Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Secrets to a Happy Life

There are many self-help books, talk shows, and magazine articles that tell us how to find happiness. Some are helpful. Some are not. Some say if we get nipped and tucked, have a complete make-over, win the lottery, or make our first million dollars, we will be happy. Some say that if we indulge ourselves, buy more stuff, and seek immediate gratification for our personal desires, we’ll be happy.

The best self-help book written shows us the secret to happiness. It explains it simply and beautifully. It says: “…anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

How do we lose our lives for Christ’s sake? We love Him. We serve others. We seek to walk in His footsteps. We yoke ourselves with our Savior, so that He can help us carry our burdens of pain, sorrow, or suffering. God does not ask us to carry our crosses alone. He waits to help us.
One of the heaviest crosses that we can bear is feeling unworthy of God’s love or of the love of others. Remind yourself each day that you are beautifully and wonderfully made, that you are a child of God created in His image. Remember that He loves you infinitely and that you have infinite potential. You are loved!

As we seek to lose our lives for Christ’ sake, He will help us accomplish miracles. When I try to give my life to Him, He gives me power to do things that I could not naturally do. I can now speak comfortably before hundreds of people, trusting that God will give me the right words to say. Because I have given my life to God, He has used me in countless unexpected and wonderful ways.

I am a simple person with many weaknesses, but God has used my strengths as I serve others and has turned some of my weaknesses into strengths. I’m still learning and still growing, but I know I’m most happy when I lose my life it serving others. That is pure bliss!

Losing our life for Christ does not have to be difficult. Last week I took some fresh cherries to some shut-ins. They were thrilled! They hugged me, thanked me, and then called to thank me again a few days later. I expected nothing for my service, but was blessed with pure happiness for such a simple act.

Now, I’m not saying to become a martyr or a slave to other’s demands. We need to love ourselves as much as we love others, and we need to take good care of ourselves. And, we need to be grateful. Remember the words of the hymn:

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings; ev’ry doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by.

In the Psalms, we read, “…happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.” ““Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God.” “Whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he.”

Gratitude, service, and love promote peace and happiness. A prayer of thanksgiving, an act of service, remembering God’s love for us—these simple acts can produce profound results. They are the secrets to a happy life.

© Carol Brown

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