Is Happiness Just An Illusion — Part 1 — Morning Devotions - Hope 103.2

Is Happiness Just An Illusion — Part 1 — Morning Devotions

It can be argued that everyone's greatest aspiration in life is to find true happiness. But true happiness isn't found somewhere, it's found in Someone.

By Chris WittsThursday 26 May 2022Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 1 minute

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Back in the late 1960s, there was a pop group called The Wild Weeds. They’ve gone into obscurity. No one knows about them now, but they had a song released back then that caught my attention. It was ‘Happiness is just an illusion’.

It wasn’t a bad song. The lyrics were interesting. “Happiness is just a trick of the mind. Happiness is a thing that’s so hard to find. Put it by and don’t pay it. No mind. Is happiness just an illusion?”

It’s a huge topic, this pursuit of happiness and what is it anyway? Is it really possible to be happy? Humans will always have the ups and downs of life, the emotions included. And I’ve got a feeling that if you ask a friend what they want in life, they will probably say ‘I want to be happy,’ –  like it’s a part of their life that they haven’t yet achieved.

When people talk about happiness, they might be talking about how they feel right now today, or a more general feeling of satisfaction of how life is going for them. It’s a very broadly defined word, this happiness. I’m happy today because the sun is shining and my washing is getting dry or people say “I’m happy today I just got a pay rise at work.”

The Idea of Happiness

Psychologists have spent many years studying this topic, and they generally say you’re happy if you’re living the life you want. The conditions of life are good for you. You feel satisfied with your life and you have more positive feelings than negative. If you’re involved in life and have a mission and purpose, then you’re more likely to be happy. And we often leak happiness to words like joy, excitement, pride, contentment and optimism.

Sigmund Freud, back in 1930 famously said in his essay, ‘Civilization and its Discontents’ that we are more vulnerable to unhappiness than it’s opposite. A bit gloomy, I thought, he said. We are fragile people who are threatened by the storms of life like storms and earthquakes. But interestingly enough, Sigmund Freud said that complicated relationships with other people was the most painful source of unhappiness. Well, who am I to argue with Sigmund Freud? But I think I get what he meant. Fractured relationships do cause much distress and unhappiness, and maybe you’ve experienced this in your life.

Happiness deprived from the word ‘hap’ means luck or chance. Thus we get the phrase “happy go lucky” And the Greek word for happiness is derived from another word, ‘Eftihia’ meaning good and ‘tyche’ for luck or chance. So who doesn’t want to be happy? Well, we all do. But wanting something is not the same as finding it. We strive after happiness, but how many people actually find true, lasting happiness?

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True Happiness?

I often turn to the writings of C. S. Lewis, who had profound thoughts and all sorts of topics like the search for happiness. Later in life, C. S Lewis became a committed Christian and he said, search for joy and it will elude you. Search for God wholeheartedly, and you will be found by him and happiness will be thrown in as a by product. He said. This is basic Christian teaching. And yet, sadly, even most Christians today seemed to get this wrong big time.

C. S. Lewis wrote much about happiness. Indeed, he called his autobiography “Surprised by Joy” in his many well known works. He speaks about this. Let me quote a little bit more. “God designed the human machine to run on himself. He himself is the fuel. Our spirits were designed to burn all the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other.” That is why it’s just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering with religion. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from himself because it’s not there. There is no such thing there. The thoughts of C. S. Lewis and the very last paragraph of his book says, “Give up yourself and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Look for yourself and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin and decay. But look for Christ and you will find him. And with him, everything else is thrown in.” CS Lewis got it right. Happiness is not about being fixated on yourself, seeking your best life now or aiming for wealth and possessions. What Lewis said about happiness is just the simple Christian gospel.

If you put God first in your life, happiness will come automatically. Having faith in your heavenly father will not usually change the circumstances but he changes you and your reactions in the way of living.

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, forgive us for thinking that happiness is bound up in what I do and what I want. Help me to reach out to others, and then I will find what true happiness is. Amen.

Is Happiness Just An Illusion — Part 2