Intentional Happiness or a Word on Joy

Are you predisposed to be happy? I guess one way to tell is to look at your biological origins because some studies have shown that genes contribute to half of your (un)happiness. Here’s one breakdown I found:

  • 50% genetics
  • 10% circumstances
  • 40% intentional activities

I am not predisposed to be happy. And my life circumstances can be stressful as an introverted work-from-home mom (deadlines and diapers). I need time to think and energy to focus, both of which are usually nowhere to be found. So I really don’t have much of a fighting chance.

if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy

And there is more than just being “happy.” Happy is that catchy song, fun yet fleeting. There is something deep and long lasting that will hold us secured and sheltered. Paul argued for it in his letters to the churches even though his circumstances were anything but happy. Before following Christ, was Paul one of those people who was just naturally happy?

Anyone who can incite others to violently hunt, assault and kill probably does not have a pleasant disposition. Maybe his personal frustration and depression drove him to be so vicious. God didn’t call Paul to save the Christians he was persecuting since they were still martyred. And I don’t think God was punishing Paul by calling him to live the persecuted life. It wasn’t to give him only forgiveness and then sit him forever on the sidelines. No, someone with an inner fire was needed. But as Paul admitted frequently, he needed Christ.

17 Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. 18 God did this so that […] we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. 19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.

Hebrews 6:17-19

What did Paul do when he faced his inclination towards despair and those horrible times when he was beaten and imprisoned? He reset his perspective. And maybe for those of us predisposed to be discontent, we have to do this daily.


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