We have been in our series called “Make That Break That” talking about habits that we need to develop and habits that we need to get rid of in order to live a year of unlimited possibilities. I would like to consider a habit today that I call “The Happy Habit”. Proverbs 3:13 AMPC says, “Happy (blessed, fortunate, enviable) is the man who finds skillful and godlyWisdom, and the man who gets understanding [drawing it forth fromGod's Word and life's experiences].”
I believe the desire to be happy is the main thing that motivates us in most of what we do. But do we truly know what makes us genuinely happy? And is happiness just a feeling or is it just an emotion that we search for? I think it’s much deeper than that.
Abraham Lincoln said, “People are as happy as they make up their mind to be.” I like that and I would agree. I am convinced that happiness is a choice and a habit that we can develop. When we make the choice, the feelings will then begin to follow.
The Psalmist David said, “This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it”(Psalms 118:24 NLT). Did you notice it said we will. That is the deciding factor in the enjoyment of our day. If I don’t choose to rejoice, there will always be something to steal my joy and poison my happiness.
It has been said that focusing on good things is the first law of happiness, because what we focus on or what we think about determines our feelings. I’ve said it many times, what you look at the longest becomes the strongest. I am not suggesting that we ignore our problems, but there is a big difference between focusing on them and working on them to solve and resolve them.
Our number one goal, the number one habit we need to develop, is a close, intimate, personal relationship with God through Jesus. Put God first. Being in fellowship with God and learning to obey Him in all things will make you happier than you could ever imagine. Since God is life, how can we hope to enjoy life apart from Him.
I’ve discovered in my search for happiness that my joy is fed by doing things for other people. This is a great secondary goal and a commandment! Love God. Love people. No matter what kind of problems I have, if I focus on what I can do to put a smile on someone else’s face, I find it that makes me happy.
Our personal beliefs can greatly affect our level of joy and happiness. Purposeless people are frequently unhappy as well as people who feel unloved. God loves you and He is for you. He has a plan for your life and a purpose.
I have also found that hopeful people are some of the happiest people in the world. Hope is powerful. Trials test us and refine us. As character is developed within us, we gain the joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation. And this hope never disappoints, deludes or shames (Romans 5:3-5 AMPC). People who can remain happy in hope, no matter what their circumstances, are powerful people.
Are you trusting God in all the areas of your life? Romans 15:13 (AMPC) says, “May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope.” Joy and peace are found in believing. What do you believe about yourself? If you believe you are a failure, unloved, worthless, that it is too late for you to have a good life, then you’ve got to change what you believe about you. Believe what God says about you in His word, not what others have told you, or even how you feel.
Are you putting off happiness until some other time? I’m personally trying to avoid saying, “I will be happy when…” We fall into the trap of thinking we will be happy when… There can be a million “when’s” that keep us from enjoying now. We have got to learn how to enjoy today. Make a decision not to base your happiness on some future event, but choose happiness today. Today is all you have.
Are you waiting for some other person in your life to change his or her behavior so you can be happy? That is a huge mistake. Why should you let someone else determine your level of joy? Nobody else can make you happy at least not permanently. And people can be rude or hurtful. Take responsibility for your own joy and happiness and make a decision today to never again base it on what someone else does
I would encourage you to develop the habit of laughing more. When we laugh, we momentarily forget all of our concerns and struggles. It energizes us and it’s one of the healthiest things we can do. Sometimes we think too much and try to figure everything out. We become so intense that we forget to laugh at ourselves as well, as well as many other things in life. Laughter can pull a person out of depression and despair, and it can turn an ordinary day into a memorable day. I urge you to find people who make you laugh and spend more time with them. Laughter is more important than you know. Even the Bible tells us it is like a medicine.
I think the root cause of a lot of our unhappiness is simply that we are not happy with ourselves. We’re not happy with the way we look, or our talents or our level of perfection. We may compare ourselves with others, instead of happily being the person that God created us to be. We all make mistakes and yes, we want to be serious about the changes we need to make in our lives, but it’s also good to learn to laugh at ourselves, and not be so intense about every little mistake we make. We all have faults and are likely to have some as long as we’re alive, so lighten up. Don’t take yourself, so seriously. Learn to enjoy yourself.
Trust God to show you what needs to be changed and then work with the Holy Spirit toward those changes. Being unhappy with yourself, won’t make you change any faster. I highly encourage you to enjoy every step of your journey.
Someday your life is going to come to an end so I just want you to be sure to live this one life that you have to the fullest. Your life is a gift, a precious gift from God and it would be tragic if you lived it unhappily. Put the happy habit on your list of good habits to make, and the sad habit or the mad habit on your list of habits to break. Having a life worth living does not happen by accident. It’s something that you have to choose on purpose… It’s your choice to rejoice.