Many of us are discontent, struggling to make sense of the world and all of its problems. We long for happiness and fulfillment but sometimes seek it in unproductive and ineffective ways.
I was recently in Manila, Philippines and I saw this quote on one of the walls of The Manila Times Newspaper office:
“The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything.”
As I travel this globe I witness the happiest faces on people living seemingly simple lives. Those residing in remote villages in very small dirt houses that have dirt floors. Most of these small houses sleep up to eight people in a family. What I’ve noticed is these people definitely make the best of everything and they appear to be happy and content in ways that escape many of us who live in modern, developed societies.
One of my favorite authors is E. Stanley Jones and, in his book, “Growing Spiritually” he has a lot to say about this world and how to be happy. The following quotes provide a lot of food for thought. Here’s some of what he has to say:
“The end (goal) of life is not human happiness; it is human growth. Growth in character and achievement. Happiness is a by-product of that growth. The universe therefore had to be a semi-hard universe—it had to be sufficiently hard to sharpen our souls upon. Were there no disease, there would be no research to find remedies and thus no growth. No earthquakes then no improvements on buildings being built and no growth. No weeds in our gardens then no need to figure out how to get rid of them…no growth. We have to be unfinished masters of an unfinished world. The world is imperfect, so we can make the effort to perfect it. In finishing the unfinished we help finish ourselves. (We find happiness) The goal of the individual as perfection of character and life is not to get to Heaven but to try to bring heaven to earth. The goal of human society, then, is the Kingdom of God on Earth. There are thus two goals which are really one-namely the perfected individual in a perfected society.”
-Stanley Jones, “Growing Spiritually.”
What are you doing today that makes you feel closer to God, happier, more productive, and gives you a purpose for living? What problems in your house, your neighborhood, your community, or your world, can you help solve? I believe answering those questions help lead to a happier, more fulfilled life.