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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How to Make Happiness a Habit

Abraham Lincoln once said, "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."

That's a true statement, because when it comes down to it, happiness is a choice that we make.   Happiness comes from within; it is a choice you make and a habit you develop. Here are 3 ways you can make happiness a habit. First..

•    Say thank you.  Philippians 1:3-5—3I thank my God every time I remember you. 4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now... 

It's impossible to be unhappy and thankful at the same time. The two don't mix. You can't say, "God, thank you for this job," and stay discontented. You can't say, "God, thank you for my spouse," and remain critical of him or her all the time. When you start saying "Thank you" you close the door on this perpetual state of dissatisfaction, and you open a new door that leads to joy and happiness and contentment. 

•    Seek out hidden benefits.  Philippians 1:12-18—12Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. 13As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.15It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. 

Either we can let the bad news defeat us, or we can find the blessing in it.  If you're not careful, you can let the backstabbing guy at work, the over-demanding client, the unappreciative spouse, or the irresponsible teenager steal your happiness from you. It's much better to say, "I can't control what this person does; yet I'll recognize the good they do and trust God to take care of the rest." 

•    Expect the best from God.  Philippians 1:6—being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. 
Philippians 1:20-26—I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.25Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me. 

It' easier to make happiness a habit when you know God is in control and will work everything out for your good. 

Some of you are hurting right now. It's hard to be joyful when someone has broken your heart and you see tomorrow as another gray, cloudy day. Happiness is a tough choice to make sometimes. It's a lot easier to ride the wave of whichever circumstance comes your way—to let this set of circumstances make you miserable and wait for another set of circumstances to come along to make you happy for a while. That's how most people do it, but there's a better way.  

Real happiness has nothing to do with your circumstances, and everything to do with your attitude—you can choose to create your own happiness and develop a happiness mindset.

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