When I started writing this article, my first action was to pray and then ask what makes me happy. After praying, I concluded that what makes me happy is temporal. Happiness is based things and people but eternal joy comes from the Lord! I remembered that old song which says, “This joy I have the world didn’t give it and the world can’t take it away!”
Things, stuff, and even relationships suffer decay. We are all imperfect people and with that comes our inability to please others, no matter how we try, to their level of expectation all the time. We fall short, we disappoint, we unintentionally do or say the wrong things, fail to show up at just the right time and can’t know every need to make our loved ones happy all the time. We simply don’t have the strength, energy, finances, or wisdom to fulfill our loved needs. Too much work!
We were created to please God. Believe it or not that’s a much easier assignment regardless of what the world has surmised. Matthew 11:28 says, “My yoke is easy and my burdens are light.” All too often we feel in bondage to others in our efforts to meet their ever- changing needs! An old saying by poet John Lydgate and made popular by Abraham Lincoln says, “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” It’s impossible!
1. The happiest people begin their day right with prayer, spending time talking to our Father and then listening to hear from Him. Their Devotional time includes reading His Word for the answers needed to get through their day. This quiet time should also include a time of Gratitude. I have a Gratitude journal that I write in daily. When I reflect on what I’m grateful for, all the negative things, the mistakes I made, things that occurred that brought hurt, or discord, or that disturbed my peace seem to fade. II Cor. 4:17, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” Nothing on this earth lasts always. Joy filled people focus ahead, “because heaven is in their view”!
2. Happy People move their bodies. They exercise and stretch which helps to get the blood circulating, adrenaline pumping, and loosens up any tension. Once done they feel energized because they completed something good for their mind, body and soul. Nehemiah 8:10 says “The joy of the Lord is our strength.”
3. Happy people know beyond a shadow of doubt that God loves them. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only son, that whoever believes will not perish but have everlasting life!” We know we are redeemed, saved to live forever with our Lord. We find our value, peace and joy in being children of The King. We are heirs to His throne of Grace. We are free to live our lives in the daily abundance of God’s blessings and “new mercies”. No one can condemn us, judge us, or determine our place in this world. Happy people have learned to listen to others respectfully and will then filter through prayer and scripture what is beneficial to their lives. Happy joy-filled people don’t allow those with a limited view to evaluate and determine who they are and what they can be! (Read: Romans 8)
4. The happiest people know what they were created for and pursue their dream daily with passionate determination. Happy people work towards fulfillment of their assignment with joy! They know their goals are lined up with God’s plans. So they have devised a plan and execute their plan with joy in their hearts and determination in their actions. Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all things will be added unto you.
5. Happy people find one of their greatest joy is in serving others. We are advised in God’s Word to never be lacking in zeal to serve the Lord and to share with God’s people in need. God calls us all to be unselfish in sharing our time, talent and resources. Every act of generosity pleases God. Saying “I love you”, giving hugs, compliments and giving others encouragement are simple but meaningful ways to express compassion. Kindness is a cure for many of the world’s ailments. Especially our own. It is so cathartic to help someone out of our need.
Paul writes of the Macedonians in II Corinthians 8:3. “They were being tested by many troubles, and they were very poor. But they were filled with abundant joy, which overflowed in rich generosity.” The Macedonians gave in spite of their condition. Their focus was not on what they didn’t have but was on what they had left to render service to those in need. Happy God-filled people know that God loves a cheerful giver and that we can’t beat God giving. Luke 6: 38, “Give and it shall be given unto you, A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.”
6. Happy people have learned how to make, nourish and cultivate a “Friend Circle”. Romans 12:10, “Be devoted to one another in love.” We all need a small community that will come alongside us to help us grow, stand and move towards our goals. Proverbs 27:17. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
If there is a “B” part to this bullet point it would be that Happy people have figured out that it’s not money, material things and success but Love that really brings joy. The pursuit of earthly things never gives real satisfaction because there is always a hunger for more, to have what someone else has or to out-do our competitor. But truly only what we do for Christ in loving Him and His people lasts. Generosity gifted towards others has eternal value.
Bonus: If I could stretch to seven, happy people always end their day with prayer, thanking God for another day. We are joy filled people who know that as we pray at the close of the day: God is working for us; Heaven is holding conversations about us; and Angels have been assigned to us. Be at peace!