Monday, July 22, 2013

True happiness

I find that it is easy to be happy when life is going my way. Please tell me this is true of you, too?
I'm upbeat, smiley and positive. I want to hug those I love and be optimistic about most everything. Rain becomes exciting and thunder even the more so. I become one of those overly happy, bubbly types - borderline obnoxious, especially to those who aren't having such a stellar day.
Today just happens to be such a day for me. I'm riding high with the excitement of positive progress in my life. There are circumstances that are looking up, pains that are rapidly diminishing (if not disappearing) and more and more restoration of my health with each passing day. My mood has followed in lock step. I feel like I could conquer the world. Worries about the future are nonexistent. I'm just thrilled to soak in the sweet sunshine that is my life.
Although all of this is wonderful and enjoyable and I certainly don't have any complaints, I do have a deep question rising within me that I can't seem to shake: am I this happy when I don't get my way?
Uh oh.
If I answer honestly I know I have to admit that I can tend to be a depressed sad sack when life is tough and the deck is stacked against me. Even in the last few weeks I've experienced just such a mood or two.
My health was on the fritz. My body was aching. People were looking at me with eyes of judgment and criticism. I let all of the negativity get the best of my mood. I played the role of "poor me" victim with Tony Award winning flare. I cried, pouted...the whole nine yards. And what for? Did it accomplish anything?
So the truth must be told. When life isn't all butterflies and roses I tend toward being a downer - a joyless, lackluster, sad-sack, despondent downer...
From where I sit today there is no such gloom and doom on the radar screen - well, other than the weather forecast but I'm even enjoying the overcast sky and drizzling rain! Talk about being on Cloud 9, right? But if my life circumstances were different would I be singing a different tune?
I don't want my happiness to hinge on things going my way. I want to be a smile even in the bleakest of days and toughest of hours. Even when everything around me goes dark I want to show the world that there is hope even before there is any light to speak of.
I can't be that message to the world if I'm living off of emotion, dependent on good things coming my way before any good can come out of me.
No matter what life hands me, my life has already been filled with the ultimate goodness. God has come into my life, filling me with his Holy Spirit, giving me true peace and joy. His hope doesn't deal in emotion. It contingent on a particular turn of events. His hope transcends all that our limited vision can see in this world.
Tomorrow may bring about difficulty and trouble, maybe the destruction of all I reveled in today. But will my cause for celebration be lost? Will my happiness and joy disappear?
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells me, "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."
Whatever tomorrow morning may bring I will hold onto the hope of Jesus Christ and marvel in the joy of his Holy Spirit, living in me and through me. This is God's will for me: not that I depend on his blessings for my happiness but that I am continually filled with the boundless and limitless joy of God's love and saving grace.

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