Happy are those who hear the word of the Lord and keep it. Luke 11:28
Happiness is a curious thing! Everybody seems to want it and one quick google search can reveal countless sites about how to get it. I even discovered some “happiness retreats” where folks could go to find happiness. In two days, for a mere $3,000 dollars (plus travel and accommodation expenses) you could be taught how to identify happiness and then seek happiness for yourself. I found some pretty crazy stuff! It all left me thinking…we make things so hard sometimes. This post is all about finding happiness and the good news is…it’s free! Since the Father who created us and loves us is also the creator of happiness that seems like the logical place to start. Each letter of the word is a thought or action you can start right now to seek and feel happiness.
H: Holy is His name! It sounds crazy but if you’re feeling worried or cranky or any other emotion that is soaking up your happy, put the attention where it should be; on Him. Stop for a minute and say Holy is your name God, Jesus I trust you, Father I praise you, Mighty God I thank you. You’ll be shocked at how fast your attention shifts from you to him and you feel a lightness come over you.
A: Attitude is the big thing! There are always two ways to look at things; this hurts me or this helps me. Struggles and suffering make happiness tough to attain if we look at things the first way and it sucks us right in to the “woe is me” thinking that makes happiness impossible. Instead realize that struggle and suffering are necessary for heaven and that God is more present in these times. We also have to remember that tough things come and go, just like easy things; life is meant to be a cycle not a straight line.
P: Pray! (you saw that one comin didn’t you J) Tell God you’re cranky and ask him to bring you through whatever it is that is making you feel unhappy. He made you, he loves you and he truly wants his children to be happy. Talk to him about it and ask him to show you what he’s trying to teach you in this situation. If that seems too simple; give it a try and see for yourself.
P: Pass on some kindness and mercy. I don’t think there is anything that will bring you out of a slump faster than doing something for someone else. When you’re feeling grumpy or frustrated doing a good deed for another, especially the person who made you cranky is the farthest thing from your mind but purposefully thinking about the needs and happiness of another is a powerful thing. The thing about happiness is it’s a bit contagious so start some and you’ll be surprised how quickly it lands back on you.
Y: You are HIS! In the midst of all the things that are sucking away your happiness, remind yourself again and again that you belong to him! Nothing is going to happen that doesn’t have a purpose according to his plan. He will never leave you or forsake you or give you more than you can bear. I mean really, we’re talking about the God who parted the Red Sea, helped Paul escape prison with a dozen guards watching over him and who fed 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish. Surely you don’t think your unhappy situation is more than he can handle. He can do anything, including take care of you, who he made perfectly and wonderfully!
Our happiness is rooted in the God who loves and teaches us constantly. Sometimes his lessons come during tough times but the happiness rooted in him is the best kind! So, pick a letter and go be happy!
A Seed To Plant: Write these thoughts down and put them somewhere you can grab it when you feel like you could use a little more happy in your day; then pick a letter and get started!
Blessings on your day!
There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear. I John 4:18
It’s a birthday post! Joyful Words is 4 years old and as I look back I’m surprised, baffled, proud and stunned; but not at all with myself! It’s all HIS! I’m surprised that he’s still allowing me to do this work, I’m baffled as to why he chose the girl whose top grade in English was a B, proud that I’ve remained obedient to his request to do this work and stunned at what he spits through my fingers onto the page. I did a little looking back and discovered that there have been nearly 400 posts written, and that is such a stunning testimony to the phrase, God can do anything He wants!
This verse from John’s first letter sums up my primary emotion in regards to this blog…FEAR! As I spent a few days praying and thinking about this little project that started four years ago I remember being terrified to publish the first post. It’s gotten better over the years but honestly, there is always a wee bit of fear in my heart each time I hit that publish button on Monday and Thursday mornings. I’m fearful that I will say something that isn’t accurate or that hurts somebody’s feelings or worse yet, I fear that I will make a fool of myself and lead nobody closer to Jesus. Just as John said, perfect love drives out fear so I offer a prayer to all who will read and offer the work of each post as a loving gift to the Father hoping he will find it worthy.
The fear isn’t such a bad thing I think. I’ve come to discover that fear is a human thing and love is a God thing. If I remember to write for him and not for myself and if I beg him for the right words to touch the heart of those who seek him then it’s easier to quiet the fear and hope I’ve been obedient enough to write what he’s called me to write. This project has led me on an amazing journey and for those of you who have been reading all along I hope it has inspired your faith journey as well. At the end of each year I ask him to make it clear when I should stop. If he prompts me to continue I ask him to show me what to say and lead me to the parts of his word that he’d like a little light cast upon. My end of the deal is to write as long as there are people reading and commenting.
I’d like to thank all of you who so lovingly share your stories and allow me to tell them here. I thank all of you who seek to know, love and understand God and who see this blog as a wee part of that. I’m grateful for your encouragement and sweet words. Your comments, shares and likes are the confirmation the Father gives me to keep at it. You’ve had a front row seat to my mistakes, my sinfulness, my parenting, teaching and my attempts at finding God in the middle of all kinds of things. I know there are a million blogs you could be tuning in to that are more scholarly, more polished, more fancy and certainly more eloquently written but yet you come here and I pray for the words and thoughts to make that trip to this site worth the click.
In all honesty the thing that makes me most fearful of all is that we will become so overwhelmed and discouraged by the state of affairs in this world that we’ll throw up our hands and lose hope. I fear folks will run out of trust and forget God is so much bigger than the things in this world that are evil and unjust. I write with the bottom line in mind…simply spoken from a sometimes fearful heart that always by God’s grace circles back to the PERFECT LOVE that conquers all fear. Being a disciple isn’t for sissies and it isn’t always convenient or easy but if we can laugh and support each other along the way we will be better; closer and more connected along the journey to Christ. Happy Birthday Joyful Words and thank you for reading.
Blessings on your day!
…in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:6
I love living in the country. It’s so peaceful and pretty and my front porch looking off into the fields is one of the best places to be. There is, however a drawback to living in the country and that is the gravel road. For some reason this year our road has been giving the county fits. Some spots are just fine and then all the sudden you hit a patch that seems like a remote village mountain trail or a big section of beach sand. The road commission has been working hard but it’s still a mess. I get excited when I hear the grader coming by and the Chloride truck that sprays the compound that keeps down the dust is always a happy sight but then I head off down the road and realize the rough spots are back and I sigh.
One day last week I pulled out of the driveway and took off to the east and the first quarter mile was great and I thought, wow, this is great it’s all in order. Just as soon as I had processed that thought, bam, there was a soft low spot followed by a set of holes that allowed a top speed of about 5mph to maneuver. My shoulders slumped and I thought great, back to this again. The same process repeated itself for the next mile and a half until I reached a paved road. Once I turned onto the pavement there was such a sigh of relief, phew, that’s over I thought. As I picked up speed and headed down the road I realized how much my life resembled that gravel road I live on.
I began to take a good look at the bumps and slowdowns in my own road to Christ and realized I have way more than the road I live on. I might want to complain about them and blame them on someone else but the truth of the matter is they are mine to maneuver. I can’t just stay parked in my driveway waiting on the county to come along and make the path perfect any more than I can sit still waiting for God to swoop in and take away every bump, low spot and pot hole in my life. I gotta get out there and figure out how to find my way toward my destination. The one really good thing about the rough spots in the road is that they cause you to slow down and think about your driving. Sometimes I live at top speed without enough conscious thought about the journey. If I try to blaze down the road too fast it’s easy to lose control, so it is with life too. If I try to blaze through life all on my own without troubling the Father for guidance and support it’s easy to lose control and veer off where the path can be rougher.
The big realization I had is that the whole road isn’t awful, just parts of it. I realized all I was focusing on were the rough parts and not the smooth parts. All my attention was strapped to the parts that were less than expected; I think I look at life like that too. It made me remember that being a disciple is a journey filled with easy and hard but that neither is supposed to last forever. When we’re really happy and life is going along smoothly, we expect it to continue just that way and then when things get rough and choppy (like they always will) we throw up our hands discouraged. Neither is designed to last forever, our life is peaks and valleys. If life were to continue constantly on an even plane without peaks and valleys, the line would always be in the middle…that would be a life of medium and nobody wants that. God loves to meet us and rejoice with us when we hit the peaks and he’s right there with us with his love and mercy when we hit the low spots, who’d want to miss that! It’s all about the journey, not just the current mile. If things in your life are a little out of perspective, take a drive down your nearest gravel road and let God speak to your heart.
A Seed To Plant: Name some of the speed bumps along your journey and pray about the best way to maneuver them.
Blessings on your day!
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