Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
~ Philippians 4:8-9
It's good advice. It makes sense. So why is it so hard to do? I feel burdened by the ugliness of this world sometimes. I long to hear an encouraging word. Darkness seems to be everywhere.
But there is light.
All scripture is for our benefit, whether it's admonition or encouragement. God has our best interests at heart, always. I see this clearly in the verses above.
Our Creator is giving us the key to happiness outright.
The good Lord knows we are prone to discouragement. Studies show that we need to hear 10 positive things to outweigh the effects of just one negative statement. We are quick to notice and comment on the negative, slow to believe and extol the positive. Ask any mature Christian who has weathered the storms of life what advice they will give and it nearly always includes something along these lines -- the more you praise God and offer thanks, the happier you will be.
Sometimes it's difficult to find the good in a situation. Believe me, I know.
But there is peace in the praise. There is hope in the pure. There is life in the loveliness.
Is your spouse driving you crazy? Think about the reasons you first fell in love.
Are your kids misbehaving? Remember the day they were born or the Mother's Day card they made with construction paper and crayons and glitter.
Overwhelmed by the villains? Consider the heroes.
I'm not talking about pie-in-the-sky, bury-your-head-in-the-sand kind of happiness. Illusions won't do. I'm talking about making a choice to see the good. Making a choice to find solutions rather than problems. Making a choice to play the "glad game" like Pollyanna if necessary. Our attitude can make all the difference.
God offers us peace if we follow His directions. Isn't it worth a try? Happiness -- true joy -- is a state of mind and heart, not a laundry list of belongings or wish fulfillment. I'm going to make an effort today to look for the good and concentrate on the lovely. Will you join me?