I opened my eyes after a restful sleep - I am in a super comfy bed, in a beautifully decorated room, my husband next to me, pretty snow outside, warmth on the inside... on the wall above my head is a cute framed message that speaks to my heart, “And they lived happily ever after.”
I don’t know about you, although I am going to assume we have this similarity, but my life is not always happy...
As a matter of fact, the reason we were in that lovely room, is because our kitchen windows were broken by a large tree branch, we didn’t have the funds to repair it, our house was so cold it was not liveable, giving us nowhere to live excepting the homes of our gracious grown children. Also, my husband had just had his second eye surgery, (unsuccessful, I might add), and couldn’t work for a month - we had no insurance and no income...
But wait! I simply listed a set of our circumstances. Why would this affect my happiness? More like, why DOES it?
Vocabulary.com states that, “Happiness is that feeling that comes over you when you know life is good and you can't help but smile. ... Happiness is a sense of well-being, joy, or contentment. When people are successful, or safe, or lucky, they feel happiness.”
This is what we are hearing out there. That is what we see in our fairy tale movies. But what if life isn’t “good”?
I think the key word to that whole quote, “And they lived happily ever after.”, is LIVED. I believe it is all in the way we choose to live.
The verse, “A thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But I came to give life—life that is full and good.” (John 10:10 Easy to Read Version), keeps coming to my mind this week...constantly reminding me that I can let my circumstances steal my joy, or I can choose to live a full and good life...
Jesus said He came to give us life that is full and good... He also says, ”I have told you these things so that you can have the true happiness that I have. I want you to be completely happy.” (John 15:11 Easy to Read Version)
Not to take that out of context, Jesus was telling us to love one another and obey God’s commands, and that would bring us true happiness. Nope - nothing about our circumstances making us happy in that verse...
We protect our houses, our cars have alarms, we learn self-defence, we protect our computers, our children...why are we not protecting our hearts and minds?
We have locks for our doors and windows, passwords for our programs and bank accounts, lock boxes for precious items in a bank, safes, safehouses, we remove bad fats and chemicals from our foods to protect our health, we exercise, buy insurance just in case...
Our hearts and minds are worth so much more than any of these other protected objects, yet we take the least care of them...
Your mind is what lets in the positives or negatives. “Above all, be careful what you think because your thoughts control your life.” (Proverbs 4:23 Easy to Read Version)
Your heart decides what is important to you... “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23 NIV) Yes, I realize those are the same verse, just in different versions, but that is to show that our hearts and minds are one in the same. I love that I can read the same verse as you and come to the same conclusion, albeit said differently 😁
Be aware of the thieves, but choose to LIVE happily!
Ephesians 6: 10-18 tells us exactly what we need to do:
“God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.” (The Message)
Flourish, prosper, thrive, live...all one in the same meaning, yet how are you living? Can you hang that sign in your home and mean it? “And they lived happily ever after.” This could be you, despite life circumstances.
Wear your armour in preparation for that thief - don’t let him steal your happiness. Choose life, choose abundant life, choose a full and good life!