One of my New Year’s resolutions is to “Rejoice Always.” (II Thessalonians 5: 16) During the Christmas season, as I was rushing all over town in my mini-van, I hear a segment on the radio that has stuck with me. The interview was on happiness. In the conversation, the guest asserted that 50% of happiness comes from hereditary sources. One is born with a sanguine or melancholy disposition. 10% of happiness comes from life circumstances. One’s finances, social, economic, and physical well being are included in this percentage. That leaves 40% of happiness based on a choice, choosing to be happy. 40%!
The interview went on to say that relationships, actively savoring life’s moments, and the old-fashioned notion of “counting one’s blessings” all contribute to one’s happiness level. As a Christian, I think of what Jesus taught us in the Greatest Commandment.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” (Mark 12: 31)
What relationship is more important than my relationship with God? I need to make time not only to learn and teach about my faith, but also to just be in the presence of the Lord. Sounds simple? Clearing my mind from external and internal distractions is no little feat for me. This takes planning, and I am going to make it a priority this year.
Jesus did not stop at our relationship with God, when he taught the Great Commandment. He went on to say,
“The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Recently, our pastor gave a talk and offered some sage advice, stop comparing oneself to others. We are all on a spiritual journey, he asserted, and in different phases of that journey. We should not judge others; we should not feel we are lesser than others. We are all different, and we are all children of God.
One of my greatest sources of unhappiness is when I start comparing myself to others. I can never measure up and I feel frustrated, and irritable. Unfortunately, I usually take these negative feelings out on my husband and children. I need to start enjoying myself for who I am and not second question the decisions I have made based on someone else’s perceptions. Accept my new role in life, albeit a much more private one, and enjoy my children, husband and the other fruits of this new life.
Finding time to work with my own hands: cooking more, or scrap-booking (actively savoring life’s moments), or even trying my hand at sewing. Finding time to write more and better, and to reflect on the gifts God has given me. In order for this to happen, I will need to really prioritize my schedule, and let other things go.