Monday, February 18, 2013

Choose happiness

The pursuit of happiness is a right given to us Americans, by our Creator, annotated in the Declaration of Independence.  The second paragraph says, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."  That being said, you have the right to pursue happiness.  Being happy is optional.

Being happy is what I'm all about.  Maybe you noticed the name of my blog.  It's hard to be happy in all things at all times.  I can't even imagine that kind of bliss.  In fact, I'm going to go so far as to say that it is impossible to be happy all the time.  If you were never sad or mad or bored, how would you know when you were happy?  If the pursuit of happiness is a right, endowed to us by God, then why do we seem hell bent to throw happiness away at almost every opportunity?

Yesterday my pastor talked about giving away our happiness.  Of course, my ears perked up immediately.  After all, I'm all about the Happiness.  He was focusing on happiness within a family.  I agree with him on that point.  I think it is critical to be happy within ones own family.  After all, families are the ones who know us best.  Family is where we go to be rested and restored after being out in the workplace all day.  Family is (or should be) our soft place to fall.  Yet, because we know each other so well, we know how to hurt each other so well, too.  Because we spend so much time together, we develop expectations that are impossible to meet.  Every time you lay the blame for your situation at someone else's feet, you give away your happiness.  When the "someone" you choose to blame for your situation is a family member, you've allowed conflict to come into your home. 

The following is the passage from the bible that was used to illustrate this point.  One thing we can think about when reading these verses in the book of James, is that James was the younger brother of Jesus.  He was a member of Jesus' family.

James 4:1-3 says, "What causes fights and quarrels among you?  Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?  You desire but do not have, so you kill.  You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight.  You do not have because you do not ask God.  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures."

Another passage used to refine this point was the passage from Paul in Romans 7 where Paul says he does the things he doesn't want to do and then doesn't do the things he wants to do.  It's sounds a bit like Abbot and Costello's "Who's on first," but it is worth taking the time to read.

Romans 7:14-20, "We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.  I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.  And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.  As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.  For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.  Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it."

It seems as if we cannot win for losing, according to Paul.  But what if we could bat 500?  Seriously, a batting average of 500 is awesome.  What if, in an argument, you paused?  What if, when you start feeling frustrated with your spouse, child, mother, father, sibling..., you took a beat?  What if you said, "You know what part of the problem we're having here is?  Part of this problem is, I'm not getting what I want."

Wouldn't that be a stunner.

I know many of you are probably thinking that it isn't fair for the blame of a conflict to be laid at your own feet.  Well, life isn't fair, my friend.  And, we often, if not mostly, pull the fair card only when we don't get something we want.  We don't usually worry too much if someone else isn't getting what they want.

We are responsible for our own happiness.  When we abdicate that responsibility to someone else, we are throwing our happiness away.  Look back at the verses from James, "You do not have because you do not ask God.  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives,..." 

Check your motives.  Do you want to be happy?  Don't allow your happiness to be another's responsibility.

174.  The feeling of anticipation (isn't that more than half the fun of any situation/)
175.  Chocolate
176.  Tulips (all the secretaries got a pot of tulips, but me.  I'm still good with it, 'cause I get to look at theirs)
177.  No traffic on the way to work because everyone else has this day off
178.  Finishing the curtains for my son's house
179.  Enjoying making my son's favorite dinner when he visits on Sundays


  1. oh nice...i really like your pause in the fight...and lets be honest, most conflict is not without blame on either side...on the large scale, i think we are on a happiness quest that is very dangerous...always going for what makes us happy...and not all will...

  2. I'm involved in the Beth Moore James study right now.  Digging deep into that word.  Just like our anger is our own, our happiness is also our own.  We always have the choice.   Good word.

  3. I remember how freeing it was to realize I didn't have to let someone else's mood or actions affect my own!  Yes, happiness is a choice!

  4. I've always said that to people, "We are responsible for our own happiness."  It's true.

  5. I would rather be happy than right.  

  6. This took me years to learn - that only I can make myself happy.  And it IS a choice.   For too long, I looked to other people or circumstances to be optimistic about life.  And being "happy" is really a shallow pursuit.  Being who God created me to be is the better goal.  :-)


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