Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Why Are Some People So Happy?

My good friend Bob Nash has got one of the greatest smiles in all the world!

For some reason, this morning I was reflecting on the reasons why some people are so unhappy. Why are so many folks perpetually unhappy, sad, discontented, or just plan miserable? Why do so many teenagers bounce in and out of contentment and seem to be manic-depressive as an age group? I remember being that way - especially in my mid-teens. So, okay, I'll quit asking about everyone else and just get a little personal here. When I've been unhappy, why did I feel that way? I say "when" because it doesn't happen much at that point in my life. I know a little more about peace, contentment, and priorities now than I have in the past. So, I get to reflect and ask why. When I do that, I find everything boils down to the same reason - every time.

Here is what I wrote down on a piece of paper this morning. It's on a sticky-note, and yes, it will probably be something that will show up in a sermon in the near future.

You are only as happy as your ability to think about others rather than yourself.

I truly believe that the most miserable people in the world are the people who spend most of their time thinking about themselves. So now you know why teenagers are so miserable so much of the time. The more you focus on yourself, the more you feed the need for attention, for approval, for things that feel good, for things that will build your ego, and the more you resent anything or anyone that competes with any or all of these things. If we don't learn the lesson of unselfishness as teenagers, which most of us don't, we tend to struggle with the chase for happiness for a lot of years, and in the meantime, we can lose friends, destroy marriages, alienate loved ones, and postpone seeking God.

There is a reason why Paul connected godliness with contentment. Godliness (God-like-ness) is love or thinking of others! Contentment is finally finding happiness.


elizabeth said...

I really, really like this post! And, unfortunately, it hit a cord...or maybe that's fortunate. :)

Anonymous said...

I whole heartedly agree with you. It reminds me of Philippins 2:2-4. Happiness will result when we humble ourselves and esteem others more highly than ourselves. What a MIGHTY concept! G.C.