Dancing in the Light

I John 1:7 "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin."

Location: North Platte, Nebraska, United States

I am a christian wife, mother and grandmother. I am a licensed Social worker and a licensed Christian counselor. I am most proud of the relationships I have with God, my family and friends all over the world. I have been blessed beyond my dreams.

Friday, January 12, 2007

The Pursuit of Happyness?

Have you seen this new movie? Everyone is talking about Will Smith and Thandie Newton and Wil's son in this blockbuster, feel good movie. Ned and I saw it on Christmas Eve, right after we heard our son and his wife separated. I think we would have enjoyed it more had our life situation been different. However, for those of you who haven't seen the movie, it is based on a true story of a man who is down on his luck, he is struggling financially, his wife leaves him and he loses his home. He lives with his young son in motels and even a bus station bathroom as he pursues a career in stock brokerage. It is a very moving story as you watch Chris Gardner (Will Smith) struggle to get back on his feet. Ned and I enjoyed the movie. Now everyone is talking about this story, they are making New Year's resolutions and changing career paths based on this movie. Everyone is lauding this movie. Everyone but me.
Don't get me wrong. I thought it was a good movie. I thought it had fine acting and a great story line. However, I thought the title was incongruent with the story. I didn't think Mr. Gardner was pursuing happiness, (spelled with an i or a y). He was trying to survive, trying to do the right thing, trying to provide for his child, trying to obtain a stable job and home for himself and his boy. Those were his goals and in obtaining these goals, he found happiness.
Likewise, we as Christians, are never told to pursue happiness. Happiness is never mentioned as a worthy goal. It is not our destination, but rather a perk from the journey. In the beatitudes, Jesus lists several attributes we are to have and if we possess them, we will be blessed or happy. He says "Happy are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Being poor in spirit is the goal, not being happy. "Happy are the merciful for they shall be shown mercy." Notice it does not say merciful are the happy. Being happy is not the goal, Jesus says so. In Philippians, the Apostle Paul says he learned to be content (happy) in all situations. He did not pursue contentment, he learned it. He became God-focused and God-centered and mission minded and in doing so, he learned to be happy. Matthew 6:33 says "Seek(pursue) first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you."
How many people do you know who are constantly pursuing happiness. They change jobs because they are just not happy. They divorce their spouses because they deserve to be happy. They change churches because they are so unhappy where they worship. So I am not happy, waaaa. Happiness is not circumstantial. It is a state of mind and changing my circumstances does not guarantee a mind change, nor happiness. We are not entitled to happiness. We are not owed it. It is not to be our focus.
Happiness is a by-product. Happiness is what happens when we are doing the right things. Happiness is the result of having a mind and heart for God. Happiness is not contingent on circumstances. Happiness is not to be pursued. It is not the destination, not the goal of the journey, not the reason for the trip. If we keep our eyes on heaven--If we work on being Christlike, God-centered and mission minded. If we handle life crises with spiritual strength and dignity---If we treat others like we want to be treated----If we focus on becoming more spiritual and less worldly---If we do not think more highly of ourselves than we ought---If we live for God rather than for happiness, we will be happy---no matter what. The pursuit of godliness equals the attainment of happyness----happyness with no bounds, limitless and eternal.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you sure God doesn't want us to be happy? I mean he loves us and he is our fahter. I guess I just really want to believe happiness is his goal for us too. But I think you are right. Happiness is what happens when we seek God. He gives us that as a gift not a goal.


10:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe God wants happiness for us but I agree it's a byproduct of being Christlike in our lives.

As an aside, Neva, do you want a waaburger with your cryfries? We say that all the time now. I also want to know why I don't rate a hi how are you. Joe hogged the whole phone call. :)

Love you sister,

11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God expects to be the source of our happiness and He wants us to seek or pursue as you say, Him. Then we will have everlasting happiness


12:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you God wants us to seek him first and then let him make us happy. Sometimes we strugle so we can grow and dont get happy until the struggle is over and we can look back on it. You were right on.


1:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I respect your opinion but I think you missed the point of the movie. It was not a bible lesson, just a movie. it had nothing to do with God.


3:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The movie was to make people feel good and empowered that they could make it if they just kept trying. It was a truly uplifting movie. The title really came from the constitution of the United States and had very little to do with the statement of the movie.
Your comments were good but they were not about the movie.

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dont let people give you trouble about this post. It was very thought provoking and biblically sound. Sometimes people dont like their view challenged. Thank you for challenging us to be better christians. I appreciate that about your writings.


9:50 PM  
Anonymous Paublo said...

Maybe some of you don't know Neva very well. For her, Everything is about God. I appreciate the thoughts. I haven't seen the movie but whether I do or don't you're point on. I have to ask what do I pursue? You are a great example.

God's other favorite

10:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jesus used everyday things to teach spiritual lessons. I appreciate that you do the same things. I learn so much from your writings. I am impressed by this post and the others.
I love you, sister


7:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am nor sure this is really what God wants. He loves us and wants us to be happy. When we pursue happiness we ae pursuing him, he is happiness. I think you might have missed this one. Without him there is no happiness so really when we seek to be happy we are seeking him,


1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I agree with you. I had to read it several times but I think most of your comments, no all are saying the same thing you are. You have obviously thought about this quite a bit. Happiness is something we all desire but few of us are able to get until we get to heaven. Then it will be ours.

7:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...



7:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I for one, think you are very accurate in your analysis of what God desires for us. He will give us all that we need, not what we want. We are confused adn think it is the attaining of our wants that makes us happy. There is truly no real happiness here on earth. The only happiness we have is the knowledge of getting to live in heaven with God. Good job, Neva.
Keep up the good work.

Love ya sister

1:53 AM  

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