FROM THE 'DEEP' END: Happiness is the truth

Staff Writer
The Destin Log
Eric Partin

They say that money can’t buy happiness, but as country singer Chris Janson says, “But it could buy me a boat, it could buy me a truck to pull it. It could buy me a Yeti 110 iced down with some silver bullets.” Which is basically the same thing as happiness.

Ok, maybe that’s not true. Having a boat and a Yeti won’t make you happy. Actually, it turns out that owning a boat takes a lot of work and money. But when you’re eyeing that center-console and trying to figure out how to move your finances around so you can afford it, you’re not thinking about how much time and money you'll have to spend maintaining it. You’re just thinking about how much fun you’re going to have out on the water.

I’m guilty of that and I know how easy it is to get caught up in chasing possessions. Even though I don’t believe that money or possessions can buy happiness, my actions can start to look like I believe otherwise if I’m not careful. In your pursuit of happiness, it’s easy to make mistakes and get focused on the wrong thing. It’s impossible to go through life without having something trip you up. It’s even harder if you trip up and you have no one there to weather the situation with you and help you get back on track. The funny thing is that finding happiness usually has more to do with the “who” than it does with the “what.”

I strongly believe that happiness is directly correlated to the healthy relationships we have. Having peace with God, having peace with those around us and being in an intentional community are all key to a happy life. The first two may seem obvious to a lot of people. It’s important to be right with God and to be kind to those around you, but that last one gets overlooked sometimes. What does it mean to be in community and what does it have to do with happiness?

In the Old Testament, Solomon, who was one of the wisest men who ever lived, wrote in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10:

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For it they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.”

Solomon understood something about living in community. He knew that people weren’t meant to carry out their lives on their own. To reach your full potential, you need someone there to make you stronger in the good times and there to pick you up in bad times. Community means having people around you who will help carry your burdens, encourage you in your faith, and know that you are there for them in the same way.

God created us to live this way because having these intentional relationships in our lives makes it much harder to forget what we believe and stray from our faith. Just like how I can trick myself into thinking I need that boat to be happy, even though I know it won’t, we all tend to have moments where we forget what we know is true. Isolation is good at making us forget what true things are. When we experience hard times, when we get offended or we come face to face with our own ambitions, it’s a lot easier to walk away from peace with God or peace with those around us if we aren’t living in community.

Wealth can be especially isolating. The Bible calls it “the deceitfulness of riches.” When we have everything we need and more, it’s easy to think that we don’t need anybody’s help, especially when wealth offers so many opportunities to pursue your own happiness. Without a community who’s there to walk through life with you, it’s easy to forget where true happiness comes from.

There is no guarantee for an easy life. There will always be ups and downs, mistakes, missteps and misfortune. In fact, God guarantees you will have troubles. But those troubles are a lot easier to take on when you have people to share the burden with you. When you aren’t doing life alone, happiness isn’t based in circumstances and material wealth. True happiness comes from knowing the peace of God and having a community to share that peace with.

Besides, a boat and Yeti 100 filled up with silver bullets is a lot more enjoyable with someone else.

Pastor Eric Partin is the lead pastor of Shoreline Church in Destin and can be reached at