The Pursuit of Happiness Leads to Emptiness

“Don’t worry, be happy.”

“Follow your heart and you’ll be happy.”

“Once _____ happens, I’ll finally be happy.”

The Pursuit of Happiness Leads to Emptiness

These phrases have echoed in my mind for the past few years, just knowing that true happiness and fulfillment would come when we reached the next stage of life.

When Hubs had a job where he was home at night and the kids were a little older, happiness would finally flood my soul.

When I could relax and not work as hard, I’d smile more and be more joyful in spirit.

Our milestones are reached and most boxes on my list of expectations are checked, but “happiness” still evades.

In fact, once I glance away from the striving and the planning, I realize my spirit is empty and craving more than the temporary glow of achievement.

Exhausted and depleted from running a race towards happiness I can never win, I realize I’ve been chasing the wind in my efforts.

In my pursuit of happiness and chasing the life I was meant to live, I took my eyes off the One who truly brings satisfaction and the many blessings God has given me.

My haphazard search for “happiness” was in vain because I forgot to pursue God and His path for me, thus falling short on my quest for true satisfaction.

I tried to force worldly dreams that were never part of my path or purpose.

I clutched my own desires with clenched fists instead of asking the Lord for guidance and direction.

Pursuit of Happiness Leads to Emptiness

Meanwhile, navigating life without the Lord’s guidance has left me in a barren dessert and searching for Living Water to quench my thirsty spirit.

I foolishly realize a life pursuing my own plans and dreams apart from the Lord will never bring true soul satisfaction.

There will always be another mountain to climb or another battle to fight before this so called “happiness” can be attained, unless I fix my eyes on the Lord as my wellspring of joy, satisfaction, and ultimate destination.

He is the source of true fulfillment.

Only He can truly satisfy the cries of the heart and the soothe the depths of our souls.

And in those moments we realized we’ve strayed from our God once again, may we remember the “4 R’s” as we find our way back.

Return to the Lord.

Repent of your ways and follow Him.

Reroute your plans to align with His.

Rejoice knowing that He offers grace and forgiveness to your wandering heart.

As you come home again, safe in the arms of your Father, give thanks for the life He’s blessed you with, and for his unconditional love.

Give thanks for your family. Although flawed and imperfect, you’ve been blessed with another day together.

Give thanks for your home. Although it may not be modeled after Pinterest, you have shelter from the storm.

Give thanks for your belongings. Although worn and not the latest fashion, you have clothes and shoes to cover your body.

Give thanks for your Savior. Although perfect and blameless, He loved a sinner like you and gave you new life and hope of an eternity with Him.

In those seasons where you’re chasing the wind and longing for “happiness”, hit your knees and ask for the true satisfaction of the Lord to flood your soul once again.

May your quest for happiness be short as you seek Him and bask in the joy that comes to those fully devoted to pursuing Him alone.

How do you return to the Lord after you’ve gone astray?  How do you keep the pursuit of happiness from being your ultimate goal?

This post was shared with Grace & Truth



  1. I asked the Lord what I needed to give up his morning and He said “happiness “. Then I opened my email to this. Wow!! Our God is amazing

  2. Amen I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been there. How many times I’ve tried to figure out a way where I’d be content and I’d stop searching.

    1. Me too! it can be so overwhelming when we try to go our own way. Why can’t I just remember that God knows best?

  3. Ooh, love the four ‘Rs. ~ Return, Repent, Reroute, Rejoice. <3
    I think that the thing that I most often come back to, is that it's not about my happiness. I love that about God…only He can make us perfectly content when our surroundings shout otherwise. 🙂 He's he best. 🙂 Thanks for sharing today. Happy to be neighboring you at the Coffee for your Heart linkup today. (((blessings)))

    1. Isn’t it so like God to place that longing for Him deep within us as a warning signal that we’ve lost focus? I love it!

  4. Sarah Ann,
    I think the same things — when I reach this milestone, then I’ll be happy! But finding our satisfaction and contentment in what’s in front of us and looking to God to fill our souls and rest in his plans for us is the only way to find what so desperately eludes us. Appreciate these thoughts!

  5. Thanks for sharing, Sarah Ann. I was challenged by your opener because I dont think I’ll be fully happy until this old order of things has passed away. Who can be happy when so many are suffering? Who can enjoy cake when children are hungry? But I hear the smallest Voice saying, enjoy everything you can while you can. Every smile, every melody, even the beautiful flavors of food. My King did say blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, and blessed are those who mourn. He Himself was man acquainted with sorrow-so He gets it. But I know He loves it when I am light and carefree, for it means I cast my cares on Him.
    Blessings to you, thanks again,

    1. I am the same way! I often measure my “happiness” according to my circumstances, but that completely takes my eyes off the Lord. May I learn to remember how much He fills with joy when we seek Him with all our hearts. 🙂

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