The Illusion Of Happiness

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In college, I bought a puppy. A really cute Golden Retriever puppy to be exact. It was a dark season for me and I was so tired of being there. I just wanted to be happy. So I looked at what made other people “happy.”

Here’s what I found:

  • Traveling

  • Getting married

  • Being a Youtuber

  • Moving to Hawaii

  • Getting a cute puppy

  • Being a professional surfer

After seriously considering dropping out of college and moving to Hawaii, I chose the puppy option. 
Spoiler alert: raising a puppy is hard. Raising a puppy in college is even harder. 

I pushed through the sleepless nights and puppy biting because I thought it would be worth it. Back then, I thought any day my puppy would make me really happy and fulfilled in life. But that day never came. My dog makes life more fun but is also a huge responsibility. She didn’t help me achieve happiness but she did teach me that happiness based on my life circumstances is an illusion. 

Being unhappy is not a problem of life that can be solved by a new job, new puppy, new boyfriend, or new school. It’s a problem of the heart that can only be satisfied by Jesus. Many of us put too much weight on life’s circumstances to bring us joy. But each time we get something that will finally make us happy, we’re left with the same feeling of unhappiness. 

I think that even some of us might have built our lives on these constructs of happiness. We think that we will be happy if we graduate from college, marry an awesome God-fearing guy, get a dog, buy an aesthetic house, have 3 cute angel babies and host dinner parties with multitudes of gal pals. Or we think that we will be happy if we drop out of college and travel the world posting photos on Instagram from Greece and Italy, stopping at fun nightclubs and eating at the cutest cafes. 

Check what is your happiness narrative, because the only one that will bring you joy is built on the foundation of God, because everything is meaningless without Him.

I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 2:10-11

So how do we find true joy and happiness in the Lord?

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him,  rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Colossians 2:6-7

We should root our lives in Christ and the act of love He portrayed on the cross and be incredibly thankful. Is there anything in your life that you have not expressed thankfulness for? God has given you everything that is good and what you can do now is to praise Him!

 Our joy will come from realizing how abundantly God has blessed us already and the eternal inheritance we have. In Philippians 3:14, Paul writes “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Focus on the end goal. The happiness of this world is the consolation prize. You don’t enter a race to win second place. You enter to win.

If you don’t know where to start, start with this: Every day write a list of 10 things for which you are thankful to God. Then, pray and thank Him!


Anika is an encourager. She loves speaking truth and love into God’s people. You can find her trying to finish the last chapter of any book or cuddling with her puppy. She has a passion for seeing others fall in love with God and is praying her writing will lead you to Jesus.