I have been guilty of this…I convince myself that if I can just get past this next big project, this next tough conversation, this coming grueling week, or this next holiday season, I will be able to begin living a normal life and finally be happy and stress free. The problem is that life does not work that way and “normal life” and “happiness” are choices we make regardless of the circumstances, situation, or season.
Alfred Souza once said, “For a long, long time it had seemed to me that I was about to begin real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.”
Here is the answer that I have come to embrace: My happiness is not a result of successfully avoiding or defeating challenge or struggle – happiness is a choice I make and it comes from inside me.
There is no “way” to happiness. Happiness is the way.
There is no “after” to happiness. Happiness is now.
I once asked a friend how he could be so upbeat with all that was going on in his life at the moment. His answer to me was that he chose to put on joy every morning. Joy? Put on?
“Joy” is a feeling that is derived through delight, gladness, happiness, or things that bring you pleasure.
“Put on” is just as it sounds. Like putting on a coat before heading out into the cold, he puts on joy daily before he heads out into the circumstances of his life.
When I asked him how he could possibly find joy in the life he was currently enduring he told me that it was a choice:
– A Choice to acknowledge that struggle happens to everyone
– A Choice to acknowledge that many, many people were struggling with much worse things
– A Choice to acknowledge that he had much to be thankful for
– A Choice to acknowledge that it was all temporary, just for a season
Author and Pastor Rick Warren has provided a terrific definition of joy: “Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.”
Be encouraged as we head for the start of New Year and develop the skill of putting on joy. It will change your outlook on life and change how others see and relate to you.