Why Happiness is Hiding From You

A few years ago (ok, maybe like 10!), my family gathered around a large cheese pizza and I overheard a conversation between our son Clayton and his friend Brandon. “It’s hard to make flamingo’s happy,” Brandon sighed with resignation.

“I know,” consoled Clayton.


“What?” I asked. “How do your boys know about the emotional state of flamingos?!”

Brandon began to explain how his computer game called “Zoo Tycoon” gave him the opportunity to create natural habitats for animals. He ticked off a quick list of the animals that were easy to satisfy because their habitat needs were not very complex. “See, Mom,” Clayton interrupted, “I told you computer games were educational!”

Brandon continued, “But, flamingos never are satisfied with their habitat.”

At this point, my curiosity was peaked so I asked them to describe the habitat that the persnickety prima-dona of all birds required. The guys talked about the balance between salt and fresh water. They described the exact amounts of sand and savannah grass that the flamingos wanted.

I must admit, they did know a whole lot more about flamingos than I did! When I think of flamingos, they’re usually hot pink and plastic and sticking out of a summer drink or planted in someone’s yard!

Happiness is not in your habitat or defined by what happens to you.
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They continued to reason and formulate about how they could make those flamingos happy as I sunk my teeth into my cheese pizza.

I remember thinking how the flamingos sounds a lot like some of us. You see, there are a lot of us who aren’t happy. If life doesn’t present just the right balance, or if our habitat is below our standards, we tend to turn our nose up and frown. Lots of us are as complicated as our feathered friends.

We seem to think our happiness lies within our habitat.

We mistakenly believe that if we could make everything that happens around us perfect,  then we would be happy.

The problem is that happiness has nothing to do with our habitat; it has everything to do with our heart.

Those of us who spend all our time and energy on seeking happiness will never find it. Happiness is fleeting and illusive. However, those of us who spend our time and energy seeking the Lord will find happiness.

Happiness isn’t in our habitat, or what happens to us. It is only in God.

True satisfaction comes only when you seek a sure thing. Our Savior said in the Sermon on the Mount that “Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires, God will satisfy them fully!” Matthew 5:6 NLT.

As I sat their listening to the boys discuss the flamingo, I was challenged in my heart and I hope their wisdom about flamingos challenges you too! We can’t look for our happiness anywhere but in God. Happiness isn’t hiding from us. It’s asking that we seek something far greater – seek Someone far greater. For when you seek Him, you will find Him and in His presence is fullness of joy.

“You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” Psalm 16:11

Question: Have you ever been a flamingo and looked for happiness in your surroundings? 

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