Have you ever considered that happiness, the true kind, the kind that stays in your heart long after a joyful moment or experience has faded into the twilight, bursts forth from the wellspring of a relationship with Deity? Consider the words of the prophet Joseph Smith:
“We consider that God has created man with a mind capable of instruction, and a faculty which may be enlarged in proportion to the heed and diligence given to the light communicated from heaven to the intellect; and that the nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, till he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin; and like the ancients, arrives at that point of faith where he is wrapped in the power and glory of his Maker and is caught up to dwell with Him. But we consider that this is a station to which no man ever arrived in a moment: he must have been instructed in the government and laws of that kingdom by proper degrees, until his mind is capable in some measure of comprehending the propriety, justice, equality, and consistency of the same” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith , sel. Joseph Fielding Smith, 51).
“The nearer man approaches perfection”–in other words, the nearer a man approaches God, for is He not the sum of perfection? This one little phrase, the simplest and yet by far the hardest test of mortality—to approach perfection. This one little key can unlock happiness? This forging ahead and trying and failing and repenting and rising a little higher? And with each step closer to God, “the greater [our] enjoyments.” The greater our joy. The greater our happiness. And if we feel somewhat unhappy today, could we move a step closer to our Maker tomorrow? Would we, in turn, feel a bit closer to a lasting form of happiness as well? Yes, we will. But don’t just take my word for it. Try it out yourself. And see.
Identify one step you can take to approach a little closer to perfection, a little closer to God. Just one. And when you’ve taken that step, don’t be satisfied. Take another. And another. And another. Measure the increase of your happiness after the span of a week. And a month. And even a year. Record your transformation. Each step, each habit conquered, is a molding of ourselves to the image of Christ. Every step makes a difference, each small effort is eternally needed. Don’t discount the small and simple things.