October 25, 2020

Pastoral Nuggets: Secrets to Happiness

Brother-Aaron-236x300To say the least, we live in a crazy, mixed-up world. We are living in the time Isaiah 5:20 speaks about when it says, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

We are also living in the time William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army spoke about when he said, “The chief danger that confronts the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell.” Sadly, we’re there!

Because we are constantly being bombarded by social media and 24/7 news cycles regarding everything that is wrong in our world, it’s easy to get disheartened, depressed, and to develop a sour attitude toward life as we know it.

When this happens, as Christians we need to pull back and refocus on what is really important. At best, little to nothing of major earthshaking cataclysmic consequence will change as a direct result of the time you and I spend on this planet. And believe it or not, the story of humanity is still unfolding via God’s script.

Now, that’s not to say we shouldn’t do our part.  I firmly believe we should stand for what is right and against what is wrong.  I’m just saying that sometimes we get so involved in things – that we cannot see the forest for the trees.  Often, we need to pull back, reflect, refocus, and regain proper perspective.

I ran across an article from a Quaker newsletter that I think we all need to read and reflect upon. It is entitled:  “Secrets to Happiness.”  

It says, “Live beneath your means. Return everything you borrow. Stop blaming other people. Admit it when you make a mistake. Give clothes not worn in three years to charity. Do something nice and try not to get caught. Listen more, talk less. Take a 30 minute walk every day. Strive for excellence, not perfection. Be on time. Don’t make excuses. Don’t argue. Get organized. Be kind to people. Be even kinder to unkind people. Let someone cut ahead of you in line. Take time to be alone. Reread a favorite book. Cultivate good manners. Be humble. Realize and accept that life isn’t always fair. Know when to say something. Know when to keep your mouth shut. Go an entire day without criticizing anyone. Learn from the past. Plan for the future. Live in the present. Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s all small stuff.”

In his book, “All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” Robert Fulghum said, “Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandbox at nursery school. These are the things I learned: Share everything. Play fair. Don’t hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don’t take things that aren’t yours. Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody. Wash your hands before you eat. Flush. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Live a balanced life – Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some. Take a nap every afternoon. When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands, and stick together. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the plastic cup? The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that. Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the plastic cup – they all die.  So do we.”

Kinda puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?

I truly believe that the secret to happiness is not found as much in changing the world as it is in personally learning to live a God-changed life! Change begins with us. You see, only changed people can change the world! I believe Gandhi had it right when he said, “Be the change you want to see in others.” I believe that’s one of the secrets to happiness!

Brother Aaron

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