Every TV show nowadays is all about finding that elusive thing called happiness. If we’re “happy” then everything will be okay. We’ll have “made it.”

There is something that has always bothered me about that point of view.

Happiness is a feeling. It is not a destination. Those who put all their hope in their future happiness are setting themselves up for disappointment. While being happy is great, it is by no means the key to life. Depressed people can experience happiness during their depression, but when that happiness is gone, they are still depressed.

The thing about people chasing happiness that is dangerous (other than putting their hope in a fleeting emotion) is that this goal of being happy is so intensely selfish. Not to try to be preachy, I don’t think God desires us to be miserable! But if we are constantly trying to make ourselves happy, we are focusing so intently on ourselves that we lose sight of what God has planned for us.

One of my greatest prayers this summer was for joy. Joy in the face of sorrow, stress, and disappointment. Joy in the good times, in the bad, and the ugly. God answered this prayer and filled my soul with a joy for life and for Him. I’m obviously not perfect at all, I still have my moments of anger and disrespect, but I am different from what I once was.And while this may not be the step for everyone, I encourage you to make it your prayer also. Pray for joy in adversity.

Life is hard. But we serve a God who is great and mighty, who can grant prayers for joy, which is so much better than the fleeting happiness that so many strive for.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” -Romans 15:13

-Hannah Knodel