Saturday, April 18, 2015

Pursuit of Happiness Thwarts Happiness

Our founders had it wrong. Instead of "the pursuit of happiness," they should have put "the pursuit of meaning" in the Declaration of Independence since "research has shown that having purpose and meaning in life increases overall well-being and life satisfaction...and ironically, the single-minded pursuit of happiness is leaving people less happy. It is the very pursuit of happiness that thwarts happiness."

Viktor Frankl, a prominent Jewish psychiatrist, was put into a Nazi concentration camp with his pregnant wife and family. He was the only one that made it out alive. He saw how the prisoners with meaning and purpose to their lives had a better chance of surviving than those who did not.

Many couple are deciding not to have children these days since it will put a huge crimp in their lifestyle. Research shows that parents are less happy interacting with their children than they are exercising, eating, and watching television...Pleasures are fleeing. Meaning, on the other hand, is enduring...Having children is associated with the meaningful life and requires self-sacrifice, but it has been famously associated with low happiness among parents.

Therefore, many young couples don't want to make the short-term sacrifice to have children but instead, want to have short-term pleasure for long-term pain. The long-term pain of not having children to care for them in their old age, grandchildren to hug and play with and the fulfillment that comes with raising godly children who have a positive impact on the world around them.

Being human always points, and is directed, to something or someone other than oneself. The more one forgets himself - by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love - the more human he is. By devoting our lives to giving rather than taking, we also acknowledge that there is more to the good life than the pursuit of simple happiness. 

Your life at home raising children, being a help meet to your husband and taking care of your home gives you purpose in your life. Daily, you give your life away to gain something so much better, so much richer than any temporary pleasure could ever satisfy. God created us to work and to give our lives away as living sacrifices. Find joy in giving and serving, dear mothers. "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose" {Jim Elliot}. As our world is busy in the pursuit of  happiness, let's be busy in the pursuit of godliness and only do those things which please our Master.

Happy is that people, that is in such a case: 
yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.
Psalm 144:15