Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Is Happiness A Choice?

by Donna L. Watkins

© 2007 Donna L. Watkins -
Revisiting Apartment Building Where I Grew Up

Is happiness a choice? I remember almost feeling anger when I saw a book many years back with the title of, "Happiness Is A Choice." I thought it was surely written by some happy-go-lucky, head-in-the-ground, Pollyanna (with a bit of bitterness towards that kind of personality, which has since turned into envy).

Surely for those who think a lot and live life in touch with the world around them, it's not possible to choose happiness every day. The world holds a lot of horrors and many times they are in our own personal lives, so how could you make a choice for happiness when so much and so many are suffering?

"Life Is A Challenge" held much more meaning and understanding to me, but what if happiness were simply a matter of looking at your world differently? What would life be like to look out and have that really good "spring fever" feeling that all is right in the world and life is delicious?

The more I work at it the more I realize that happiness is a choice. It seems like so much work to believe the best, to stand on the Word, to trust in God's promises, to see His love converting horrible situations into good (as Romans 8:28 promises) and to think about my blessings rather than what I call "reality."

That message that I hear saying, it's too laborsome and tiresome to do those things is the Enemy that wants to see me in the black hole that I would sink into if I didn't choose happiness (and joy) that I can have because of the promises of God and what Jesus did on the cross to allow me to find joy in each day and to live in peace of mind.

Yes, it's a continual choice to convert those negative thoughts that we can become addicted to and that come so instantly to mind because we've trained our minds to replay them over and over. The more we choose happiness, the easier it gets.

When I began this process, I would go through days of "the black hole" as I call it where life is hopeless, worthless, miserable, awful, evil and just too much to bear. As I began to take those thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) years ago I began to notice bad thoughts so much quicker. I was feeding my mind good thoughts and my body likes good thoughts, so as time passed it was easier.

Actually I was so shocked to realize how much bad thinking I really had and that in itself made me more determined to be obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5) than to the devil. Now, I can catch it seconds after I think something and choose whether or not to turn it around. Do I want joy or do I want to wallow?

Consider these thoughts of James Allen from his free e-book, As A Man Thinketh:

"A noble and God-like character is not a thing of favor or chance, but is the natural result of continued effort in right thinking, the effect of long-cherished association with God-like thoughts. An ignoble and bestial character, by the same process, is the result of the continued harboring of groveling thoughts.

Man is made or unmade by himself. In the armory of thoughts, he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself. He also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace."

The promise in all of this? You will find that happiness is a choice. You can choose to see joy in every situation and I can tell you I still have a lot of situations that the devil uses to try to get me to wallow. All of the health challenges that I have gives him plenty of room, and my compassion for wildlife and suffering people and children of the world could easily take me down if I didn't know that My God has a plan in it all.

I can trust His plan, or I can see life with a very limited view and believe that's all there is to it. Knowing that God truly has the best for me and the world even though it doesn't look right with my finite and limited mind, allows me to move beyond my short vision into realms of joy in the midst of awful circumstances.

This world is only a drop in the bucket compared to the length of eternity, which actually has no length since it has no end. So ... what happens on this earth is to be used by us to make us more like Christ and to build our faith because we'll still be having a life in Heaven and although there will be no more tears and sorrow there, there will be rewards based on our life here.

So ... choose to be happy! It will bring more peace and joy into your life than you can imagine. We make ourselves miserable by believing the lies of the devil about who God is and isn't. Remember that was his method in the Garden of Eden when he told Eve that God didn't have her best interests in mind. Do not allow him to deceive you also.

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