Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year’s Resolution: Be Happy

After we excitedly count down to the New Year, ringing it in with banging of pots and pans, the next tradition to follow is making New Year Resolutions.

What is on your list? I’ll bet it might be to:

-Lose weight/ Get fit
-Eat more healthy
-Get a better job
-Finish your education/Learn something new
-Save money
-Get organized

… and I’ll venture to say, at the heart of each of these goals is a desire to be more happy.

This month we will examine goal setting and our desire for happiness. “And it came to pass that we
lived after the manner of happiness.” [2 Nephi 5:27]. What is the pattern of happiness? And how do we find lasting happiness?

Some things that make me happy are:

-My family
-A clean house
-Achieving my goals
-The sure knowledge (testimony) I have of the gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Which of these brings lasting happiness?

Vacations end; if I’m living in my house it inevitably will need to be cleaned again; all fun celebrations wind down; and eventually my muscles will burn out from exertion. So I am then left with: family, accomplishing [righteous] goals, and the gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Fun does not equal happiness. Church Apostle, Elder Claudio R. M. Costa said, “Both fun and happiness are fine, but certainly happiness is the most worth seeking. Happiness can encompass fun as well, but fun alone will not assure us true happiness.”1

Pleasure does not equal happiness. I feel pleasure dishing a big bowl of ice-cream, and eating it makes me very happy… but it is not a happiness that lasts because eventually that bowl will run out, and it might even result in a stomachache from sugar overload.

Many of those things on my list are selfish… most of the time when I find true lasting happiness is when I forget myself and I am serving a neighbor or family member. Service brings happiness.

Work can equal happiness. Church Apostle, Elder W. Eugene Hansen said, “Often it is [the experience] of work and sacrifice… for a worthwhile purpose that produces the most satisfaction.”2

Following God equals happiness. “And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember,
remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.” [Mosiah 2:41]

“We are happy as we pray every morning and every night, when we can feel that the Lord hears
us and is always willing to bless, forgive, and help us. We are happy as we feel the promptings
of the Holy Ghost in our lives—as we feel the Spirit when we have to make important life
decisions. We are happy as we go home after a stressful and tiresome day at work to the
arms of our families, as they express love and appreciation for us. We are happy to talk to our
children, to enjoy the family, to get together on family night. In short, we can feel happiness
every day in our lives through little things we do, and we are fully happy as we keep the
commandments of a loving God who cares about us.

“True happiness comes from keeping the commandments of God. We are taught in 2 Nephi 2:25
that “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy,” or, in other words,
that they might be happy.”1

What we want most is to find happiness in our lives. This is what God wants for us as well. As we
explore this theme during the month of January, we hope to find, through the help of worthy goal
setting, how we can achieve true, lasting happiness. And, could we discover a happiness formula that
will work for everyone? Stay tuned this month.

Published by McKell

1. Church Apostle, Elder Claudio R. M. Costa, “Fun and Happiness”, Ensign 2002
2. Church Apostle, Elder W. Eugene Hansen, “The Search For Happiness”, General Conference of the Church, 1993


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