In this world of difficulty and doubt, of struggles and hardships, of compromises and second choices, of injustice and affliction, each person comes to a crossroads in life. There are two roads with signposts on each that say, “Way to Happiness.” On the one hand is the road championed by the world, which promises much and delivers little. This road is taken by a vast array of people who are tricked into believing the billboards along the way. Those inducements, even your own internal dialogue, for taking this road can be compelling because of all their glitzy promises. Instead of happiness, though, this road can lead to depression, anxiety, and addiction.
There is another choice, another road. However, this road can appear less attractive when compared with the first. Because of this, it is a road less traveled. This is the road of faith, which uses a cross for a talisman. It does not say, “Take this road to avoid your pain.” It says, “Take this road because you must give it up. The one appears all about pleasure. The other appears all about sacrifice. In the heat of the moment, it can be hard to make the right choice.
American poet Robert Frost, in one of his most popular works, “The Road Not Taken,” illustrates the importance of the choices made in life in the last stanza of the poem:
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hences:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
In other words, you’ve come to a fork in the road — two paths promising to lead you to your desired destination. However, the one you choose may not be the most popular, but it may lead you to true happiness.
I guess what I want to leave you with is an exhortation to take the road less traveled because it will make all the difference. The world’s road eventually leads to a literal dead end. God’s road leads to eternity. Because it can be so difficult to choose the road less traveled, here are just a few things to remember as you stand at the crossroads each day:
- Happiness is a response to life that comes from the inside of a person, not from outside circumstances.
- Happiness is a gift from God, based upon His goodness and mercy apart from circumstances.
- Depression isn’t something you live with; it’s something you get help for.
- Worry and anxiety are a learned response to life that can be acknowledged, understood, and overcome.
- Addictions both mask and amplify pain; they never heal it.
- What you tell yourself becomes who you are, so be careful what you say.
- Relationships are meant to support you, not drag you down.
- Taking care of your body helps you take care of your heart, soul, and mind — all are used to love God.
- Stop trying to control your own life, and start trusting God to get you where you need to go.
As you embrace this new way of thinking, living, and responding, may you, in the words of Paul, come “to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:18-19). May this overpower the strongholds of depression, anxiety, and addictions in your life. May this be a fountain of unending happiness, the reason for your optimism, the source of your hope, and the reservoir of your joy.
Father, there is nothing that You cannot do. I ask You to transform and renew each person who reads this, through the power of Your Spirit. Give each one strength to persevere and courage to continue each day. Help each one to grow and mature in their trust in You. Reveal in each life, in a unique and personal way, the happiness that is the desire of their hearts. Fill them up to the brim with this happiness, and allow them to overflow in joy to those around them. May each become a source of happiness and blessing in this world until He comes.
SOURCE: Afterword, “The Role of Joy in Being Happy,” in Happy for the Rest of Your Life by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources, Inc.