The Secret of Happiness - Part II
"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."1
As we said yesterday, happiness is many things to many people. For one thing, it means we need to know and accept ourselves for who we are.
Happiness also means learning to accept my personal circumstances. Some of them can be changed. Others can't. And unless I accept the ones that can't be changed, I'll never be happy or content. As blind Helen Keller said, "I thank God for my handicaps, for through them I have found myself, my work, and my God."
Happiness is also having a worthwhile goal . . . a noble purpose for which to live . . . something of value to strive for.
I was once talking to a union representative on a construction job. At the time he was also demonstrating for a cause that was popular back then. He told me he joined this group because it gave him something to live for. I don't know if this man is still demonstrating for a cause, but certainly everybody needs something to live for other than himself and his own happiness.
Happiness in itself is not a worthwhile goal to live for. To be happy all of the time is unreal, as happiness is only one of life's great emotions. To be in touch with all of one's feelings is more important than being happy all of the time. To feel sad, hurt, angry, afraid, and unhappy at the appropriate times is both normal and healthy. However, if one is unhappy most of the time, this is nature's way of telling him/her that something is missing in his life or some conflict needs resolving.
To be happy, or at least fulfilled, one also needs to have worthwhile work (paid or volunteer) into which one can put one's best efforts. Note, too, that when our work is helping to meet others needs, this can be very fulfilling.
Everybody has some talents; so it is important that he/she discover his/her gifts, receive adequate training to sharpen them, and find a place to use them. This is equally true for both men and women.
It is a wise man who helps his wife find, develop, and use her special gifts. He will reap just rewards through his wife's increased fulfillment and happiness. And so it is for a wise woman for her husband.
To be continued. . . .
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to realize that happiness comes much more through who I am rather than what I do. Help me to become the person you want me to be and then find further fulfillment and happiness with what I do with my life. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus' name. Amen."
1. Philippians 4:11-12 (NIV).