How to Find Happiness with Simple Choices

How to Find Happiness with Simple Choices

Knowing how to find happiness starts with understanding what drives real joy; learn how to find happiness with simple choices each day...

Tags: happiness, true happiness, Loading...


Most people would agree they want to find lasting happiness.

Many of those people would also agree that it is difficult to find.

Furthermore, when we do find moments of happiness, they seem to slip through our fingers too quickly.

Have you ever wondered why?

Below, we will examine some of the key drivers of discontentment in our lives in an effort to become more aware of them. Then, we will see how the Bible teaches us how to find happiness that lasts.

Mind Poison: Advertising & Media


The simple truth is that most of our unhappiness and discontentment is in our lives because we invite it in.

Through seemingly harmless activities like reading magazines or watching television, we invite a substantial number of negative messages into our daily lives.

We will start with advertising.

Most people understand that the point of any advertisement is to motivate a person to become a customer (i.e., to spend their money on the sponsor's product or service).

However, if we dig a little deeper into the methods of advertising, we reveal HOW ads cause people to take action. Specifically, they motivate people by generating discontentment inside of them. Ads are often designed to send messages that they are not attractive enough, rich enough, or successful enough... thus, they better go buy product X.

This seems trivial, but consider these two important facts:
1. On average, each of us is exposed to 5,000 ads per day
2. The advertising industry spends approximately $170 to $180 billion each year

Thus, we are exposed to thousands of daily sophisticated messages that tell us we are inadequate in an effort to get us to purchase.

Now let's consider the news.

We have more access to world news than ever before. We can even have news streamed directly to us, real-time.

But consider the content of that news.

In general, that news is delivering mostly negative information.

Why?

Studies have demonstrated that human psychology is attracted more towards negative news than positive news. It may be related to innate survival instincts. As such, when the media is trying to sell us their newspapers or motivate us to watch their TV news broadcast, they appeal to that bias to reel us in.

Regardless of how we feel about these facts, this IS the world we live in - lots of ads and negative news!

The mature response is to become aware of what we face each day in an effort to fight discontentment and ultimately, find real happiness.

Such awareness can help us make better choices each day in support of our own happiness.

For example, when we are aware that magazine covers, TV commercials, and media are chock-full of negative messages that tell us we aren't good enough, we can see right through their deceptive practices and turn away unaffected. We can remind ourselves of the truth that we have been made fully sufficient through Christ. We may even decide to turn off the TV and news to limit our exposure to all those messages.

Mind Poison: Expectations



Our own expectations can drive a great deal of unhappiness in our lives.

It is true that there are always things that the world will throw at us to generate discontentment. In fact, there will never be a shortage as long as we live in a broken world.

When our jobs aren't going as well as they should, or when people in our lives aren't acting in wayw we'd like them to, or when illness hits us or our loved ones, our happiness feels attacked.

We lose hope, and it becomes difficult to smile as worry and disappointment consume us.

But let's think about that for a minute...

Is it realistic to believe we can have every aspect of our lives EXACTLY the way we want them?

Additionally...

Is it realistic to believe we can have all those things just the way we want them WHEN we want them that way?

If we answer yes to these 2 questions, aren't we describing a perfect world... or heaven itself?

Since we do not live in a perfect world, logic tells us that such expectations are unrealistic.

And that's where God's truth becomes highly relevant for any individual seeking lasting happiness.

Happiness is a Choice


Here's the sobering truth (whether we want it to be or not)... Our happiness has to come from something other than our circumstances.

On some level, we all realize that happiness is a choice, but it can be difficult.

The fact is our circumstances can feel unbearable at times. We want things to just be different, but often have no way of actually making them different.

Again, it is actually quite logical - there are literally way too many factors going on in each of our days to be able to control our environments enough to make us 100% happy.

As an illustration, consider these aspects we could not control (even if we wanted to):
  • today's weather,
  • which drivers are on the road,
  • the expiration date on the milk at the local convenience store,
  • the price of gasoline, and
  • solar flares.

    These factors may have no impact on your day at all. Or they may have a big impact:
  • rain ruins your plans for pick-up basketball,
  • a car wreck makes you late for work,
  • you have to make an extra stop just to get fresh milk,
  • gas prices jumped $0.30/gal today, and
  • a solar flare zapped your ability to call home today.

    In the real world, these things happen. As such, we have a choice in how we respond to them. We can either let them ruin our day, or we can choose a joyful attitude.

    First, we are challenged to remember that God is sovereign, and the only one capable of controlling so many small and big factors, simultaneously.

    Second, we are challenged to find a powerful source to make the choice to be happy, despite our circumstances.

    How to Find Happiness that Lasts


    The secret to lasting happiness is found in 1. Recognizing God is sovereign in the details of our lives, and 2. Our relationship with God is the source of our happiness.

    First, scripture is full of references of not only the sovereignty of God, but also in His good intentions for us.

    Jeremiah 29:11 professes "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future".

    Jesus Himself reminds us in Luke 12:6-7 that we are held in high esteem by God when he states, "Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. 7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows".

    It is precisely because of a loving God who controls all things that we can be confident in the blessings He promises in our futures.

    In turn, we can be fulled with peace that transcends our present circumstances no matter how unpalatable they happen to be.

    As this verse from the book of Psalms reminds us: "When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy" (Psalm 94:19).

    Second, we want to be mindful about what powers our choice of happiness over disappointment, despair, and discontentment.

    When we designate the source of our happiness as people, places and things, they will always let us down.

    Our spouse is too tired to go out tonight...
    The weather got too cold to run after work...
    The new car got hit by a rock on the highway...


    We end up feeding our own discontentment when we place our hope for happiness in such things.

    On the other hand, when we call on God to be our source for happiness, our joy is sustained and eternal.

    We were designed by a God to find significance, self-worth, and happiness through our relationship with Him and Him alone.

    Unfortunately, most of us do not pursue our relationship with God substantially enough to experience a happiness that transcends our circumstances. (The practices of reading the Bible and praying 30 to 60 minutes a day can have a massive impact.)

    Instead, our spouses, kids, work, toys, etc offer themselves as false power sources of happiness that tend to supplant God Himself. The result is disastrous as all of those things let us down, leaving us more discontent than ever.

    In the book of Habbakuk, we are reminded - "yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior"(Habbakuk 3:18).

    The gift of salvation through Jesus Christ sustains a joyful attitude in the midst of any despair on earth.

    Conclusion


    In an effort to find lasting happiness, we have considered why it is so difficult.

    We reviewed that our own actions and attitudes can actually invite discontentment into each day. Specifically, advertising, media, and our own expectations can be toxic to our joy. We also reminded ourselves that we do actually have a choice about how we respond to our environment in a way that can support happiness. That choice is often impossible without a powerful source of motivation - God.

    In summary, there are three keys to remember to help you fight discontentment and find more lasting happiness:

    1. BE AWARE of the enemies of happiness - advertisements, media, and expectations
    2. CHOOSE happiness on a regular basis
    3. FIND peace in God's sovereignty and goodness for your life
    3. RELY ON God as your source for choosing happiness, routinely


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