Summary: There is nothing wrong with wanting to be happy in and of itself. However, biblically there is a difference between "happiness" and "joy." Here is a list of things to rid your life of as you seek to find happiness which will hopefully lead to true joy.
Everyone, believer or non-believer, wants to achieve happiness. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be happy as long as it is not our end all goal. Other than not having a relationship with Christ, the biggest thing that holds us back from accomplishing our dreams is, unfortunately, ourselves. We put limitations on ourselves every day, whether consciously or subconsciously. There are several practical things we can do to overcome these restraints.
“Life can either be something you embrace or something you hide from.” Stop making things more complicated than they actually are and just start living your life. It would be so much easier and more enjoyable if we would learn to just release certain unnecessary and unbiblical limitations.
Let's look at some of the things you need to let go of on your journey to becoming a happier person. I am fully aware of the biblical difference between happiness and true joy, so please don't criticize this work before you begin reading it. My purpose is to simply offer basic instructions for better living. So, with that in mind, things you need to let go of are:
1. The Approval of Others
When it really boils down to it, who cares what other people think? If you are happy with the decisions you have made, and you have sought God's will along the way, then whose business is that but you and God's? Imagine how much you could accomplish if you stopped letting other people's opinions dictate the way you live your life. You do you, don't let them do you. Pray, obey and study the Word, and from there take the actions you discover that might improve your life.
Galatians 1:10, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (ESV).
2. Anger, Bitterness and Resentment
Anger will eat away at you from the inside. Learn how to forgive those who may have wronged you. This isn't about dismissing the other persons harmful actions; it is about easing the pain that it caused inside of you. Remember that whoever you let anger you controls you. Forgiveness and letting go can actually lead you down the road of healing and peace.
Colossians 3:13, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (NIV).
3. Negative Body Image
This is a big one in the culture we find ourselves living in. Only one person's opinion should matter to you when it comes to your body and that is you. There is nobody out there who can determine what a “correct” body type is. If you are comfortable with yourself, and you are healthy, then that should be all that matters. Do not let others make you feel that you are less than beautiful because if you believe you are, then you are.
Ephesians 2:10a, “For we are his [God's] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus...” (ESV).
Genesis 1:27, “So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (NLT).
4. Finding a Perfect Partner
There is no such thing as a perfect partner, so go ahead and throw your checklist in the garbage. In life, often times what keeps us from moving forward is looking at the perfect image of a partner that we create in our minds. Find the right person for you: one that you can pour all of your heart into, one you feel comfortable being yourself with. The sooner you realize there is no one perfect person out there for you, the better off you will be. The following is not a bible verse as has been the pattern so far, but I believe the words are appropriate for our purposes on this point.
“He's not perfect. You aren't either, and the two of you
will never be perfect. But if he can make you laugh at
least once, causes you to think twice, and if he admits
to being human and making mistakes, hold onto him
and give him the most you can. He isn't going to quote
poetry, he's not thinking about you every moment, but
he will give you a part of him that he knows you could
break. Don't hurt him, don't change him, and don't ex-
pect for more than he can give. Don't analyze. Smile
when he makes you happy, yell when he makes you
mad, and miss him when he's not there. Love hard when
there is love to be had. Because perfect guys don't ex-
ist, but there's always one guy that is perfect for you
(emphasis mine).” - Bob Marley