Get Your Happy On!

Don’t put the key to happiness in someone else’s pocket. ~ Author Unknown

Happiness. Is it really as elusive as some might say? Are the problems of the world, or even just the ones in your own life, enough to steal your happiness and joy?

I don’t think so. Happy is a choice you make every moment and in every circumstance. You can choose to be miserable and depressed, or you can choose to look at life from a ‘glass half-full’ perspective. The nice thing about a glass that’s only half full is there’s still room for more! You’ve got enough, and that’s great; but what else might come along to fill your heart (or your glass) to overflowing? Just thinking about the possibilities should make you smile.

Please understand that no matter what you’re dealing with, there are ways to ‘get’ happy. Here are some of the other things you can ‘get’ to help you along.

Get Faith. … whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he (Prov. 16:20) For it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13) It’s been proven time and time again that people who trust in God are happier and more content than those who believe only in themselves and the world around them.

Often, when life’s circumstances seem overwhelming, I will comment to one friend or another, “What do people do who don’t believe in God? How do they cope?” The comfort of knowing that Someone else is ultimately in charge is huge! Knowing that there is LIFE after life, and that God has promised to never leave me nor forsake me, gives me the courage and determination to keep going. Knowing I can cast all my cares, worries, problems and issues on His broad shoulders, and that somehow He’ll make it all work out, gives me permission to be happy anyway – no matter what’s going on.

The Bible says you’ll be happy when you get wisdom and understanding (read Proverbs 3). Wisdom and understanding of what? Of God’s presence and goodness, His power and dominion, His mercy, goodness and grace, and His willingness to give us everything we need in abundance. That’s why He says to think on these things instead of all your problems and disappointments. When life overwhelms, dig into the Word and rejoice in His promises to you.

Get Grateful. … proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all Thy wondrous works (Ps. 26:7) It’s hard to stay miserable when you’re thinking about all the good stuff in your life. And make no mistake, there’s far more than you’re really aware of! Are you breathing? Do your arms and legs, eyes and ears work? Do you have a place to live and food on your table?

We each have a mental ‘Lost and Found’. Unfortunately, it’s easy to tally up the stuff we’ve lost – loved ones, a marriage, our childhood perhaps; or maybe a job, friends or fortune – whatever seems missing or broken in your life. But, you can choose to keep a different list – a list of blessings. … Are any of you happy? You should sing praises (James 5:13 NLT)

I’ve found that I can smile when I pay attention to the simple things – sunshine, a cup of hot tea, a smile from the bank teller, a quick hug from a friend, a bright bloom in my garden, a traffic light that turned green when I was in a hurry, a parking place at the mall. The list is almost endless if you will become aware of all the little blessings in your life.

I have a friend who comments, “Any day you’re looking down at the grass is a good day!” In other words, if you’re here on this planet, you’ve got plenty to look forward to and be grateful for. Get happy about that!

Get Optimistic. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God … (Rom. 8:28) … being confident of this very thing, that He who hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the Day of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:6) Happiness doesn’t always have to be that giddy, laugh-out-loud euphoria that’s found in special moments. After all, life is a day-by-day experience of ups and downs. But you can learn to look at your situation with an expectation that things will work out.

I’ve found that life tends to give you what you expect. If you’re miserable, misery follows you everywhere. But if you’ll anticipate and assume that it’s going to be OK, that’s what happens. Often, it’s even better than what you thought it could be. Why? Because you thought and spoke ‘happy thoughts’ about your life and circumstances. The Bible says as we think in our hearts, so are we. If you want happy, think happy!

Get together. And let us consider one another … not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together … (Heb. 10:24-25) God understood our need for companionship and fellowship. He created Eve for Adam, and ordained marriage for our good. Married couples live longer and stay healthier, according to experts. Social people are happier than hermits. In addition, church goers are happier and more satisfied with life than those who don’t attend. Why? In part, because of the friendships they develop with like-minded people.

You don’t need to wait for an invitation or event to ask a friend in for coffee or to meet for lunch. Even better, ask someone whom you think might be lonely or sad. You’ll feel better for encouraging someone else and they’ll be happier, too. Happy is contagious, so spread it around!

Get over it. He that despiseth his neighbor sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he. (Prov. 14:21) Remember that ‘Lost and Found’ list? Well, you need to lose all those feelings of hurt, anger, envy, resentment and unforgiveness. If you do, you’ll find the joy, peace and happiness you seek.

You see, joy can’t live with anger any more than love can dwell with hate. You can’t go south if you’re headed north. Jesus said, “If you have aught against any, forgive.” No matter whom it is, no matter what the reason. So get over it! Forgive everyone for everything. Cut the chains of past hurts that are holding you prisoner. You’re the one who gets free!

Get out of debt. Owe no man anything but to love him … (Rom. 13:8). This might seem to be a strange point when we’re dealing with happiness. After all, everyone understands that ‘money doesn’t buy happiness’. However, you know how difficult it is to be positive if you owe everyone and his brother. When the payments are greater than the paycheck, happy is elusive. You’re too busy worrying about how to keep the creditors off your back.

The Blessing detailed in the first 14 verses of Deuteronomy 28 says God will bless you so much that you’ll lend and not borrow. Isn’t that a great promise! When you’ve got more than enough to meet your own needs, you can bless others. That’s a happy place to be! And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work (2 Cor. 9:8).

Get busy. … but glory, honor and peace to every man who worketh good (Rom. 2:10) As we therefore have opportunity, let us do good unto all men … (Gal. 6:10). When my mother got upset, she’d iron or scrub a floor – anything to keep herself busy and productive. While she was working, she’d sing – off key, to be sure, but joyful, nonetheless.

Often the quickest way to get yourself out of a funk is to go do something – anything – that will take your mind off your problems. There’s something peaceful and fulfilling in accomplishment. Feeling down? Go clean out that closet or the dining room table. Feeling mad? Go pull weeds in the garden. Don’t just sit there having a pity party for one, get busy.

Even better, turn your project into something that helps someone else (we had the neatest clothes and the cleanest floors in the county!). The quickest way to forget your own problems is to help someone else overcome theirs.

If happiness seems elusive, don’t sit and wait for it to come to you. Go get it! Trust God to shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Ps. 16:11).

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