Recently, I have written brief beliefs on the secrets to living a happier life. Here is a composite of these reflections. Now that they are on one page I think they provide the talking points for a nice family conversation, devotional, or sermon.
Transparency in life is a major key to happiness. I have slowly learned to let people see the real me. Hopefully, I will gradually conform to God’s image shining through me so that I have nothing to hide. But, that is still yet to be.
It would be great if we could all be happy. I learned many years ago I was most happy when I looked at the whole of my life rather than some momentary event that brought sadness, difficulties, or grief. The Psalmist uttered a similar position in these words–“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Ps. 30:5).
A geometric axiom is “the whole equals the sum of its parts.” A Godly axiom is that God controls the whole of life. Unfortunately evil and sin influence individual parts of our lives. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart: I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Corrie Tin Boom, a Christian imprisoned for protecting Jews during WW2, wrote the following that illustrates my point.
“Life is but a Weaving” (the Tapestry Poem)
“My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.
Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.
Not ’til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned
He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.”
― Corrie ten Boom
Think about the validity of seeking and creating harmony as a key to happiness. High on the list is seeking and creating harmony. Reinhold Neibuhr wrote, “Happiness is harmony. Today remember that when you bring disharmony to any relationship you lower the potential for happiness for all people involved.
“You shall be called a repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in” (Isaiah 58:12).
God help me to be an agent of reconciliation today.
Happiness is best found when one accepts the stations in life that cannot be changed. Resentment about how we were created only leads to bouts with sadness and depression. The blind hymn writer, Fanny Crosby, said it well:
“O what a happy soul I am! Although I cannot see, I am resolved that in this world contented I will be.
How many blessings I enjoy that other people don’t! To weep and sigh because I’m blind I cannot, and I won’t.” (written at age 8)
Another key to an individual’s happiness definitely has to include taking time daily to emphasize points for thanksgiving in comparison to areas of difficulty and discouragement. The search for perspective has always helped those struggling with significant sadness. “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, there in to be content” (Philippians 4:11) “I will be glad in the Lord” (Psalms 104:34).
Let me make one more observation of how to remain basically happy. My fourth key has been to forget the past except in an effort to not repeat the same errors I committed the first time. Allowing guilt or resentment over negative experiences primarily leads to unhappiness and depression. I find it helpful to forget the negativity of the past in as much as possible.”No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).