When you look in the mirror, what do you see? I am reminded of a note that was placed on the mirror where I worked. It said, "You are looking at the only person who can make you happy." There is much talk about being happy, what is needed to make us happy, or something that causes us to be unhappy.
I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 NIV
Happiness is a choice. I have known people struggling with health or financial troubles, but you would never know it because they laugh, smile and care for others. Then there are other people who seem to have everything money and good health can provide, yet they frown and complain about the least little things. To me, Solomon states that happiness is a result of us doing good.
Webster's Dictionary defines happiness as "enjoying or characterized by well-being and contentment." Is that the secret...contentment? When we appreciate our life, those around us, being content and grateful for what the LORD has provided, doing good to others, then there is contentment. The apostle Paul had few luxuries if any, yet in prison he said he was content.
I have spoken to you with great frankness; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds. For when we came into Macedonia, we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever. Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while—yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. 2 Corinthians 7:4-9 NIV
I hope you agree from the two passages that happiness is not linked to possessions and living conditions, but is an emotion experienced because of the joy in the good that comes to others. Easy to say, but maybe not so easy to practice.
I read an email article about common activities found in people who are considered happy. The two items that have stuck with me are:
Serve others - there is always someone whose walk is more uphill than your own, and
Reflect - each evening, record in a journal, three things that were good about the day. Putting circumstances in perspective in light of the glory waiting for you in Eternity will help you appreciate what has been done and lead you to choose happiness.
I have to confess, I am a non-compliant at keeping a prayer journal. Considering my deep devotion to prayer, I fail at documentation. I want to, I think it would be wonderful to have a good record of all the wonderful things God has done in my live, but I fall short every time I start.
The other week, I attended a craft fair with my sweet friend and prayer warrior. We each bought new prayer journal. I started November 1, with a new commitment to document, happiness, joy, thanksgiving in my new journal instead of my list of requests. Each day I will wait expectantly to see the LORD's hand on my life and be grateful for the gifts.
Almighty, God of gods. You provide all we need, and much more than we could ask for or imagine, so may we be content like Paul. As You make us in the image of Your son, please help us demonstrate the joy of Your Holy Spirit in our lives because of the salvation purchased from the blood of Your perfect Son, Jesus Christ. In a world that tells us we need more, may we find our joy in You. Focus our eyes on the needs of others and remember all of Your blessings as we end each day. Help us to laugh in adversity and be joyful and happy that You have created each day that we may reflect Your righteousness. For in You is every good thing. Amen