Happiness is something that almost everyone in life is searching for, pursuing, or wondering if it even exists. The whole idea of happiness is often viewed as something mysterious that some people naturally have and others simply do not. The phrase “the secret of happiness” evokes this idea that happiness is an unattainable goal and that it is impossible to be happy on a regular basis. Being the nerd that I am, I find social research to be completely fascinating. The other day, I found myself listening to a TED talk on happiness and what makes people happy. There was a lot of information in the hour long podcast, but I would like to discuss one of the main themes.
It is human nature for our minds to wander when we are doing something boring or want to be somewhere else. However, studies have shown that trying to escape the reality of where you are or what you are doing does not make you happier and in fact makes you discontent and unhappy.
Although the Bible does not talk specifically about daydreaming, it does speak about the thoughts of our heart and about contentment. Proverbs 4:23 says “Keep thy heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life.”
The Bible also puts emphasis on contentment. Almost everyone is familiar with Philippians 4:13 (I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.) However, not many people focus on the two verses immediately preceding that one. Philippians 4:11-12 says, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” Want to be happy? Focus on contentment with where you are and what you have right now.
There is a lot of talk today of “being present” and “enjoying the moment.” A lot of this is in response to our cell phone addictions. Instead of daydreaming, we let our minds wander by getting lost in our cell phones to escape boredom or reality. I was convicted of this a few weeks ago after I found myself checking email at the dinner table instead of talking to my daughters. God has used this conviction to help me work on enjoying the present.
Are you feeling convicted about letting your mind wander? Getting lost in your phone instead of enjoying God’s blessings that you have RIGHT NOW? Spend some time this week focusing on the tasks you are doing. Don’t check Facebook while you bathe your kids, don’t sit on the couch with your spouse lost in your own thoughts or in phone…talk. Enjoy time together and see if it doesn’t make you happier.