Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Because I'm Happy...

David Weedmark posted 20 surprising links you may have thought contribute to happiness but actually don't (and vice versa). Here are a few:
    *Happiness increases with age.
    *Only 10% of your happiness is based on external circumstances
    *Happiness has a fragrance.
    *Hugging your children can influence how happy they'll be as adults.
And more...

According to recent Gallup Polls, how one views their life (is it prosperous and enjoyable) can be different than how one actual lives their life.  Our perspective isn't always objective. It's like the age-old question? How are you?  Fine.  Fine? What does that mean? Do we even take the time to analyze our feelings to see if we truly are happy?  If we are living the way we want to live?

"Gallup measures "how people live their lives" by asking a series of 10 questions on positive and negative experiences. The five positive experiences include feeling well-rested, laughing and smiling, enjoyment, feeling respected and learning or doing something interesting; the five negative experiences include stress, sadness, physical pain, worry and anger. "
Many people falsely assume that if they have a good income, a family and are well-liked, they are "happy." I'm sure it comes as no surprise, but Americans are not at the top of the list for perceived happiness or actually living out a happy life. We are crazy-busy, successful, and one of the most prosperous nations in the world, but we aren't happy. One in ten Americans take an antidepressant; if you are a woman in your 40s or 50s, your chances are one in four.
“It’s not only that physicians are prescribing more, the population is demanding more,” Dr. Mojtabai said. “Feelings of sadness, the stresses of daily life and relationship problems can all cause feelings of upset or sadness that may be passing and not last long. But Americans have become more and more willing to use medication to address them.”

It seems that people are looking in the wrong places to bring about happiness. But, of course, that's nothing new. Why not add drug-aid to the mix? I'm not saying people don't need antidepressants; many do. In fact, this article went on to say that many people who are depressed never even get the professional help they need. And it stuns us when we see those people expose their deep depression in the worst possible way. It's hard to believe it's been a year since this happened. And the violent uproar at Ferguson has been a year as well, though it feels even longer for some. I want to scream, "How is this all helping?" And then we find out that millions of dollars are funding the harvesting and chopping of baby parts. How can people just see and not stop? How can our technology and knowledge not change our view of this barbaric practice? Or as Matt Chandler says, Nazi excrement. Watch this 6-minute video for his poignant words. Do you feel like you need to retch?  For we are wretched...wholly lost and incapable.

“Sin and death and suffering and war and poverty are not natural—they are the devastating results of our rebellion against God. We long for a return to Paradise—a perfect world, without the corruption of sin, where God walks with us and talks with us in the cool of the day.”
― Randy AlcornHeaven

And we are supposed to be happy in the midst of all this muck? How is it possible? Is that why so many drink away their nights and find the next attractive body to warm their bed and we keep pushing aside, screaming at the voice that says, "That's not it."

“Life is not a straight line leading from one blessing to the next and then finally to heaven. Life is a winding and troubled road. Switchback after switchback. And the point of biblical stories like Joseph and Job and Esther and Ruth is to help us feel in our bones (not just know in our heads) that God is for us in all these strange turns. God is not just showing up after the trouble and cleaning it up. He is plotting the course and managing the troubles with far-reaching purposes for our good and for the glory of Jesus Christ.” 
― John PiperA Sweet and Bitter Providence: Sex, Race, and the Sovereignty of God

This void we seek to satisfy isn't some great mystery. We, as those bestowed with joy, just do a lousy job of demonstrating something deeper and fulfilling. We have forgotten the joy of our salvation and the perspective of brevity. We are aliens on this strange and decrepit world.
  “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world." 
 ― C.S. Lewis

Thank goodness, huh? For if this is all there is...something remains wholly insufficient.
Randy Alcorn puts it this way:
“Nothing is more often misdiagnosed than our homesickness for Heaven. We think that what we want is sex, drugs, alcohol, a new job, a raise, a doctorate, a spouse, a large-screen television, a new car, a cabin in the woods, a condo in Hawaii. What we really want is the person we were made for, Jesus, and the place we were made for, Heaven. Nothing less can satisfy us.” ― Randy AlcornHeaven

So much more awaits...and that alone brings us excessive joy...abundant happiness... and blissful hope. Hold onto that, anticipate it, and let it change everything.

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