Not necessarily – DESERVE being the operative word.
It seems to me that there is a common misconception that everyone deserves to be happy. But the definition – to merit, be qualified for, or have a claim to (reward, assistance, punishment) because of actions, qualities, or situation – tells me that happiness is a product of positive behavior.
If someone is unhappy in their marriage, and assuming that we are all deserving of happiness, does that mean that she has a right to walk away from it in her pursuit of greener grasses? And if happiness is deserved, than what about her spouse? He suffers so that she can be happy?
When we choose to be selfish in our pursuit of happiness at the expense of others, it’s impossible to be fulfilled and truly happy.
I posted the question “Do you think we all DESERVE to be happy?’ on my Facebook status. I was immediately inundated with several responses. This one, from Toni Sawyer, was exactly what I was hoping for:
Happiness comes and goes, I find that it is an elusive thing to pursue, and maybe not worth the pursuit, it is kind of a self-centered emotion. Joy, on the other hand, is deeper and much more satisfying, you can be joyful in unhappy circumstances. Happy people can be annoying to those going through trials, joyful people can be a Godsend. All that being said, I don’t think I ‘deserve’ to be happy, like an ‘entitlement’ thing, but I sure do ‘like’ to be happy.
This from Diane Smithson:
If we are focused with a steadfast mind, then we should experience God’s joy & happiness. (Isaiah 26:3)
Julie Atchley Robinson summed it up quite well:
happiness is a choice… it can only come from within you, it cannot be given to you.
And Miriam Taylor rounded it out with:
We deserve death. But I’m so thankful that HE gives us life and joy instead!
Happiness is not the same as JOY.
Isaiah has a precursor “if we are focused with a STEADFAST mind” – steadfast meaning unwavering, firm in purpose, “then we should experience God’s joy and happiness.”
Let me break it down.
If I eat a bag of Double Stuff Oreos every day, I deserve to be fat. If I drink a 24 ounce bottle of Coke before I go to bed, I deserve to be wide awake at 2 am.
The only people who DESERVE to be happy are children. Or Mother Theresa. Perhaps someone who gives his best, does everything humanly possible to give back, puts his family first, and makes a difference deserves to be happy.
Joy comes from within, but happiness is earned.
Have you earned it?