color, depth, and meaning. That thing or condition or state of being that is not susceptible to change, does not disappoint with the achieving of it, and can be visited and enjoyed over and over and over again, always with deeper layers of contentment, peace, and rest.

What we really want is joy. And as long as all we ever seek is happiness, joy will continue to elude us.

And joy is what God wants for us as well. He dearly desires for you to be at perfect peace. To have all your fears and doubts resolved. To know an unshakeable sense of wellbeing, safety, pleasure, hope, and rest – a state of being that no amount of change in your circumstances can affect in the least.

God wants for you what you want for you, and what your mind/god will forever deny you. Your mind/god keeps offering you prints. But God offers you the real deal. Joy. Joy.


But even joy, as wonderful and permanent as it is, is not what God wants most of all for you.

How would you explain the difference between joy and happiness? Since happiness depends on circumstances, and circumstances can change, how does it differ from joy? Is there really such a thing as joy? How would we know when we’ve attained it?

T. M. Moore
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T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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