One of the biggest compliments I get is how often I’m happy.
I’m not talking about joy. Joy in some people, me included, is never waning. It’s deep within us. But happiness is something that often ebbs and flows.
Click here for more on the difference between happy and joy.
Merriam-Webster says the essential meaning of being happy is “feeling pleasure and enjoyment because of your life, situation, etc.; showing or causing feels of pleasure and enjoyment; and pleased of glad about a particular situation, event, etc.
I fit those descriptions of a pretty continual basis.
Granted, a lot of it is circumstance. I’ve had a very Mickey Mouse life – few tragedies and tons and tons of luck. Not enough luck to win the lottery, however. Of course, I don’t play so maybe that’s why I haven’t won it yet. Some people, however, have not had a Mickey Mouse life. Happiness may be harder for them to achieve, at least with any frequency.
I think the real secret behind my happiness is my attitude. Even before became a born-again Christian I had a pretty rosy outlook on life. Sometimes I’m even accused of having too much of a rosy outlook, though, possibly to the point where I don’t always acknowledge reality.
I’ve always been very close to my family, been surrounded by quality, intelligent friends and have held steady jobs, so I have lived a mostly stress-free life.
While trying to study why I think people are generally unhappy – some, it seems, all the time – I went from psychological reports to TEDx talks until I found a resting spot in the Bible.
It was after I started studying the Bible that I realized the true secret to happiness was right there in its pages all along. I may not have known it at the time, but I was pretty much living what the Bible prescribes to live a happy life.
So here are some key versus that I think are a prescription for happiness (in order of importance). They are hard, sometimes very hard, to follow daily, but are key to memorize and then meditate on frequently. Especially if you’re feeling unhappy.
…You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow.
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.
1 Peter 4:1
…use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
But I will sing of Your strength, in the morning I will sing of Your love.
1 Peter 3:8
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.
Note: There is good debt to carry as in a mortgage or car loan, but I still lean on this one.
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.