“Men are, that they might have joy.”
This concept that people are alive so they can have joy seems like a really strange idea in the world right now. With so much turmoil, anger, misunderstanding and even hatred around, where is a person to find happiness and joy in a way that will last?
Sometimes you may look to things you can possess to make you feel good. It may be you seek fulfillment from a positive response when you have completed a task or done something to help another person. You may seek gladness in the success of those you love and care about. In fact, there are many, many ways we can and do look for joy in the the world around us.
Some of the ways we look for happiness in the world around us are much better than others at providing happiness that lasts for a while, but even those fade away and have to be experienced again for the happiness to return.
So how do we find happiness that lasts?
Russell M. Nelson, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has said, “The joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with with the focus of our lives.” So lasting happiness starts within us and permeates outward.
When you focus your life on looking for and doing good, your ability to feel joy increases so you can experience it more often. Since “every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God” (see Moroni 7:13) then, when you seek to do good, you will be moving closer to Jesus Christ.
President Nelson also said that, “joy comes from and because of [Jesus Christ]. He is the source of all joy. … When the focus of our lives is on God’s plan of salvation, … and Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening—or not happening—in our lives.”
The lasting joy and happiness that you feel in your life will come from the choices you make. And no one but you can keep it from you. Of this joy, President Nelson said, “Just as the Savior offers peace that ‘passeth all understanding,’ He also offers an intensity, depth, and breadth of joy that defy human logic or mortal comprehension. For example, it doesn’t seem possible to feel joy when your child suffers with an incurable illness or when you lose your job or when your spouse betrays you. Yet that is precisely the joy the Savior offers. His joy is constant, assuring us that our ‘afflictions shall be but a small moment’ and be consecrated to our gain.”