Friday, January 9, 2009

The Happiness Factor

by Donna L. Watkins

Our happiness is not based on what happens to us, but rather on how we view what happens to us. This has been said in many different ways and keeps coming back around in one form or another because it is truth. It is also Truth. If we believe that God always has our best interests at heart, then we must stand in Faith in any situation, knowing that in the midst of the chaos or calamity, God is working.

© 2009 Kenneth Bushell - Boxtop - The Happy Hamster
Our ultimate purpose on earth is not happiness, but rather to be conformed into the image of God. In that process we are promised joy and peace. Amidst the pain of any experience, there is a shelter under His wings. This requires trust, which many of do not have of authority figures. We have not seen good examples in the segments of society that are considered authorities, whether in government, or sadly within The Church.

We can't let other fallen people keep us from being who God designed us to be or from believing and trusting in His promises and principles.

In his book, The Happiness Factor - How To Be Happy No Matter What, Kirk Wilkinson writes many challenging chapters that put us face-to-face with where the responsibility lies for our happiness. He states, "Happiness comes from the inside ... Many people live a fantasy, thinking that the next job, the next promotion, a bigger house, car, or some other material thing will bring them happiness. It becomes a never-ending pursuit ... It is our own thought pattern, or mindset, that creates the framework by which we experience life."

You've seen it in action. The same circumstance happening to a group of people, but yet each one is affected differently and responds differently. That's what is supposed to make Christians stand out in tragedy. There should be evidence of a place of grace, with peace and joy in the midst of any circumstance. The love of God draws men to repentance.

Wilkinson says, "It is a common mistake to believe that what and how we see people, events, and circumstances create our response and feelings. In actuality, it is the reverse. Our thoughts are the source of our feelings and create our experience. Because thoughts are voluntary, we can change what we experience by realizing that what we think is not necessarily reality."

This is what Jill Bolte Taylor did when she was recovering from her stroke. She realized she had the power to change her mind by choosing what she allowed the analytical side of her brain to think. These choices are what painted each day of her life with bright colors or shades of gray and black.

God didn't design us to gather our joy from stuff or people. We were made in His image with a purpose and design for a unique place in this world in this era in time. When we search for happiness in the wrong places throughout our lives, they are wasted. The spot we were meant to fill goes lacking.

Kirk was living such a life and knew he had to turn it around. There's no lack of information out there on finding methods to convert your thinking, but his book certainly gathered the mass of it and broke it down into necessary actions. He addresses perception, emotional generosity, acceptance and abundance, and it will take surrendering. He explains that happiness "is learning to skillfully relate, cope, and dissolve all that is negative in our lives ... Loving and being happy is about learning that peace is available in any situation, regardless of the circumstances."

God has told us that love is what we are to do foremost above all else. The greatest commandment to love Him and our neighbor AS OUR SELF. We can't love others without loving our self. We must fill our self with love before there's enough to flow into other lives and circumstances. That flowing love will change the way you see things and the way people around you see you.

Kirk explains it like this: "Every action or response is either love or a cry for love. We either operate from a fear-centric position or a love-centric position. Love brings with it the power to dissolve all negativity and conflict .. Love attracts kindness, security, peace, and affection and is activated by giving it away and extending it into any situation. Often we think of love as a feeling between two or more people. But it is more than that: love is energy and has the power to transform a situation and your circumstances."

If you're basing your happiness on somebody around you changing so you can be happy, you're wasting your life. It will never happen. NEVER! That's a long time when you're waiting it out day by day and long hour after hour of misery. The only way out is not through anybody else but you. At some point you will have to toss aside the excuses and take responsibility for your thoughts, attitudes and happiness. I say this in love, as does Kirk Wilkinson in his book. He spent a good portion of his life miserable and wants to show you how to move forward to what we were designed and created for.

You need to begin somewhere! Choose a plan and stay focused with it. You CAN do it. Each week is better than the week before. It's like setting a new habit or routine. It's very hard at first, but it does get easier. God will give you the ability and strength to do it. You must have the desire and make the choice. You will find that The Happiness Factor is all about you.

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