In November, we took time to continue thinking what we love and what we should focus on as health professional students.  We watched parts one and two Agenda 5:15 video, What Do You Love..  If you are interested in the other series of Agenda 5:15, please visit it on YouTube. 

Pursuit of Happiness

Everyone wants to be happy!

What is the first thing comes to mind when you think about happiness? How do you define happiness?  In other words, what makes you happy? Money, family, friends, sex, a good beer or glass of wine, surfing, backpacking, skiing, clubbing, dancing, traveling, or simply all the "stuff" you buy? 

In Dr. Robert Spitzer's book, "Healing the Culture,” he outlines four levels of happiness and three corresponding levels of unhappiness – each equated with the abuse of the first three levels of happiness. God has designed us to be happy,

First, we enjoy the sensuous gifts that produce ‘animal happiness’ - good food & drink, sex and rest.
Next, God has given us a mind to control our passions (the abuse of animal happiness) and to seek to improve and increase our education & skills in order to better our lot and society in general.
Third, God has commanded that we love each other as we love ourselves. Focusing our minds and attention on other people tends to minimize our selfishness while increasing the net happiness of our circle of family and friends.
Finally, God encourages us to love like he loves, without any expectation of reciprocity, of being loved in return. Few of us spend much time at this level, as we are too self-focused, but when we make occasional forays into this arena, surprise! The rewards are certainly worth it!

Enduring happiness seems counter-intuitive because it depends on an outward focus rather than ‘event or stuff related pleasure.’ Everyone enjoys a good meal, a new car or a fun vacation, but these come to an end (we look forward to our next meal in a few hours, cars get old and vacations quickly end) and each requires another “fix” if we want to repeat each happiness event.

Happiness that travels with us everywhere we go, i.e. enduring contentment, requires deep gratitude and satisfaction with the way things are – even while we seek to enjoy short term pleasures, self improvement, and service to each other and God.

Happiness abounds as we serve God as health professionals, seeking to “heal” others. Everyone needs ultimate healing… healing from our own sins or the pain inflicted on us by others.  There is, of course, nothing we can do to earn this ultimate healing from God.  The gift of salvation is free to everyone.  Receiving the forgiveness Jesus offers everyone is the first step to enduring happiness – resulting in peace with God.  Fellowship with a community of “like-minded travelers” facilitates further growth as we learn to love God and each other, learning to live as Jesus modeled for us.

If you have questions or comments about God, happiness, forgiveness or anything mentioned above, please feel free to e-mail or to come to one our weekly meetings.

Based on a talk given by Michael McLaughlin, M.Div., the Western Regional Director of CMDA

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