Oh Happy Day (?)

According to the trending news feed on my Facebook page, today is supposed to be “International Day of Happiness”.

Since 2013, the United Nations has celebrated the International Day of Happiness as a way to recognise the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the world.

It is somewhat ironic for me that it falls on a day when I am NOT feeling happy.

My hubby is home sick – AGAIN. He has used up all his sick days and he is now quickly running out of vacation days. I am stressed because our finances are really being stretched at this point. The situation will become worse if my hubby runs out of vacation days and has to start losing paid days. The stress is making me anxious and the anxiety is making me grumpy and definitely UNhappy!

Now I am feeling self-condemnation because, as a Christian, am I not supposed to be “happy” at all times – despite my circumstances?

So I have decided to do a bit of research on the concept of “happiness”.

The online Merriam-Webster Dictionary gives the following simple definitions of “happy” and “happiness”:

: feeling pleasure and enjoyment because of your life, situation, etc.

: a state of well-being and contentment

Well, according to the dictionary, I may have some right to my current state of unhappiness as my “situation” is stressful which is not enabling me to live in a state of “well-being and contentment”.

But is that an accurate “truth”? The fact is that my current situation is stressful, but the whole truth is that, according to the Word of God, because I am a child of God, I should still be living in peace and contentment, regardless of circumstances.

Pro 16:20 … and whoever trusts in Jehovah, happy is he. 

It is interesting to note that the 1828 edition of Webster’s Dictionary includes the following statement as part of the definition of “happy”:

The pleasurable sensations derived from the gratification of sensual appetites render a person temporarily happy; but he only can be esteemed really and permanently happy, who enjoys peace of mind in the favor of God. 

Notice that the first part of the above statement says that happiness derived from gratifying “sensual appetites” (not meaning just sex but anything that pleases all of our five physical senses) only gives temporary happiness. True and permanent happiness comes from knowing God as a faithful, trustworthy, loving, merciful, gracious, compassionate, understanding and forgiving Heavenly Father.

I am a very emotional person and for me, happiness is an emotion based on circumstance rather than on a conscious state of being based on faith. I definitely need to work on that!

Having said that, I do believe that there are times when it is okay to be unhappy. Even the Bible says so!

Ecc 3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heavens: …
Ecc 3:4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

But I am going to try to work harder at feeling, if not “happy” in certain circumstances, then at least feeling more peaceful knowing that God is in control.

And I am going to review my previous post If You’re Happy and You Know It .

Wishing you much happiness on this International Day of Happiness. 🙂

If You’re Happy & You Know It

Psa 146:5 O the happiness of him Who hath the God of Jacob for his help, His hope is on Jehovah his God,

This topic is a bit challenging for me to write about at this particular time. My body, and thus my mind, don’t do well during November’s grey, dark, damp, raw, chilly, windy, YUCKY weather. The challenge at this time is to look at my life, outside my grumbling body, and really pay attention to the many blessings I have. So here goes:

Do you remember the song from childhood, “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands”? Well, if you could hear me through cyber space, you would hear me clapping my hands – not all the time, and not always loudly, but still, I clap my hands.

In this day and age, it seems like it is uncool to confess that you are happy. Well, at the risk of being thought to be a total “square”, I confess that I am happy! Now, I am not happy ALL the time and I am not happy for the difficult circumstances which tend to show up, unexpectedly and unwanted, like a wet fart. But for the most part, I am happy. In fact, I feel happier now, at this time of my life, than I have been at any other time.

My state of happiness is a work in progress and has come after enduring many years of unhappiness. Through my most difficult times, I have learned that I have to look for and actively pursue those things which bring me happiness. When I have felt lonely and purposeless, I sought out opportunities to help others. Being kind, compassionate, understanding and helpful towards others, brings it’s own rewards of fulfilment and happiness. When you are a blessing to someone else, you are blessed in return. I always feel really good when I help others.

Pro 14:21 … he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he.

Being open and aware of even the smallest blessings, can help you get through rough patches. I remember one dismal day when I was living alone and exercising on a ski-gliding machine. I was looking out the window and feeling isolated and lonely. All of a sudden, a beautiful male cardinal, in all his crimson glory, landed on a branch right outside my window. That wonderful flash of bright red against the white snow and evergreens did much to alleviate my spirits. That little bird brought a smile to my face.

Simple pleasures often seem the best at providing opportunities for happiness. I love sitting in a sunbeam reading a good book while my cat, Emma, snuggles on my lap, purring. A cup of creamy hot chocolate and a slice of toasted raisin bread dripping with melted butter is sure to bring a smile to my face – and my tummy!

I think that it is also VERY important to surround yourself with people who are also happy. I spent many years living with someone who oftentimes was not happy, peaceful, joyful or content. Someone like that tends to drag you down with them. That kind of relationship is TOXIC. The constant stress made me VERY unhappy.

While I know that we must have compassion for those who are hurting, and that we should be helpful whenever possible, I don’t think that it is healthy to invest a lot of time and energy on those people who are chronic “Sad Sacks”. I am not singling out people who suffer mental health issues, such as clinical depression and anxiety (of which I am one) but rather those people who seem to get some sort of perverse pleasure from being chronically negative and pessimistic. The people who refuse to see any good in any thing or any one. The kind of people who choose to remain wearing their “poopie diapers” (see Nov. 6th post).

I think that happiness is something that you must actively pursue. You can pursue it by choosing to think “happy thoughts”, by helping others, by participating in activities which you enjoy, and by surrounding yourself with people who make you happy.

All of the above have been a challenge to me at different points in my life, but I have found the effort to be well worth it. I think that the more you actively pursue happiness, the more happiness becomes an integral, in-dwelt part of you.

I pursue happiness by thinking about: all the blessings and the promises that God has given to me in His Word; what I am and what I have through His son, Jesus Christ; and all “my daily bread” that God provides for me.

Pro 16:20 … and whoever trusts in Jehovah, happy is he.

I pursue happiness by volunteering at a Senior’s Centre, and by facilitating a women’s fellowship. I also spend time in activities that I enjoy such as crafts, nature walks and photography.

And I spend time with people who bring me joy, primarily my wonderful hubby (of whom I can’t say enough good things).

I pray, that even in your grey and dismal days, you too will be able to pursue and attain happiness and that you will be able to sing that song and clap your hands with me.

Psa 128:1 A Song of degrees. Blessed is everyone who fears Jehovah, who walks in His ways.
Psa 128:2 For you shall surely eat the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and all is well with you.


A Confession

It is said that confession is good for the soul. Well, I have a confession to make – I am happy! It may not be politically correct, trendy or cool to say such a thing,especially as it often seems like we live in a society of whiners and complainers, but it is the truth – I am happy.

Now, my happiness does not stem from the fact that everything is just “tickety-boo” or “perfecto” in my life. I still live with some level of pain and/or fatigue every day. But I am happy that most of the time I can work, volunteer and  and go on the nature walks that I love so much.

I still have the specter of fear raise it’s ugly little head every once in a while that my bladder cancer will return. But I am happy that I have been almost 3 years cancer-free and that most of the time, I don’t even think about it.

Working at my job causes my legs and feet to be VERY sore at the end of my shift. But I am happy that I have a job that I really enjoy, I work with a great bunch of gals, my employers are great, I get to wear nice clothes and I earn a bit of spending money.

Certain family situations are very hurtful and stressful but I am happy that I know that my mom and my two sons love me very much and that I now have a beautiful granddaughter to cuddle and love.

I don’t have my own home or a garden to putter in but I am happy that I have a nice apartment that we have made into a cosy retreat and two planters on my balcony filled with pretty flowers.

I was deeply wounded and went through hell when my former husband left me, not only alone but poor, but I am EXTREMELY happy that I now have a WONDERFUL husband.

I used to be somewhat fearful of God, but now I am happy that He is at the center of my life and that I feel comfortable sharing all my fears and my joys with Him.

As I am writing this, I notice that every place that I have written the word “happy”, I could also have used the word “grateful” or “thankful”. I believe that the more thankful and/or grateful you are, the happier you are. I have much for which to be grateful and thankful and thus I am very happy.

I pray that your life is filled with happiness too.