A letter, to my daughter, on the three secrets of happiness in life.
I am writing to you to share three of my thoughts on the secret to life and happiness. Please meditate on these three concepts.
Something to do
We need to work. We need to contribute to something bigger than ourselves. It not only keeps us busy, moving us from boredom, but also helps us grow and gives us purpose.
Part of this is doing work and getting paid. But it is more than just paying the bills. It is about connecting with our God infused desire to use our gifts. After all, we are made in the image of our Creator. And that means we also are designed to create, imagine, worship and serve more than just ourselves.
Someone to love
We were made to be in relationships: a relationship with our Creator as well as with others. Think Adam with Eve. And both of them with the Lord God. Or on the negative side think Nebuchadnezzar being driven away from people and cut off from God (Daniel chapter 4).
We need someone to share life with. It gives meaning. It takes the focus off ourselves and helps us serve other's needs as well as receiving love.
A future with no hope is no future at all. It's like living in a dark room with no hope of release. In fact, research done with rats (done before ethics committees!) showed that a rat swimming in darkness gave up far sooner that the rat swimming with a light on. The light gave hope. That's why we need to be looking forward for a hope.
It might be a hope of something to do or someone to love. It's the same with our faith. God always gave His people hope. There was always a short-term hope, like returning to Jerusalem after the exile, as well as a long-term hope, like the Messiah's return. It's the same now. We have the reminder of this hope each Sunday. It is of a certain hope that, because Jesus conquered sin and death, He will return. And that certain hope leads to thanks and praise.
There are few more special things than these three. They give us daily focus and stop us being distracted by things that don't matter. Life is a blur. Life is short. Eternity is long. We should live our lives with this balance in mind.
Our hopes, our work and our friendships should be lived in the shadow of this reality. Something to do, someone to love and having hope. But you Abigale, my daughter, already know these things. Spending each day worshipping God, immersed in His love, having the reality of that Hope right before you now.
Thank you for teaching me these things.
Jeremy Dover is a former sports scientist and Pastor
Jeremy Dover's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/jeremy-dover.html