You can feel happy, in brief flashes and chance encounters, when everything is perfect, and you can feel that ethereal sense of happiness unconnected to any real meaning. The happiness comes, you get that new car, and then that happy feeling leaves, because of the law of diminishing returns. Your next encounter with feeling happy is contingent upon the next new thing you are sure you want, and how "perfect" the conditions are when you receive it.
But you can't pursue a deep sense of meaning in your life, and not feel a consistent, measurable happiness....eventually.
That girl up there, running...she is not "happy" at that precise moment. It's early and it's cold. The happiness comes from becoming clear on her "why" - the reasons that drive her to run pavement....perhaps to pray...or get uninterrupted time to sort out tangled emotions...to be alone with God...or to inspire her at-risk girlfriends to improve their strength and stamina.
In short, she must find meaning OUTSIDE HERSELF in her choice to run, a meaning that goes beyond being able to wear a pair of jeans that are a size smaller than her friend. If her "why" is deeply meaningful, the follow-through will bring a reliable happiness that comes with achieving a meaningful goal.
No cheap happies stick around, I'm afraid.
A happy life is different from a meaningful life; and a meaningful life is scientifically proven to be the only consistently happy lifestyle - because, paradoxically, those seeking true meaning are willing to delay the gratification of happiness...
...and they ultimately end up with happiness.
Grace and Peace,
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