Monday Morning Devotion-September 30, 2019
°I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances°I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. Philippians 4: 11, 13
In last week's devotion we talked about the value of saying: "Oh well" when difficulties, problems or aggravations arise. This takes the pressure off and sets the stage for you to be happy.
As promised, this week let's talk about what it means to "be happy." Of course, the key is to be content no matter how rocky the road seems because help is on its way. So, you don't have to worry. You can be happy.
In 1988 Bobby McFerrin recorded a song which had kind of a calypso beat to it that addressed the importance of being happy. It was called "Don't Worry Be Happy.' Here's part of it:
Don't worry be happy.
Ain't got no cash,
Ain't got no style,
Don't worry be happy
'cause when you worry
your face will frown
and that will bring everybody down.
So don't worry be happy.
The Apostle Paul, in writing to the church at Philippi stressed the importance of being
content, i.e. being happy. Basically, Paul pointed out that happiness or contentment is not automatic, nor is it a natural attitude. Rather, it is a learned skill. Paul's variety of ministry experiences had offered him times of plenty, as well as times of need. This allowed Paul to learn how to find joy, regardless of his circumstances. Happiness according to The Synonym Finder could also meaning "being well-pleased, delighted, and yes that word 'content' that Paul used in his instructions to the Philippians."
So, you see why being happy is a learned skill.
If you want to be happy but don't know how, there is endless advice on the internet.
Forbes has "How to be Happy: 20 Ways to be Happier Today; Psychology Today has: "How to be Happy; 23 Ways to Be Happier; The New York Times has its "How to Be Happy: Well Guides; Wikihow.com has "How to Be Happy: 23 Psychology-Backed Ways to Find Your Happiness." Seems like too much information doesn't it?
I waded through some of those because I had already made a commitment to share with you how to be happy and because Paul indicated that it was a learned skill. Here's some of the things I thought might be helpful www.wiki.howtodoanything.com:
To develop a happy outlook might require changing your thoughts in some ways. People have a tendency to remember negative experiences and forget the positive ones. Focus on the pleasing ones and make small events into appreciated experiences. Personally, I've found a good way to do this is to thank the Lord for little things throughout the day. Things that I might ordinarily take for granted.
Try to find positives in all your experiences. Harsh experiences can be turned into learning experiences: "Now I know. I won't do that again."
Cultivate optimism. There is power in intentions and having a purpose. This positive thinking is an "important component of self-esteem and overall life satisfaction."
Practice gratitude. There's lots of research out there that confirms that gratitude is good for you. It reduces anxiety and depression and helps you become more positive, strengthens you relationships with others and encourages compassion. It has been shown to increase your feelings of happiness.
I found it interesting that this article said: "Some people are naturally higher in 'trait gratitude,' or the natural likelihood of feeling thankful. However, you can train yourself to develop an 'attitude of gratitude no matter how high or low your level of trait gratitude is.'"
Then you can say to yourself; "Hey this is a wonderful moment I want to remember how grateful I feel for it." Give it time to sink in and it will be stored up in your memories.
Know your core values. How you think about yourself, your life, the world around you.
Picture your best possible self. Try to visualize the future you and how you will look and feel after you have achieved these goals. Then identify the characteristics that will help you get there.
Finally, show yourself some self-compassion. Don't beat up on yourself when you make a mistake or dwell on negative thoughts. Hey, nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes and do things from time to time that could have been done better or not at all. The thing is we serve a forgiving God. One who loves us.
As I was doing my daily meditation, this morning and the SOAP journaling exercise I do to start my day on the right foot I came across this from Sarah Young ("Jesus Calling"):
"Marvel at the wonder of sitting here in your easy chair and communing with the Creator of the universe. Though he is the King of the universe, He is totally accessible to you. Nothing can separate you from His presence." That's pretty amazing when you think about it.
In yesterday's message we are told: "Pour all your energy into trusting Him. It is through trust that you stay connected to Him and aware of His Presence. Every step on your life journey can be a step of faith. Baby steps of trust are simple for you; you can take them with almost unconscious ease. Giant steps require sheer concentration, as well as utter commitment to Him. That type of trust and commitment enables you to leap across chasms in semi-darkness scaling cliffs of uncertainty."
Those kinds of results will enable you to "Be Happy."
Prayer: Thank you Lord for the many ways your love enables us to be happy. Amen!