How to Choose Happiness
How to choose happiness
Every morning we wake up with an opportunity to make a decision that will shape the rest of our day.
We get to choose whether or not we will be happy.
As soon as our eyes open, we start making decisions that will determine this. Will we look for the good? Will we express gratitude for the things we have? Will we enjoy this day that we’ve been given? Will we choose to put on the fruit of the Spirit? Will we respond to others as we would want to be responded to ourselves?
All of life is about decisions.
Decisions we make get us where we are. Decisions we make, make us who we are. Decisions we make determine who’s around us. Decisions determine how we think, talk and feel.
Every day we’re faced with hundreds of these decisions, whether or not we take the time to be aware of them.
What kind of food are you going to put in your body today?
Are you going to strengthen your muscles and tone your body, or sit on the sofa and watch Netflix?
How are you going to respond to your spouse when he is asking the same question you just answered, yet again?
How are you going to respond when you step on that toy you told your child a dozen times to put away?
Are you going to be obedient when God asks you to show kindness to the woman who just cut you off in the school pick up line?
Are you going to be thankful for the things you have, or wish you had the [money, body, voice, job, children, husband, house, car, hair, eyes, vacation] that woman has?
Are you going to take a moment to enjoy the sunshine on your face, or complain about the heat?
Are you going to feel the power of the wind, or grumble about how it never stops blowing?
Are you going to intentionally show love to your husband, or recount how he doesn’t show love to you?
Are you going to choose to give your friend grace, or let offense take root in your heart?
Are you going to be part of a solution or focus on a problem?
Life is about decisions. So, so many decisions. And those decisions have the ability to make us have a good day or a bad day, make us happy or sad, make us impatient and annoyed or at peace.
Follow me, Jesus said. It’s an action. It’s a decision. An actionable, intentional decision. It’s a decision we can make over and over as we make our hundreds of decisions every single day.
We can follow Him when we make our food choices by choosing to care for and honor God’s temple (our body). (1 Corinthians 6:19)
We can follow Him when deciding what to do with our time, gauging our actions against His standards – is it true, is it lovely, is it pure, is it right, is it honorable? (Philippians 4:8)
We can follow Him when we choose to respond with patience and graciousness, instead of irritability and impatience.
We can follow Him when we demonstrate kindness instead of lashing out in anger.
We can be thankful and aware of the blessings He has given us, knowing He is a good Father who provides for the needs of His children.
We can follow Him by enjoying the beautiful creation He created and taking a moment to look to Him in the middle of our day, instead of living unaware, consumed by our schedule and interpretation of importance.
We can follow Him by seeking to meet someone else’s needs and showing love, even when it doesn’t feel fair.
We can follow Him by extending grace, even when it’s undeserved.
Those decisions, those incredible moments when we get to invite the supernatural culture of heaven into the normalcy of our everyday life, are what sets the course of our days, our lives, and our selves. Those decisions give us the opportunity to shape who we want to be and what we want out of life.
So, knowing that, I frequently ask myself these questions, and ask them to you today —
Do you feel happy? What decisions are you making that are making you happy, or – what decisions are you making that are robbing you of happiness?
Do the decisions you’re making today line up with where you want to be tomorrow?
If things aren’t what you want them to be, what decisions are you making that are getting you where you are?
And if you need something to change, what decisions can you make today to get you where (and who) you want to be in the future?
After all, the future starts tomorrow and is built on the decisions you make today.
If you consistently don’t feel happy, instead of looking at circumstances to improve, take a look at the decisions you’re making on a minute by minute basis. Choose to actively follow Jesus in those hundreds of small decisions every day, and happier days are surely ahead.
This is the first blog in an eight week series on happiness. To make sure you don’t miss the next seven, sign up for my newsletter!