Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Do You Want to be Happy?

This blog is based on my morning's devotional.  I think all of us are searching for something to make us happy - if we just had this guy or that girl or more money or more friends or more time or better ideas or a better job, etc...for everyone there is something out there that eludes us and makes us believe our happiness depends on this idea.  My devotional went like this and I've entered the comment flying through my head next to each thought or idea:

Do You Want To Be Happy? (Yeah - don't we all?)
What are you waiting for? (I have no idea - I feel pretty content)

Most people are waiting for something -- something "special" that will make their life great, so they can be happy.  (This is so true - I think that the lottery would make me happy, or writing a book, or finishing a story, or not having to work, or a bigger house, nice car, ocean front property, land to roam on, and the list goes on and on and on).

Ask yourself: have others had this, and are they all happy? No, they're not, and it won't give you lasting happiness, either.  (It does seem others have had money and they are still not happy.  Once it's there - its' gone and there is always something else they want - the keep searching and searching).

Happiness is not determined by external circumstances, but by internal circumstances.  (Boy howdy - truer words were never spoken.  I have lived both on external and internal happiness and I assure you - internal happiness is so much better!)

Everyone chooses how happy they are by what they choose to think about.  (Hmmm - I must admit, I'm not sure this is 100% accurate.  I rarely control my random thoughts and there are times things sneak into my mind that minimize my "happy thoughts," but only temporarily.  I think there is a lot of destruction and destitution in our world and this sometimes causes me to weep, to be sad.  I think this is normal).

Your attitude is determined by your perspective, which is determined by what you think about -- your focus. You choose your focus, so ultimately, you are the one who chooses whether to be happy, or not.  (I do believe, however, this is accurate.  My reaction to things is what makes the ultimate decision in my happiness.  Bad things happen, sad things happen, things happen that I question - the human in my wants to know why?  but, I often rsign to the fact that this very element is what separates me as a human from divine, I'm not meant to know why.  This is a very hard thing to accept - very hard.  And I don't do it well all the time, but I try, in earnest).

Perspective is what the Beatitudes (Matthew 5) are about. Seeing a bigger picture than just this one small moment of time. (The Beatitudes are where Jesus explained how some are blessed, or happy -- even in difficult situations.)

(The word we translate as "happy" in the New Testament is usually translated as "blessed.")

You won't get happiness by chasing what the world has to offer. It has already been tried and found wanting.  (The world offers a lot of crap.  Pardon the crass delivery, but it's true.  I teach a generation of young people that believe money, or a car, or a rap career is going to change their lives - no it won't.  And do you know why?  Because they believe said idea should just be handed to them, on a silver platter.  They have no concept of working for what they want and desire and learning that the drive, the motivation, the thirst to reach a goal is what makes one happy - not just the tangible item.  The world will change on you, it's not constant.  Moment to moment what's "it" becomes "not it" and now where have you gotten?  It's a roller coaster ride chasing what the "dream" may be).

And, you will never be happy as long as you are self-centered. A focus on self is guaranteed to prevent happiness. (This is true.  I don't think this is saying to not take care of yourself.  To make yourself happy - if you are miserable, you can't help anyone else.  Then again, sometimes taking the focus off of yourself and being a part of someone's life in a positive way can change your own perspective.  I know that being an Army wife has certainly changed my definition of happy vs. unhappy with regards to marriage, friendship, employment, children, and family.  A focus on only what you want and what you need is rarely effective, focus on others, too.)

Right after Jesus performed the menial task of washing his disciple's feet -- akin to cleaning toilets today -- He told them:

JOHN 13:15,17
15 I did this as an example for you. So you should do as I have done for you.
17 If you know these things, you will be happy if you do them.

You will be happy if you help others. If you take your focus off yourself. That's what Jesus taught.

SAY THIS: I choose to focus on God and be thankful and happy. 

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