I’ve gotten a fresh round of criticism lately and most of it flows back to a single source: There are people so grumpy that it annoys them that I am happy.
It’s as if we’ve grown so accustomed to whining about everything that we now have decided to whine about people who aren’t whining.
Maybe our entire country is depressed?
People seem pessimistic that optimism is even possible.
I love my life. And I’m not afraid to state it.
Critics– Go buy some cotton candy and watch kids on the merry-go-round for an hour.
2009 sucked in many ways but galvanized one important thing: I am comfortable with who God has made me to be, come what may.
And in releasing that anxiety God rewarded my life with a flood of blessing.
Why am I happy? I’m challenged in new ways all the time. And I love that. I’m learning all the time. And I love that. I am doing things that matter. And I love that.
My bills are paid. My kids are safe. Our family is growing. I take joy in the simple things. I take joy in being charitable with my time and treasures. I stop and smell the roses. I have many things in my life I could complain about but I simply chose not to.
Find someone to high five and give them one! Glory to God!
And yet I know it bugs people to say that I’m happy. In some Christian circles happiness really isn’t allowed… only contentedness. If you are too happy that is somehow sinful. This reminds me of the Puritans, who forbade comfortable furniture because being too comfortable or sleeping too well would somehow lead you to sin.
Happiness is not bad. Jesus’ sermon on the mount contained something we call the beatitudes. This was a list of counter-culture things that should make us happy! (Read Matthew 5) Blessed is just a fancy way of saying, “Happy.” Reread the beatitudes and insert that word. It’ll rock your world.
See, happiness is an attitude I chose. It comes from within and not from circumstances. It’s why I can walk around a tent city in Port-au-Prince and meet widows who tell me, “I don’t have anything but I am happy. In Christ, I have everything I could ever need.”
Say it with me, “I love my life.”
I’ve met too many church staff members this year who have chosen dissatisfaction as their attitude. It’s as if nothing short of being the most famous person in the world. Loving God and serving his people in their town just isn’t satisfying. We sit down and they list 25 things that are going great in their ministry. But that one thing drives them to dissatisfaction and bitters their whole life.
You can smell it on them. Literally, it is a stench of dissatisfaction. It’s hard to be around.
My advice? Chose a new attitude today. Join me in choosing happiness.
Write it down. Declare it to some people. Make today the day you chose happiness.
Actually say it out loud, right now. “I love my life.”
Maybe it’s the first time you’ve ever said that out loud. Practice it a few more times… “I love my life.” Say it again and again until it feels natural.
Kind of freeing, isn’t it? Go ahead, text it to your spouse right now. “Baby, I love our life.”
Happiness comes from within. It is absent from circumstances. A happy person is happy because they’ve chosen to be happy. And choosing to be happy can be one of the most powerful, life-changing things you could ever do.
Go and tell
Imagine the joy it would cause if people in your life to know that you’re happy? Think about the sweet lady in your church who has told you over and over again that she prays for you daily. Or your boss. Or your mom. You know– the people who really care about you and your happiness.
Let it be known that you love your life. Write, “I love my life” as your Facebook status today. Post it on Twitter. Print off a sign and put it on the doorway to your office.
I dare you. Chose happiness and change your life. It can start today.
O, that we would live a life worthy where the Gospel has fully penetrated even to our attitudes.