Finding Happiness In God’s Kingdom

finding happiness

Finding Happiness In A World Filled With Hate

Finding happiness is a journey we all take and like every good journey, there are bound to be ups and downs. The feeling that comes with real contentment, sheer joy, and a sense of well-being are what we all strive for in life. When you’re on the path to finding real happiness, plotting the journey becomes just as important as the journey itself. Unfortunately, the world is at a crossroads with how it treats one another and achieving happiness is not given for anyone.

Hate has taken over the world and many people are scared, lonely and feel as if happiness is no longer within their grasps. We are living in a time of great heartache with terrorism, racial tensions at an all-time high, and Christians are facing persecution all over the world. In fact, over 95% of people either go to bed or wake up with worry and fear.

How about you?

Do you feel that way?

For me, I never thought I’d find a way to be happy ever again. In September of 2014, I nearly died in a horrific car accident that left me with four crushed discs in my back and two herniated disc in my neck. Walking has become a chore as well as trying to get the proper amount of sleep but you may think I’d feel sorry for myself after that but God turned around my life and He can do the same for you.

Ways For Christians To Start Finding Happiness In A Sinful World

You’d think it would be easy to find ways to be happy in life with the amount of things that tickle our fancy. From social media to video games, easy sex, illicit drugs, and immoral practices, living without sin can feel like a daunting task.

How does one go about finding ways to be happy without committing sins against God?

As a Christian, we must get back to basics. Do we follow society’s version of happiness and be like everyone else or do we follow God’s plan and alienate ourselves from the masses who don’t believe in God?

For young people, it can be a struggle but fortunately, God has given us a roadmap to follow that guides our every step. It’s called the Bible yet many Christians do not read it and follow God’s commands, especially millennials.

For them, God has become something that isn’t cool anymore and most people do not like to be told they are sinning so they ignore the teachings and live for the next high or good time. But is that really fun they are having or have they become mindless followers?

Let’s look at Five Ways Christians Can Start Finding Happiness In Life

1- Loving Others – Selfishness has become the norm in society. Everyone thinks they are entitled to things but forget that they must work for what they have. Loving others brings happiness in a way that we cannot find on our own. Mahatma Gandhi once said that “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

Studies have shown that helping others improves our own levels of happiness.  A 2010 survey entitled Do Good Live Well Survey , found that out of 4,500 American adults, 41% of Americans volunteered an average of 100 hours a year. 68% stated that they feel physically healthier after helping others, over 89% said it improved their sense of happiness, and 73% found it lowered their stress levels.

This is a big difference in the way most people live. We put our circumstances first and complain about feeling tired and stressed out yet the path to happiness always goes through others. In their book  entitled The Paradox of Generosity , sociologists Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson  found that very happy people volunteer an average of 5.8 hours per month. as oppose to those who are unhappy who volunteer just 0.6 hours.

Volunteering to help others is a concrete way of putting God’s word into practice. We are asked to love God with all our hearts and soul and to love others as we do ourselves. Giving of ourselves does that much more than giving money can ever do.

2- Show Compassion Emma Seppala Ph. D., states that We often think that we will gain happiness by achieving, receiving or attaining. We also think that in order to be happy, we have to receive love. Think again! Research shows that our greatest fulfillment comes in large part from being connected to others and from helping them.”  She goes on to say this about compassion, “Compassion brings meaning and researchers have found that living a life of meaning is one of the greatest determinants of happiness. Not only does compassion ensure depth, fulfillment and purpose in our lives, studies show that it has powerful health benefits and even leads to a longer life!”

Compassion is the glue that holds humanity together. Love cannot function without compassion and we as humans cannot experience real happiness if we are not filled with compassion for others as well as ourselves. Having compassion for ourselves helps us feel good about our existence and who doesn’t want to feel good?

Learning how to be compassionate starts with empathy.  We cultivate compassion by developing empathy for others. Empathy brings appreciation for our own situation and circumstances while helping us to see the suffering of others.

Having compassion for others also brings out the commonalities we all share. It is through this shared commonality that we recognize the worth of others. Our happiness comes from loving others in a compassionate way.

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – Dalai Lama

3-Self-Discovery –  Happiness comes from inside not from all the things you’ve accumulated over the years. When you don’t feel happy, it’s time to take a step back and get to know yourself. When you know who you are, what your core value system is, and take notice of what fills you with joy, you’ll be ready to plot your course to true happiness.

Getting to know the real you can be difficult. You’ve formed an opinion about yourself from the time you were a small child and what makes you happy, sad, angry and self-confident is all based on both your personality, circumstances and experiences. You may be surprised to find that what you thought was true isn’t true at all.

God knows you better than you will ever know yourself and has a plan for you. Following this plan brings it’s own brand of happiness.

Self-discovery is your launching pad to finding  happiness in your life. When you know what you want out of life, what your true purpose is, and why God created you, you will be  on your way to completing the circle of happiness that all Christians long for.

Assessing the various parts of your Christian life can be helpful in determining what level of happiness you achieve. One way is to keep a gratitude journal. Each day, write down all the thing you are grateful for. pray for guidance so that you focus on those things that bring gratitude into your life.

loving God

4- Find Your Core Values  – The essence of your personality come from within your core values. If you’re engaged in activities or have relationships with others who don’t meet the criteria that meet your true values, it’s time find a way to r surround yourself with positive people who adhere to those values you hold dear to your heart.

Your core values are the building blocks of who you ultimately become. Life coach, Debra Smouse states that, ” Your values are who you are, not who you think you should be in order to fit in.”  We sometimes forget that and make fitting in with others our goal in finding happiness. Instead, your beliefs and values give you purpose and are the branches that we spread out amongst the world.

Christians must wade through a maze of conflicting messages that can compromise our values and send us skidding down the pathway towards sin. Having the right values and living your life based on those values keeps Christians strong. Our love of God and His word teach us what to believe in and we derive our happiness  from putting those beliefs in action.

5- Live Out The Gospel – Every Christian knows what the four Gospels teach and our whole existence is based on those teachings. How often do we compromise what we’ve learned to seek out happiness in all the wrong places?

We are told in Psalm 1:1-6 that, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.”

Prosperity comes from the law of the Lord. We are hardwired for happiness and that happiness comes in the form of Jesus Christ. It’s in our pursuit of holiness that real joy comes into our heart. The more we love and follow Jesus, the more we experience the joys He has promised.

Happiness is a journey.  We must practice it everyday if we are to overcome sin and those who force their beliefs on us. The more we come to Jesus and submit ourselves to Him, the more we will find joy in our ordinary lives.

Happiness is there for the taking. Are you Christian enough to take it?

Summoned To Love

7 Tips On The Importance Of Remaining True To Yourself

Do You Know The Importance Of Remaining True To Yourself?

remain true to yourself

Do you know who you really are?

Do you live according to your authentic self?

The problem that most people have is they try to be all things to all people and forget who they really are inside. They try to be politically correct in an imperfect world where they try to fit in with those who have no tolerance for people and thoughts they don’t agree with.

Learning how to remain true to yourself is more than just sticking up for yourself and your beliefs. It goes far beyond just saying this is me and like it or not, I’m going to be who I am. Let’s delve into the inner working of what it takes to stay true to yourself.

Here are 7 Tips To Remaining True To Yourself and Your Ideals 

1- Cherish Those Things Close To Your Heart – The first thing that comes to mind when trying to remain true to your inner self is learning how to cherish those things that are close to your heart. Life isn’t always about us but the people and experiences that make up who we are right now and who we ultimately become. Never forget where you came from, your struggles and the people who helped you get where you got to today.

Those that are true to their inner self are the ones who are unselfish and believe in the love that God has given them. Without that love, you cannot be someone who claims to be authentic if you don’t realize where it came from… our creator!

2- Trust Your Gut – How often have you listened to your gut and found that what you were feeling was real? For most people, they forget how to use their intuition to live an authentic life.  That inner voice we have is telling us what we should do at any given moment in time. If you believe in God and trust Jesus, that inner voice gives you the roadmap from which to find your passions and make honest and caring decisions.

We find this in 1 Samuel 16:7

“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

How does your inner voice  help you make decisions everyday that allow you to remain true to yourself? Each of us was born with a different personality and  our daily experiences in life mold our thought processes and shape who we become. No matter where we come from, we have been taught the differences between good and evil and when we choose to follow our gut instincts, it should keep us out of trouble.

3- Focus On Your Spiritual Fulfillment – One thing that most people tend to forget in their lives is their spiritual fulfillment. They go off and think everything is all about them and want to experience what life has to give but there’s much more to life than our selfish interests.

This is true when it comes to knowing who we are on the inside. I see too many people searching for things that make them happy when everything they need is inside of them. God has given us life and created us in His image but when you forget Him, you forget what He did for us.

Christianity has become the new whipping boy in the media and they so love to put us down band blame us for everything that is going wrong but without spiritual fulfillment, we are missing out on all the great things that make us who we are.

According to David Truman, “The primary discipline in true spiritual practice is to accept our true nature as God created it, and then to learn how to express it under all circumstances — as an outworking of that enlightened self-identification. Living goodness may take time and effort to replace well-rehearsed habits of egoic living. But it’s not hard to do; it’s a joy. Hold firmly to positive self-identification, and old habits will fade fast.”

We are under the false impression that we know who we are. Our ego tries to tell us who we are but God knows the real us. Our values teach us how to act but they don’t tell us who we are, only God can do that. Ego tells us we aren’t good enough or are too good but it stands in the way of us seeing the person that God created and how we are to fulfill that calling.

We find the true self in our spiritual practice of loving God and letting God work in us. The self that lets go of it’s own selfish ego and allows God to take over. We cooperate with God in a way that brings out the best qualities in us and allows us to seek His happiness, His peace and His love. We start with love and end with love. Everything in between is a mission to become one with our creator.

4- Live With Integrity – Integrity is is essence, a state of becoming complete or whole in everything we say and do. We are truthful in our words and deeds, and believe in the power of truth and love above all. A person built on trust is someone we can count on no matter what.

How often have you told someone you were going to do something and either forgot about doing it or decided it wasn’t worth it? Your word means everything. Integrity is an important component in becoming true to your inner core.

Clarity of thought and deeds depend on living with integrity. Knowing the difference between right and wrong is much different than doing what is right or wrong. That means being transparent and owning up to your mistakes. Don’t blame others for what you do but be bold enough to let your actions speak for themselves. We see it in this beautiful quote by Juan Mascaro:

“The thought manifests the word;
The word manifests the deed;
The deed develops into habit;
And habit hardens into character;
So watch the thought and its ways with care.”

Integrity is the means that we bring moral decisions and actions into our lives. What we are taught means nothing unless they put into action. Who we are comes from those actions. The more integrity we have the better we serve the Lord and can maintain the true self.

5- Live In The Moment – Our lives are made up of all the experiences up to this moment. What happens after this moment no one knows but you must learn from the past to live in the present. Tomorrow will take care of itself. but it is how you live today that shapes who you are right now.

It seems everyone is so worried about the future that they forget about today.

Are you taking in all that is around you?

Do you give and receive love in a way that helps others?

Steve Jobs, the late founder of Apple once said, “If today was the last day of my life would I want to do what I’m about to day today?” It is about listening to your inner voice and examining what you are doing today. Yesterday cannot be changed but you have the chance to do that today.

We see life as a black and white piece of paper that tells us we must do this or something will happen and if we don’t, we will pay the price for not listening. Life is much more than that. It’s about seeing all the beauty around us and becoming part of the play that is life. Don’t sit in the balcony and watch others… instead, open your heart and live life. You will make mistakes but that shouldn’t  preclude you from seeing what life has to offer.

The real you wants to be part of everything because we are all interconnected. God made us that way for a reason. We are social creatures who need to interact. Being true to yourself is a personal choice that brings you in line with what God has made you for… a beacon of love to the world.

living with authenticiity

6- Live With Authenticity – How many of us actually let our authentic selves come out to play? Not many. Why is that so? We are so afraid to open up based on what others will think or say that we fall into line with everyone else and forget we are all individuals.

We are so afraid of others laughing at us or disagreeing with our intentions that we bottle up our true selves and assume the role of robots in society. That is, becoming like everyone else that we are just a number instead of an individual with our own thoughts, feelings and idiosyncrasies.

We must learn how to be proud of who we are and what we’ve become. We are not in competition with others but in association. Through interconnections we work together for the betterment of society as a whole and for ourselves on a personal level.

Living authentically means being aware of who we are and allowing it to be a blessing to others. Doing things so others may accept you means nothing unless it comes from the heart. You need to act in ways that are in harmony with your values, preferences, abilities, and beliefs. Without this, we are just fooling ourselves and others can see right through us.

“Feelings or emotions are the universal language and are to be honored. They are the authentic expression of who you are at your deepest place”.

Judith Wright

7- Take Responsibility For Your Life –  The real you must be responsible for everything you say and do. It’s not about blaming others but standing up for what you believe and being able to take the heat despite what others may think.

Learn how create your own experiences. Take control of your life and create the experiences that bring you happiness, love and inner peace. Don’t rely on others to fulfill your purpose. You need to take responsibility and do it yourself.

Learn how to make positive changes that bring out the authentic you. None of us are perfect but when we try to act that way we fail miserable. Changing for change sake does nothing to help us become better individuals but changing to make positive change that benefits others… well, that is something we all need to aspire to.

Finally, take responsibility for who you are at all times. It’s no one else’s job but yours. To remain true to yourself, you need to work at being the best you possible. It’s not easy, takes time and patience but this is about you. Make living your true calling your ideal life.

Be bold… be alive… and be authentic. Your life depends on it!