Personal journey: Discovering happiness through faith

Graphic by Carleen Loney @shloneys

Money isn’t the key to happiness.

Questions about happiness and its connection to money have often crossed my mind. What is happiness? How do we find it? Can money truly be the ultimate source of joy? These were questions that would constantly come up while pursuing what I believed would make me happy, like attending my dream university and working in a job I loved.

Throughout my childhood, happiness was always linked to materialism. Money was the predominant love language I received as a child, and it seemed to be the only source of joy in my life. I was fortunate to travel during school holidays, received constant gifts, and seemingly had everything I asked for. Outwardly, I appeared to be a content and fulfilled girl. I was called a “princess” by family and friends. However, there was always a void in my heart: I was longing for a different type of love. 

As a teenager, I battled with depression and what made it worse was not knowing the root cause of my misery. Despite possessing what many would consider to be everything, the symptoms of depression manifested. I used to cry daily and became open about my suicidal ideation. I transitioned from being a “princess” to a “spoiled child.” What I had grown up believing would bring me happiness failed to align with my reality. I was confused, and this forced me to start asking questions. 

After talking with friends and professionals about my emotional state, I gained a better understanding of my reality. I discovered that I had grown up lacking affection and love, which as a result made me struggle with low self-esteem and anger. The void within me tormented me, and I desperately sought a way to fix it without knowing how. I realized that I couldn’t turn back time to change my past. Healing my inner child became my responsibility.

One evening in July, as I scrolled through Instagram before bed, an animation reel caught my attention. It depicted Jesus reciting the Romans 8:18 verse, which reads: “The pain that you have been feeling cannot compare to the joy that is coming.” As a Muslim at the time, I didn’t believe in Jesus, nor did I care to learn about Him. However, after reading that Bible verse, the pain in my chest, which was caused by prolonged stress, suddenly stopped. For the first time in years, I slept in peace.

In the following days, I started encountering individuals who would preach the gospel to me. All of a sudden, I felt it in my heart that everything that has ever happened in my life is a call for me to be Christian. 

Following my revelation, I gave up everything and converted. I lost my old lifestyle, family members and some friends. However, what I gained is far more valuable. I transitioned from feeling unworthy and being thirsty for love to knowing that “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139). The peace, love, and happiness I’ve experienced since discovering religion is deeper and stronger than the short-term pleasure you get from spending a weekend at Disneyland or buying a designer bag. 

Sometimes, the inner self requires more than what can be obtained physically, and no amount of money can compensate for the void within. In my journey toward healing, seeking faith has played a crucial role. 

Faith has provided me with a sense of purpose, a supportive community, and a connection to something greater than myself. It has become a source of strength, helping me address the wounds of my inner child and navigate through life’s challenges. Healing and restoring our happiness is a life-long journey, and I believe that this journey is unique for each individual.

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