From The Kitchen Window - Happiness
Words by David Hollows
Way back in the day, Ken Dodd sang this song:
‘Happiness, happiness, the greatest gift that I possess. I thank the Lord that I’ve been blessed with more than my share of happiness’
Do you remember?
So, what makes you happy?
Spending time with family, grandchildren or friends?
Perhaps a holiday, a meal out or a visit,
You may prefer activities such as shopping, cooking, baking or gardening,
Your may find happiness when buying a new car or selecting clothes.
Different venues may help us to be happy: next to the fire in your home on a cold day, a brisk winter’s walk, at the seaside or in the countryside.
Certainly, the times of lockdown have helped us appreciate more of the above but not necessarily brought us happiness.
What are the emotions you experience when you are happy? Peace, contentment, a sense that all is well with the world.
Emotional well-being and mental health issues are a key feature of society today and these issues again have been highlighted during Covid-19 times and widely reported on in the media.
Photo by Noah Silliman via Unsplash
Happiness is an important factor in all our lives.
How do you express your sense of happiness?
How can others tell that you are happy?
Do you smile and smile more often?
Do you have a more positive outlook on life and this is reflected in your conversations with others?
Do you have a twinkle in your eye as you gaze out on the world?
On the other hand, what shatters your sense of happiness?
How easily do you lose your sense of happiness and do you recognise the trigger which robs you of your happiness?
Our happiness can quickly be fractured and our world becomes a totally different place.
Happiness is a commodity of life alongside peace, health and love yet none of these can be bought off the shelf or ordered on-line but each one can be shared. So, do you and how do you share your happiness with others?
Do you give more of your ‘happy’ time to others, for example, by telephone calls or cards?
Do you share ‘happy’ gifts with others, such as baking a cake or delivering a meal?
Sometimes our happiness is determined by other people and external circumstances such as our surroundings or the weather yet, so often, we determine what makes us happy.
Please consider this thought:
‘Friendship improves happiness and halts misery, by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief.’
Please now reflect upon this thought:
‘God’s goal is to make us holy, not just happy. For when we are holy, we are more likely to be truly happy and content.’
For those of us who have a relationship with God, we have come to realise that our happiness depends on the unchanging love of God.
In the Bible, the word ‘happy’ is sometimes swapped for words such as joy, gladness or peace yet there are several examples where the words, ‘happy’ or ‘happiness’ are used to help us understand that our happiness is important to God who has given us the Bible from which to learn how to be happy.
In the Beatitudes (Luke chapter 6) some translations of the Bible use the word ‘happy’ instead of the word ‘blessed’ When ‘happy’ is used then it may be qualified within the phrase, ‘with life-joy and satisfaction.’
Happiness, here, is a state of being, lifestyle and mindset.
When Jesus washed the feet of Peter during the scene of The Last Supper, Jesus says these words:
‘I assure you, a servant is not greater than his master and no one who is sent is superior to the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed and happy are you if you practice them.’ (John chapter 13 verses 16 and 17).
This time, Jesus wants His disciples to understand that our happiness is determined by our actions to others and how we serve others.
For James, however, happiness is a characteristic of faith, that when we endure difficult times and remain steadfast then we have happiness (James chapter 5 verse 11) James refers to Job and his sufferings yet we can look at the lives of persecuted Christians and see their happiness.
For Paul, happiness is ‘being at the stage of your faith when you do not judge yourself and what you do, because you are right with God.’ (Romans chapter 15 verse 22).
The book of Proverbs gives us many insights to this word, happiness:
‘happy is the believer who keeps God’s laws (chapter 29 verse 18.)
‘happy is the believer who reverently and worshipfully fears God’ (chapter 28 verse 14.)
‘happy is the believer who leans on, trusts in and is confident in God’ (chapter 16 verse 20.)
‘happy is the believer who is kind and merciful to the poor.’ (chapter 14 verse 21.)
In Psalm 146 we read ‘happy is he whose hope is in the Lord his God’ and in Psalm 128, ‘happy is everyone who fears, reveres and worships the Lord, who walk in His ways and live according to His commandments. For you shall eat the fruit of your labours, happy shall you be and it will be well with you.’
Paul learned to be content (happy) no matter what his circumstance (Philippians chapter 4 verses 11 and 12) and Jesus was happy when doing the will of His Father (John chapter 17.)
So, how happy are you today?
Photo by Nick Fewings via Unsplash
A prayer which you may find helpful:
Gracious God, we thank you for our happiness through your gift of life to us. We bless you that often it takes so little a thing to make us happy, that our happiness depends so much on others and our relationships with them. We thank you, God, that so much of our happiness comes direct from you when we are obedient to your calling on our lives and we serve you and others. Help us to be happy no matter what our circumstances because we know that all that we have and all that we are depend upon your loving us every day and our response to your wonderful love. In the name of Jesus we pray.