Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.
Long, long, long ago, I used to read a regular comic strip in a daily newspaper. The characters were called Ivor Lott and Tony Broke (get it?).
Anyway, one story that forever stands clear in my memory was a Christmas feature. In the opening scene, Tony Broke is given a gift, with which he is clearly delighted. In the next scene, Tony visits his well-to-do school mate, Ivor Lott. He is shown into a room by the family’s butler.
Ivor has a mountain of gifts and is pictured dressed in ski wear and using his skis to negotiate his way up the steep incline of presents to the top. The picture always made me smile. And even now, the memory of that scenario still has the power to raise a smile and chuckle. Poor Tony looks on in envy and suddenly does not seem so appreciative of his one little gift.
Why am I telling you this story? Because I want to draw a parallel here.
Compared with people in the developing world, many of us are blessed with abundance. Yet, shamefully, even as Christians, we can become dissatisfied with our lot and murmur against God.
If you are a constant complainer, be aware that God hears and he hates ungrateful attitudes (e.g. see Numbers 11:1-6).
As purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, we should (like the Apostle Paul), learn to be content – Philippians 4:11-12.
Am I saying we should not have ambition or aspire to be, or do better? No! Am I saying we should not strive after, or enjoy success? Absolutely not!
What I am saying is: we must watch our attitudes. What I am saying is, we must not get involved in unhealthy competition. What I am saying is we need to guard our hearts from covetousness. And above all, I’m saying, let’s recognise and be thankful for the current benefits and blessings we already possess.
Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.
If you do not already make it a habit to give God thanks, make this day, this week, this year, the time you begin to do so regularly. Why not make a list of the benefits you’ve been blessed with, then whenever you feel tempted to murmur, complain, feel hard-done-by, or compare yourself with others who are more successful, read that list, remember those less fortunate than yourself and give God sincere thanks.
Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, followers and visitors, I pray that April will be a month of lasting inner peace, personal growth and contentment for you all. Shalom!