The wisest man who ever lived said, “Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.” Proverbs 21:19 (NIV) In another place, “A nagging spouse is like the drip, drip, drip of a leaky faucet.” Proverbs 27:15 (MSG)
The first verse is directed toward women. I assure you the same is true of men. Grumpy people are hard to live with. Don’t be grumpy.
I spent a good deal of my life thinking about reading about and praying about how to be happy. I suspect I’ve read 100 books on the topic, and written several as well. I’d like to condense a lifetime of thinking on this topic in the seven key points.
Take responsibility for your happiness
I heard the story of a counselor who wanted to impress on his clients importance of taking responsibility for their lives. Like many good teachers do, he reduced the teaching to a slogan that he repeated over and over. Here was his slogan that summarized life’s most important message: no one’s coming.
He said it so often that one of his clients did a cross-stitch and framed it for his wall. New clients would see the cross-stitch and ask about it. The cross-stitch became a teaching moment.
One of his clients pushed back. “It’s not true, Doctor. You came. You have helped me. You have rescued me. You have made all the difference in my life.”
“Well, I appreciate that. It’s good to hear that I have helped. But I’ve come with a message, and that message is this: no one’s coming.”
Happiness starts by taking responsibility for your own happiness. If you are a Christian, I’d encourage you to take seriously the command of God to rejoice in the Lord always. The command is repeated multiple times for emphasis.
Incredible promises are given to the joyful. “Take delight in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 (NIV) We tend to think we will be joyful when we get what our heart desires. The Bible says it works the other way around: we get what our heart desires when we find the grace to be obedient to the command of God to be happy.
The Bible lists other benefits of cheerfulness:
- Worry weighs us down; a cheerful word picks us up. Proverbs 12:25 (The Message)
- A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22 (NIV)
Terrible warnings are threatened against those who don’t serve joyfully:
- Because you did not serve the LORD your God joyfully and gladly in the time of prosperity, therefore in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and dire poverty, you will serve the enemies the LORD sends against you. He will put an iron yoke on your neck until He has destroyed you. Deuteronomy 28:47–48 (NIV)
- And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel. 1 Corinthians 10:10 (NIV)
Joy is a command. It is our responsibility. No one is going to do it for us.
Hunt, Josh. 2014. How to Get along with Almost Anyone. Josh Hunt.
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