While visiting one of the preschool rooms at St. Francis Xavier School, one of the students placed a sticker on me. The brightly colored sticker said, “Choose Happy”. The sticker proclaimed a truth I doubt the student was thinking about, to be happy is often an intentional decision.
There are days when feeling happy comes spontaneously -- - the sun is shining, birds are singing, a day free of worries. But the truth is that we don’t always feel happy. Abraham Lincoln is credited to have said, “most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” To be happy midst our struggles is possible because we believe in God’s promise that he always walks with us.
Here are ways to choose happiness.
1. Have a grateful heart. Recall a moment during each day that you are grateful for, where you have witnessed the grace of God at work. You will quickly discover there is always, always, something to be grateful for. Consider having a gratitude journal where you daily note what you are grateful for, finding something different each day.
2. Remind yourself every day that you are God’s son or daughter and that you are precious in God’s eyes. Everything God has created is very good.
3. Wake up on your own terms. Most of us have alarm clocks programmed because of the expectations of others: a workplace, a school, or family and friends. That’s probably not going to change. But that doesn’t mean we have to lose control over our mornings. Wake up just a little bit early and establish a morning routine that includes time spent with God.
4. Hold back a complaint. The next time you want to lash out in verbal complaint towards a person, a situation, or yourself, don’t. Instead, humbly keep it to yourself.
You’ll likely diffuse an unhappy environment. You’ll experience joy by choosing peace in a difficult situation. Bring the difficult moment to God in prayer.
5. Embrace your strengths and choose to operate within your giftedness each day. God has gifted each of us with unique talents and abilities.
6. Treat everyone you meet with kindness, patience, and grace.
7. Find time alone in prayer. The speed and noise of our world can easily distract us from doing God’s will.
8. Let’s face it, life can be difficult. Nobody escapes without pain. At some point—in some way—we all encounter it. When you do, remind yourself again that God walks with you. Remember Jesus words, “come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” Take his hand and let him comfort and lead you.
Continued blessings in these Easter Days!