I never really got that. I think I believed that happiness was something that happened as a result of your situation, what's going on around you and to you. I thought I was supposed to wait around until happiness found me; it wasn't something I had to look for. Now I see it differently.
God calls us to be joyful. Okay, that shouldn't be that hard. But then God tells us we will suffer. We will not have it easy. With every step, Satan is pulling us back, tripping us up - doing his best to bring us down. So... how on earth are we supposed to be joyful about that? Isn't that the exact opposite of happiness: being constantly attacked and torn apart?
It is. The thing is, we still have every reason to be happy. You know why? I truly hope you do. It is because we have salvation. We have been redeemed by an incredible love that we cannot hope to comprehend. We are not bound to this world! We don't belong here! What a relief that is, knowing that we are destined for so much more, that we will soon escape a world we are not meant to be in. We are God's children, and we are only here for a short while before we are called home.
So I have no excuses for feeling down or wallowing in self-pity. My life as of now is not glamorous or perfect, but my future looks a lot like Heaven.
But I have to fight for this joy. It is vital that I remember who I am living for and what He has done for me; I have to remind myself that my joy comes from Him alone. It doesn't come from winning a game in soccer, doing well in school, my friends, or my family. All those things are just really amazing perks. I have a Savior that was willing to die for me, a God who knows every niche of my soul, a Creator who made me the way I am for a purpose that only He fully understands. Those facts should override everything else, for they are what truly matters. They are what should drive my sense of joy every single day, every single moment.
This journey of becoming honestly joyful is going to be unimaginably difficult, I know. It is so easy for me to get caught up in the world around me and forget Who is most important. I tend to get brought down in a spiral of negative emotions; I effortlessly point out the aspects of my life that are imperfect. Nevertheless, I am called to this: To remember Christ who died for me and be joyful in that fact alone. I need nothing else to make me happy. He sustains me always.