Happiness is when I do not want. When I am not thinking about my needs, I am happy. These times tend to come when I am with friends and am enjoying their company. I also feel this way when I am serving others. When I am focused on another, I am not thinking about myself, my needs, or my desires. That is happiness.
I grew up hearing that success was when you had a house, a car, and could afford nice vacations. Essentially success was wrapped up in money. That is not how I view success. To me, I will be successful when others come to me for advice or help. I will be successful when I have grown enough in my field, in both experience and knowledge, to teach and guide others. I hope to be able to pass something on to others, whether it is my children, or children in the community I am a part of. This is because I do not believe that simply having money makes you successful. We live lives constantly connected to others, and I believe that as a Christian I am called to serve others, and not myself. It is this and not our culture that shapes my view of success.
Suffering is an inevitable part of our lives because of sin. All of us are turned inward and focused on ourselves. When we are focused on ourselves we tend to hurt others. This is not to say that we cannot learn or grow from suffering. In suffering we can learn more about ourselves, grow stronger, and often see the great grace that God has given us.
To say that life is meaningful implies that we are living for more than just our own personal gain. I believe that means our lives gain meaning from outside. Meaning is gained from the identity I have as a Christian, saved and in service to my neighbor.
"Millennials appear to be more interested in living lives defined by meaning than by what some would call happiness. They report being less focused on financial success than they are on making a difference." - EMILY ESFAHANI SMITH