Happiness Is a Choice By Joel Osteen
Having worked through the first six steps to living your best life now, you may be tempted to think that your best life is still a long way off. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. Your best life starts today! God wants you to enjoy your life right now. The seventh step to enjoying your best life now is to choose to be happy today! You don`t have to wait for everything to be perfectly straightened out in your family or with your business, or for all your problems to be solved. You don`t have to forgo happiness until you lose weight, break an unhealthy habit, or accomplish all your goals. No, God wants you to be happy right where you are, right now.
Happiness is a choice. When you get up in the morning, you can choose to be happy and enjoy that day, or you can choose to be unhappy and go around with a sour attitude. It`s up to you. If you make the mistake of allowing your circumstances to dictate your happiness, then you risk missing out on God`s abundant life.
You may be going through tough times, or you may have major obstacles in your path, all of which give you good reason to be unhappy or upset. But being unhappy won`t change anything for the better. Being negative and sour isn`t going to improve anything either. You might as well choose to be happy and enjoy your life! When you do that, not only will you feel better, but your faith will cause God to show up and work wonders in your life. God knows that we have difficulties, struggles, and challenges. But it was never His intention for us to live one day €œon cloud nine, and the next day down in the dumps, defeated and depressed because we have problems. God wants us to live consistently. He wants us to enjoy every single day of our lives.
To do so, you must stop fretting about the future. Quit worrying about how everything is gong to turn out. Live one day at a time; better yet, make the most of this moment. It`s good to have a big€”picture outlook, to set goals, to establish budgets and make plans, but if you`re always living in the future, you`re never really enjoying the present in the way God wants you to.
When we focus too much on the future, we are often frustrated because we don`t know what`s coming. Naturally, the uncertainty increases our stress level and creates a sense of insecurity. We need to understand, though, that God has given us the grace to live today. He has not given us tomorrow`s grace. When we get to tomorrow, we`ll have the strength to make it through. God will give us what we need. But if we`re worried about tomorrow right now, we are bound to be frustrated and discouraged.
You must learn to live one day at a time. By an act of your will choose to start enjoying your life right now Life is too short not u enjoy every single day, Learn to enjoy your family, your friends, your health, your work; enjoy everything in your life. Happiness is a decision you make, not an emotion you feel. Certainly there are times in all of our lives when bad things happen, or things don`t turn out as we had hoped. But that`s when we must make a decision that we`re going to be happy in spite of our circumstances.
Many people live in constant turmoil. They`re always upset, always frustrated, always having some kind of major challenge that`s keeping them from being happy. They can`t sleep at night; they`re too worried. They don`t like the people they work with. They get aggravated over the smallest things. When they have to sit in traffic or something doesn`t go their way, they get all bent out of shape and lose their cool.
It`s extremely important that we know how to live a life of peace. It we`re going to do that, we need to be flexible and willing to make some adjustments. When things happen that would normally bother us, We have to put our foot down and say, €œNo, I`m not going to let that take my peace. I`m going to rule over my emotions. I`m not going to allow myself to get upset and aggravated. I`m going to choose to be happy
It`s the Little Things
Normally it`s not the big things in life that get us upset; often, the little things bug us the most. But if we don`t learn how to deal properly with the little things, they`ll end up turning into big things. Say you drive home from work after a long day at the office, and when you pull in to park your car, you see that your kids have left their toys in the driveway. You have to stop, get out, and move the toys. You`re tired, it`s hot, and you get sweaty moving all that stuff. It`s a natural opportunity to get upset and frustrated. But you need to recognize what`s going on. That`s the enemy trying to steal your peace and ruin the evening with your family by getting you irritated over something relatively small in the grand scheme of life. You`ve got to make a decision that you`re not going to allow the matter to escalate; don`t allow yourself to get upset.
€œJoel, I can`t do that. I`m just a real high-strung person, you may say €œI get upset easily No€”you can do whatever you want to do. God said He would never let us go through something that is too difficult for us to handle. If your desire is great enough, you can stay calm and cool no matter what comes against you in life.
God gives us His peace on the inside, but it`s up to us to make use of that peace. Especially in the pressure points of life, we have to learn how to tap into God`s supernatural peace. The way you do that is by choosing to keep a good attitude. You`ve got to choose to stay happy
One day Victoria took my car down to the car wash to have it cleaned for me. I have a white 1995 Lexus that formerly belonged to my dad. Even though the car is getting old, it hardly has a scratch on it so it looks much newer.
On this day, Victoria drove it through our usual car wash€”one of those with supposedly super-soft brushes that are hardly even supposed to touch the car. Unfortunately something was slightly out of alignment, because not only did it take the dirt off my car, it put a scratch from the front bumper all the way up the hood and over the roof to the back windshield!
When Victoria got home, she stopped in the garage to survey the damage (I think she was secretly praying for a miracle!). Our son, Jonathan, came out, and when he saw what had happened, he came running into my office to announce the news.
It was a Saturday afternoon, and I had been studying and praying, getting my mind and heart prepared to speak at three services that weekend. I was trying to stay in a peaceful, calm, quiet atmosphere, but then came Jonathan! €œDaddy, Daddy! he called out. €œYou`re not going to believe what has happened. Mama has totally ruined your car!
€œJonathan, thank you for being so diplomatic, I said. €œNext time, you can just hit me with a two-by-four!
I was joking, of course, but I knew I had to make a decision. Was I going to get angry and allow this accident to steal my peace and my joy? Was I going to allow this circumstance to ruin my whole weekend? Or was I going to rule over my emotions and not allow myself to he upset and agitated? Was I going to keep my peace, knowing that God was still in control?
I went out to the garage and when I saw the car, I had to admit, the scratch was awful. But I simply made the decision not to get upset; I was going to stay happy. As I ran my fingers over the scratch from hood to trunk, I decided to look at the bright side. I said to Victoria, €œWell, I`m the only guy in Houston that`s got a Lexus with a racing stripe right down the center.
When negative things happen to us, no matter how much we rant and rave, it`s not going to change anything. No matter how much we murmur and complain, it`s not going to make anything better. I knew no matter how depressed I got about that car, or how much I flew off the handle at the car-wash people, it wasn`t going to make that scratch go away I decided that I might as well keep my peace. I might as well stay happy
The Bible says we are like a mist, a vapor; we`re here for a moment, then we`re gone. Life is flying by, so don`t waste another moment of your precious time being angry, unhappy, or worried. The psalmist said, €œThis is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it. Notice, he didn`t say, €œTomorrow, I will be happy He didn`t say, €œNext week, when I don`t have so many problems, I`m going to rejoice. No, he said, €œThis is the day This is the day that God wants you to be happy.
€œI`m just waiting on God to turn my situation around, I hear someone saying. That may Sound good, but the truth is, God is waiting on you. If you`d change your attitude and start enjoying where you are right now, God would show up and begin to work in your life. If you`re always waiting for some event to make you happy, you`re going to spend your whole lifetime waiting. Something will always be €œnot quite right in your life. You will always find some reason not to be happy.
I`ve heard people say, €œAs soon as I get married, I know I`m going to be happy then. But friend, if you`re not happy before you get married, you are definitely not going to be happy after you get married. Women have said to me, €œJoel, if you`ll just pray for me to find a man, I know I`ll be happy They come back a few months later and say, €œJoel, if you`ll just pray for me to get rid of this man, I know I`ll be happy!
The marriage partner is not really the problem. No other person can ultimately make you happy. You must learn how to be happy within yourself.
Granted, you may have some problems; things in your life may not be perfect. Maybe you wish you were more handsome or more beautiful, more gifted and talented. You may wish you`d been born with a lot more in your favor. But you can`t let those superficial things steal your happiness. You have to say, €œGod, I know You made me who I am on purpose. This is Your plan, and You have given me what I have to work with. I`m not going to complain or be negative. I`m not going to go through life wishing things were different, wishing I was somebody else. Father, I`m going to take what You`ve given me, and I`m going to make the most of it. I`m going to be happy with who You made me to be. I`m going to enjoy my life in spite of my shortcomings.
Don`t take for granted what God has already given you. Have a grateful attitude. See the best in every person and in every situation and learn to be happy right where you are. Here`s the key: Bloom where you are planted. You may not be where you want to be in life today. You may not have the perfect marriage. You may not have the perfect job. Life may not have turned out exactly like you`d hoped, but you must make a decision that you`re going to make the most of that situation. Learn to be happy in spite of your circumstances.
Bloom Where You`re Planted
I was walking in the woods one day when I came to a big, open field that was full of tall weeds. Everywhere I looked, all I could see were ugly, brown, dried-up weeds. But when I went a little farther down the path, I noticed one beautiful flower standing in the midst of all the weeds. It was so colorful, so vivid and, amazingly, it had blossomed right there in the midst of those drab, dreary weeds. I thought, That is exactly what God wants us to do, to bloom wherever we`re planted.
You may live or work around a bunch of weeds, but don`t let that stop you from blooming. Realize that your environment does not prevent you from being happy. Some people spend all their time trying to pull up all the weeds. Meanwhile, they miss much of their lives. Don`t worry about things you can`t change. You can`t change the traffic in the morning. You can`t fix everybody at work. You can`t make all your family members serve God. But you shouldn`t let that keep you from being happy. Bloom anyway, and focus on the things that you can change. You can change your own attitude. You can choose to be happy right where you are.
Keep a good attitude and keep blossoming right where you are. If you`ll make the decision to stay faithful and be content, at the right time God will change those circumstances. He`ll get you out of those old weeds and put you in a better place. But if you refuse to bloom where you are, your progress will be stifled. God has planted us somewhere specifically so we might bear much fruit. And it`s not so important where we are. What matters are: Are we bearing good fruit? Are we letting our lights shine? Are we being good examples? Can people see the joy of the Lord radiating from our lives? If you will keep blooming right where you are, then you can rest assured in God`s perfect timing. He will transplant you. He`ll put you in some new soil so you can bear even more fruit. But if you`re not happy where you are, you will never get to where you want to be.
Some people are convinced that life is simply a series of problems to be solved. The sooner they get through with this problem, the sooner they will be happy. But the truth is, after you successfully make it through this problem, there will he another problem to face. And after you overcome that obstacle, there will be something else to overcome. There`s always another mountain to climb. That`s why it is important to enjoy the journey, not just the destination. In this world, we will never arrive at a place where everything is perfect and we have no more challenges. As admirable as setting goals and reaching them may be, you can`t get so focused on accomplishing your goals that you make the mistake of not enjoying where you are right now.
I`ve heard parents say, €œWell, as soon as my children get out of diapers, I`m going to be happy A few years go by, and they say, €œAs soon as they go off to school, I`ll have some free time. Then I`m going to be happy A few more years go by €œWhen the children graduate, things will slow down. That`s when I`m going to start enjoying my life. Meanwhile, life passes by €œAs soon as I get that promotion, as soon as I close this big business deal, as soon as I retire . . . No, you need to learn to enjoy your life now, every day, every part of life`s journey
Big events will not keep you happy. They may make you happy for a while, but after that wears off, like an addict looking for a fix, you`re going to need something else. Maybe you have allowed yourself to slip into the habit of waiting for everything to be calm, serene, and settled before you lighten up and grant yourself permission to enjoy life. You`re waiting for your problems to be solved. You`re waiting for your spouse to become more spiritual. You`re waiting for that child to change, for the business to grow, or for the mortgage to be paid off.
Why not be happy right now? Don`t go many years down the road and then realize, when it`s tragically too late, that one event or achievement, or even a series of them, did not bring you lasting happiness. Appreciate today Enjoy life`s journey
These are the good old days. Twenty years from now, hopefully, you will look back and say, €œThat was a great time in my life!
You may be saying, €œBut I have so many problems. How can I enjoy my life? You need to realize that every person has problems; you are not unique in that respect. We all go through things at times that we don`t understand. Although you may think your problems are enormous, tragic, or devastating, somebody€”possibly many people in the world€”have it much worse than you do. Your life compared to somebody else`s is a bed of roses. Don`t ever take for granted what God has done for you. You may have some obstacles today, but some people would give anything in the world to have your life. Some people would give anything to have your health or your prosperity. Living in America, we have so much for which we should he grateful. We should stop emphasizing what`s wrong and start thanking God for what`s right.
The apostle Paul wrote more than half of the New Testament while incarcerated, often in tiny prison cells not much bigger than a small bathroom. Some historians and Bible commentators believe that the sewage system of that day ran right through one of the dungeons in which he was imprisoned. Some commentaries state that it`s possible that he could have written some of the great passages of what we now know as the New Testament standing in raw sewage that at times came all the way up to his waist. Yet Paul wrote such amazing faith-filled words as, €œI can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. And, €œThanks be to God, who always causes us to triumph, and €œRejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Notice, we are to rejoice and be happy at all times. In your difficulties, when things aren`t going your way, instead of having a pity party and thinking about how unfair life is treating you, instead of feeling sorry for yourself, make a decision to rejoice in the Lord. Choose to be happy! Choose to stay full of joy,
When you rejoice in the midst of your difficulties, you`re giving the enemy a black eye. He doesn`t know what to do with people who keep giving God praise despite their circumstances. Our attitude should be: I don`t care what comes against me in life. I`m going to stay full of the joy of the Lord. I`ve made up my mind that I`m going to live my life and be happy. I`m going to enjoy my life to the fullest.
We need to understand that the enemy is not really after your dreams, your health, or your finances. He`s not primarily after your family. He`s after your joy. The Bible says that €œthe joy of the LORD is your strength, and your enemy knows if he can deceive you into living down in the dumps and depressed, then you are not going to have the necessary strength physically, emotionally, or spiritually€”to withstand his attacks. You will be vulnerable and beatable.
Smile for Your Health
It is a scientific fact that if you go through life in a negative frame of mind, always stressed out, worried, and full of fear, your immune system will weaken, making you more susceptible to sickness and disease. Scientists have discovered that every person develops cancerous cells in his or her body every week. But in the tremendous immune system God has given us, we have cells called the €œnatural killer cells. These cells are designed specifically to attack and destroy abnormal cells. Studies have shown that fear, worry, anxiety, stress, and other negative emotions actually weaken those natural killer cells. In other words, if you go through life uptight and stressed out, you will weaken your own immune system, making yourself more susceptible to sickness and disease.
On the other hand, people who are happy and have a positive outlook, people who laugh on a regular basis, develop more of these natural killer cells than the average person. Think of it! When you stay full of joy, your immune system functions at its peak performance level, just as God intended. The Bible says. €œA merry heart does good like a medicine. One translation says, €œA cheerful mind works healing, and that Scripture continues to be confirmed by modern science.
One of the healthiest things you can do is learn to smile more often. When we smile, it sends a message to our whole body setting the tone for our lives. Studies tell us when we smile, certain chemicals are released that travel throughout our system, relaxing us and helping us stay healthy. Whether you have a reason to smile or not, make up your mind that you are going to smile anyway
I was in the front lobby at Lakewood Church one day when a little boy came up to me with a serious, troubled expression on his face. He looked me up and down, and then said, €œI want to know something about you.
€œOkay, I responded. €œWhat would you like to know?
Without missing a beat, the boy replied, €œI want to know why you smile so much. He said it so sternly, I almost got the impression that there was something wrong with smiling so much!
Nevertheless, I answered. €œWell, I smile because I`m a happy person. Do you smile very often?
The little boy thought about it, and said, €œOnly when I`m eating ice cream. A lot of adults are similar to that little fellow. They only smile when everything in their lives is sweet and creamy. But if they would lighten up, God might do a miracle in their lives.
Learn how to laugh. Quit being so uptight and stressed out. A relaxed attitude will not only lengthen your life, it will make it much more enjoyable.
That in itself is reason enough to quit complaining and start rejoicing. The more you thank God for what you have, the more He will give you what you don`t yet have. Paul said, €œI have learned how to be content no matter what my circumstances are. The Amplified Bible says, €œI have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am. Notice, Paul had to learn how to be content, just as he learned how to stay full of joy. These responses did not happen automatically Paul had to make some decisions that resulted in contentment.
Be Content Where You AreNow, being content doesn`t mean you should sit back, fatalistically accepting life`s problems or troubles; it doesn`t mean you should live life like a wandering generality, unmotivated and undisciplined. Nor does being content mean you lack passion or you are devoid of a drive and desire to want things to change for the better. No, being content simply means you trust God enough that you don`t get frustrated when things don`t go your way. You don`t allow circumstances to steal your joy and keep you from being happy. You can choose to stay happy and content no matter what comes against you in life. You can decide not to let little things get the best of you.
If you are always discontented, something is wrong. If you get up each morning and you dread going to work, dread driving in the traffic, dread dealing with the boss, dread doing what you do all day, and dread coming home, either your attitude needs to change or you need to change your occupation!
On the other hand, in most cases, God is not going to change your circumstances until you change. If you don`t learn to be content where you are, you`re never going to get to where you want to be. You may not have all the money you want today. Things may be tight, and you may be struggling. But as long as you complain all the time, talking about how poorly life`s treating you and how you`re never going to get ahead, your sour attitude will keep you right where you are.
You may not be everything you want to be. You may not have everything you want to have, but you must learn to be content, regardless of your circumstances. You must trust that God is at work in your life. You need to believe that you are making progress. You are growing. The Bible says God changes us little by little. Don`t be upset or discontented; know God is in control.
The Bible says, €œThe steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD. If God is ordering your steps, that means where you are right now is exactly where God wants you to be.
€œOh, Joel, that couldn`t be true, you say €œI`ve got too many problems. I`m too uncomfortable in this place. This can`t be God`s plan for me.
God has you there for a reason. You may not understand it. He may be trying to do a work in you. He may be trying to teach you, to push you, to stretch you, to see how you`re going to respond in that difficulty. Or, God may have put you in that situation to be a part of the work He is doing in someone else`s life. God may be using you to influence other people. But whatever it is, you might as well choose to be happy, knowing that God is directing your steps and He has you there for a reason.
Isn`t it interesting, we believe that God is guiding us as long as we are getting what we want and we`re €œliving on the mountaintop, relatively unscathed by the warp and woof of life in the valley below. But we need to understand that the Lord is directing our steps even when it seems things are not going our way. You may be in a stressful situation today. You may be living with a spouse or a child who is difficult to get along with. Or perhaps because of politics at the office, you are not being treated fairly, or possibly you are having to work two jobs in order to make ends meet. You may be thinking, This doesn`t seem right. God, I don`t understand it.
The Scripture says, €œSince the Lord is directing our steps, why try to figure out everything that happens along the way? Friend, you are never going to understand everything you go through in life or why certain things come against you. You simply must learn to trust God anyway. You must learn to keep a good attitude, knowing that God is in control.
Back in the late 1990s, two former college basketball players€”both twenty-seven years of age; one stood 6`7 and the other 6`5€”were headed to Kenya to work on a missions project. This was their first trip overseas, and they were extremely excited about it. They had prayed for many months, asking God to use their lives and asking that everything go smoothly on this trip.
When the plane was about to land in London, the weather was too foggy, forcing the plane into a holding pattern above Heathrow. After circling for a couple of hours, the two young men missed their connecting flight to Kenya. They were extremely disappointed as the next flight wasn`t for eight or nine hours. They were a bit irritated and said so. €œGod, we don`t understand this. We spent all that time praying for things to go smoothly. The whole church was praying for us, but now we start off with a setback.
When it finally came time for the next flight to leave, there were no seats available except in first class. The airline seated the two big fellows right up at the front of the plane, with plenty of leg room, so they were happy about that. But about midway through that flight, the plane took a nosedive and started streaking toward the ground at full throttle. People aboard the plane were screaming as the flight attendants scrambled to keep the passengers from panicking. They thought for sure they were going to die.
The young guys up front maintained their wits enough to pray: €œGod, it`s bad enough we missed our flight, but now we`re on this plane, and it`s about to crash. God, we really don`t understand this, but use our lives somehow
About that time, they heard some noise that sounded like a struggle in the cockpit. They looked at each other and said, €œWe have nothing to lose. Let`s find out what`s going on! A flight attendant opened the cockpit door, and there was a deranged man€”a big man who stood over 7` tall€”attacking the pilots and trying to gain control of the plane. The two pilots, who were 5`4 and 5`7, were desperately trying to stop the madman, but they didn`t have a chance.
When the two basketball players saw what was happening, they wrestled the attacker to the ground and pulled him out of the cockpit. By the time they were able to subdue him, the plane had fallen all the way from 30,000 feet to less than 4,000 feet. Had the pilots not been able to regain control, within seconds the plane would have crashed, most likely killing everyone aboard and possibly people on the ground.
Sometimes God will put you in an uncomfortable situation so you can help somebody else. God delayed those two young men on purpose. He put them in first class, right up front, so they could help save that entire plane. God knows what He`s doing. He can see the big picture; He can see the future. And He has you exactly where He wants you today. Quit questioning Him and start trusting Him. Just know that God is in control. He has your best interests at heart. He`s directing your steps.
Your responsibility is to choose to be happy, regardless of what comes your way You may work around somebody who gets on your nerves and annoys you. You may be thinking, God, I shouldn`t have to put up with this. I don`t understand this. Why don`t You get this person out of my Life? But have you considered that God may have put you there on purpose to help do a work in that person`s life? Maybe you are exactly what that person needs. Maybe God is counting on you to be a positive influence, to speak a word of encouragement, to let your light shine so He can make a difference in that person and change his or her heart.
Choose to be happy Choose to keep a good attitude. Remember, happiness is a choice you have to make. And even when you don`t understand it, know that God is at work in you and He`s working through you. Make up your mind that from today forward, you are going to bloom where you are planted and enjoy every single day of your life.