Happiness as a choice is the vaccine…

“Every day we have plenty of opportunities to get angry, stressed, or offended. But what you’re doing when you indulge these negative emotions is giving something outside yourself power over your happiness. You can choose to not let little things upset you.”

Joel Osteen

The little things are the stressors that wear us out.  The ones that make us lose sight of what’s truly important. When we embrace the little things that make us angry and upset we are building a negativity cancer inside ourselves.  

There is no doubt that there are more opportunities to be stressed and offended in life than there are seconds in the day.  Looking for the anger, offense or stress has to be the biggest waste of energy on the planet.  Nothing positive can come out of it.  It reminds me of the old saying, “allowing these types of things to impact you is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die.” 

Happiness is a choice, and it is a choice that is a vaccine to the cancer of negativity that can build, but only if you allow it to happen.

 

 

How do you find happiness?

“It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.”
 
L.M. Montgomery

I just finished reading a fascinating and compelling historical fiction titled “Beneath a Scarlet Sky” by Mark Sullivan.  It is an incredible story about a young Italian patriot in WWII fighting against Nazi tyranny and oppression. When I read stories like this and what others have gone through it really puts everything in life firmly in perspective.  

One of my favorite passages in the entire book reads: “How do you find happiness?” Anna paused, then said, “You start by looking right around you for the blessings you have.  When you find them, be grateful.” “Father Re says the same thing,” Pino said, “He says, to give thanks for every day, no matter how flawed.  And to have faith in God and a better tomorrow.”

Finding happiness and enjoyment is truly a choice and a belief that, no matter what, there will be a better tomorrow.  

Hard work fuels happiness…

“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you are climbing it.”

Andy Rooney

I had the opportunity to go hiking today which is one of my absolute favorite ways to spend time outdoors.  It was a tough hike, very wet, slippery, and steep.  The hike to our particular destination was 3.5 miles, which doesn’t sound that far except that it was almost all downhill on very muddy and rocky terrain.  I probably spent 90% of my time looking down at the ground picking out safe places to put my feet so I wouldn’t trip and fall.  At the end of the hike was one of the most spectacular views I have ever seen.  It was truly worth worth every second of effort and focus.

As I was taking in the incredible vista and marveling at the beauty of God’s kingdom it occurred to me that if I had’t had to work so hard for the view, it might not have been so impressive.  The view was spectacular, but if I had simply gotten out of the car, taken a picture, and gotten right back in, it wouldn’t have meant nearly as much. The joy found in the view came as a result of the work put forth to get there.

Interestingly enough, the 3.5 mile hike back, which was all uphill, passed in a flash and didn’t seem nearly as hard as the hike in.  The happiness from the accomplishment provided all the  fuel that was needed…

How can you choose happiness?

“People are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

Abraham Lincoln

It is amazing how true this quote is.  Some people, who have everything, are never happy.  Others, who by the measure of the world, have nothing, are incredibly happy.  Why is this?  What is the difference between these types of people?  Why do some people choose to be unhappy and others choose to be happy?  

Over the past several weeks I have been doing a devotional on happiness and one verse has been stuck in my mind of late.  “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 

If you are working for something else, for a bigger calling, happiness isn’t dependent on receiving affirmation from this world.  Something to ponder.  Happiness is a choice…

Worthy of your very best?

“Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best.”

Theodore Isaac Rubin

Think  back to some of the biggest accomplishments in your life.  Did the satisfaction come from achieving the simple things or was it the completion of some momentous goal?  There is nothing like doing the really hard work and then seeing the finished product.  The beauty of this is that it also creates a desire for more hard work because you know what you are capable of accomplishing when you perform at your best.  

I can’t remember all the easy tasks and accomplishments from my life but I can easily list the efforts that were the hardest to achieve.  I felt happiness but also a sense of purpose and pride, that the hard work was worth it and had paid off.  

I vividly remember being at mile #16 during my last Ironman marathon knowing that I only had 10 miles left to go, that all the pain in my body was temporary, that all the training and effort put in to get that point was paying off.  The last mile of the race was a blur but running through the crowds at the finish line was pain free even though every fiber of my body was tired and ready to quit.  The Ironman race (or any other endurance event) is never really accomplished on race day.  It is completed well beforehand during the long training days and early morning workouts.  The race itself is the reward, the feeling of accomplishment afterwards is the icing on the cake, it becomes the fuel for the next big thing.

The feeling of happiness from accomplishing some great task is both the reward, and the motivation for future endeavors.  What is the next great thing that is worthy of your very best?

 

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