by Pastor Susannah Pittman

Earlier this month, Lonnie and I began teaching the study, “What Makes You Happy?” by Andy Stanley. This study explores what happiness is and connects it to our relationship with God. Over the past several days, I’ve been reflecting upon “happiness” and what it is that makes me and us “happy.” There are lots of little moments and things that bring me happiness. Quality time with my family and loved ones. Playing the piano and listening to music. A beautiful spring or fall day. Cake—and the more icing, the better! Coffee and hot tea. Traveling. Engaging conversation. Laughter. And the list goes on. In these things, I am reminded of the goodness of life and the goodness and love of our God. And I imagine that you, too, have a list of things that make you happy.

As we think about happiness and what makes us happy, we are invited to turn inward and to also think about our relationship with God. Sometimes, we may think of happiness as an emotion that is dependent upon our circumstances, or a fleeting moment, or even a rather superficial “happy-go-lucky” attitude. True happiness, however, transcends our circumstances and is rooted in our hearts and our relationships with God. Andy Stanley emphasizes in his study that true happiness is found in peace with God, peace with others, and peace with ourselves. Similarly, true happiness comes from love of God, love of others, and love of ourselves. Perhaps you have experienced this true happiness through relationships where you are loved and accepted just for who you are; through those experiences where you are able to use and celebrate the unique gifts and graces God has given you; through the moments when you have felt God’s profound presence with you or that “peace that passes all understanding” even in the midst of life’s storms. True happiness doesn’t depend upon the situations in which we find ourselves, but rather true happiness comes from God’s peace and love for us and our call to share this peace and love with others.

I have only been with you at Assurance for a short time, but I have already experienced true happiness in this place. From your sincere and gracious hospitality and fellowship to the dynamic and uplifting worship to the numerous ministries that empower us to “Go and Grow” in Christ, I have experienced God’s peace and love personally and have been touched by the many ways you share God’s peace and love with one another and with the community.  You put a true smile on my face, and I look forward to continuing to partner in ministry with you as we grow in Jesus and go in service!