You take a giant step toward spiritual maturity when you choose happiness and refuse to be a victim of circumstances.
One of the toughest challenges a single person faces is accepting the truth that we do have a choice in how we respond in life. Once you test this principle and prove it true, you'll never want to go back.
Society encourages us to be victims. Whenever someone commits a crime today, their defense lawyer argues that their client was abused as a child or played violent video games or was influenced by a violent movie.
The victim mentality claims we're helpless, that we don't have any control over how we respond to what life throws at us. But that's a lie.
We can choose hope, and we can choose happiness. The sooner you believe this and start putting it into practice, the more happiness you'll wring out of life.
No, I don't know your past, but we all have pasts and we've all suffered hurt and disappointment. But remaining a prisoner of your past is a conscious decision you make.
Or, you can say, "That's it. That's enough. I'm not going to live this way any more. I'm going to do everything in my power to bring happiness into my life, starting today."
I recently received an email from a single woman who was in an abusive situation with her roommate. She told me she finally found her self-respect. She wasn't going to take it any more. She was moving out, to a smaller apartment, but she would have peace at last.
Good for her!
Choices like that take a lot of guts, but you can do similar things, if you ask God to help you. Something this big, this important, this difficult, requires the greatest power in the universe on your side.
You can make the decision to choose happiness yourself, but to keep choosing it in every situation that comes up, you're going to need God's help.
Have you ever noticed how some older people seem happy and relaxed, while others are grouchy and complaining?
Since I've passed my 60th birthday, I can comment with some experience on why they feel this way. Illness, pain, weakness or tiredness can be a real strain on your emotions. It's a challenge to be upbeat when you don't feel well.
Also, as you get older, you think about all the opportunities you missed in life. You see that you have less time left than you have behind you, and you may feel a sense of disappointment.
What do you do? What do you do? You either learn to smile through the disappointment and pain or you risk alienating everyone around you. You realize that you haven't had such a bad life after all, and if you're a Christian, the best is yet to come.
Being happy is as much a matter of your outlook as anything else. You can see the glass as half empty or half full, as they say. A sense of humor is the lubricant that keeps life going smoothly.
Nobody likes a grouch, so why be one? It gets you nothing except loneliness, and who needs more of that?
The happiest people are those who have learned to roll with life's punches. They've learned to appreciate their blessings!
No matter what you're facing, from loneliness, to a disability, to financial problems, to depression, you can start climbing out of that hole with the decision to choose happiness.
You'll have to change some lifelong habits. You may have to make some changes in your job or relationships with other people. You may need to get some professional help.
As somebody who did this, I can stone-guarantee you that it isn't easy. Few worthwhile things are. But I can also guarantee that if you are willing to ask for help, you can change your life for the better.
So if you've had enough misery, get started by accepting this truth right here, right now:
Starting today, with God's help, I choose happiness.