Sunday, May 02, 2010

Thinking about Happiness

I just started reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  I wasn’t even sure I wanted to read it.  I mean, the idea of spending a year trying to be more happy sounds a little self-centered to me.  I was pleasantly surprised with how the author handled that criticism in the very first chapter.  I won’t tell you here, though – you have to read the book!

What got me thinking, though, was a quote from Aristotle that she includes: “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”  Really?  The first question in the Westminster Shorter Catechism is “What Is the chief end of man?  To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”  (Here are the scripture references to support this.)  These seem like contradictory statements.

One of John Piper’s well-known books is Desiring God.  In it, he argues for a theory he calls “Christian hedonism”, stating that “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him”.  If we really love and treasure God, then we will give Him all the glory and honor.

In a way, then, Aristotle is correct.  The meaning and purpose of my life is to love and follow Jesus which is the thing that gives me the most happiness in life.

Thoughts?  Did I make sense?


pwm said...

Yes, you made perfect sense. Here's to happiness found in God.

Anonymous said...

I just finished the book and I enjoyed it from front to back. I started formulating my own list of resolutions and personal commandments right from the start--I bet you did too. It's hard not to.
My thoughts on the approach to happiness were similar to yours. Happiness begins with our relationship with God. Beyond that (which is huge), Gretchen Rubin offers some interesting exercises and insights.
Enjoy the book!
Tina Olson