Tuesday, August 27, 2013

You're About As Happy As You Choose to Be

The following two quotes appear on consecutive days in my FranklinCovey planner and struck me as incredibly lucid reminders of our chosen mindset though we're apt at forgetting:

"Most of us are just about as happy as we make up our minds to be." -Abraham Lincoln.

"Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they're yours." -Richard Bach.

And one more...

"It is easy to get everything you want, provided you first learn to do without the things you cannot get." -Elbert Hubbard.

Choice is a word that can't be overstated. Yet we tire of old truths that never change. They seem to bore us. We make a goal to choose to be happy, for instance, and we do so well for a few weeks and then little by little we forget and have a day or two, or week, where it's all to no avail; then we start from scratch.

When we're discontented over our lives or what we have or the roles we have or the roles others play in our lives, we ought to remember that we still have a choice; to be content or to be discontent.

Philip Greenslade[1] calls this phenomenon of contentment "the secret of adequacy," seemingly calling forth the Elbert Hubbard quote above. He cites Horatio Spafford, who after losing four daughters tragically at sea, wrote the famous hymn, It is well with my soul. Whatever his lot, Spafford had learned a contentment beyond reason. Greenslade goes on to cite yet another story; that of Clark Poling who willingly gave his life belt to a fellow sailor aboard their sinking ship in World War II. Poling's prayer to his parents, written in a letter, was:

"I know I shall have your prayers; but please, don't pray simply that God will keep me safe. War is dangerous business. Pray that God will make me adequate." [2]

Happiness really does lie in our own hands. Perhaps as the Apostle Paul mentioned in his letter to the Philippians, our goal should be to end up in this position: "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances." (Philippians 4:11 NIV) He follows this with, "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:12-13 NIV).

And who is this "him" that Paul draws his contentment from? How can a person give someone contentment? It's true; the person of Jesus Christ and his Spirit can give contentment like no other. Imagine being able to be contended no matter the circumstances. Choice for happiness comes down to allegiance. We choose Christ and he can create this within us, if we are willing.

Like Paul, Spafford, and Poling, we too can live this life of un-reason-able contentment.

Copyright © 2008, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

[1] Philip Greenslade, Rejoice: The King Is Lord: Cover-to-Cover Bible Discovery (Farnham, Surrey, England: Crusade for World Recovery, 2003), p. 119.
[2] Philip Greenslade, Ibid, p. 119.

No comments:

Post a Comment