'If you're happy and you know it'

By Bishop Jonathan Holston

So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today s trouble is enough for today. “ Matthew 6:34

No truer words are spoken than those of our 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, when he said, People are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be.

Often, we find ourselves face-to-face with the challenges of life and reluctantly abdicate to our greatest fears. Anxiety, fear and worry take a tremendous toll. As we become saddled with tons of expectations and problems, our mental and physical energies are squandered. In an age that consciously and subconsciously stresses the material, we cry for more, only to discover that real happiness does not come from the outside, but from within.

James A. Moore, in a recent study, shared a story from the prolific writer Robert Fulghum that accentuates this thought. Having interviewed college students at the end of their formal education, he compared them to kindergarten students who were just beginning their educational journey.

Fulghum writes:

Ask a kindergarten class, ˜How many of you can draw? and all hands shoot up. Yes, of course we can draw “ all of us. What can you draw? Anything!

˜How many of you can sing? All hands. Of course we sing! What can you sing? Anything! What if you don t know the words? No problem, we make them up. Let s sing! Now? Why not!

˜How many of you dance? Unanimous again. What kind of music do you like to dance to? Any kind! Let s dance! Now? Sure, why not?

Their answer is yes! Over and over again, yes! The children are confident in spirit, infinite in resources and eager to learn. Everything is possible. Try those same questions on a college audience, and a small percentage of the students will raise their hands. Not infrequently, those who do raise their hands will want to qualify their response with limitations: I only play the piano, I only draw horses, I only dance to rock and roll, I only sing in the shower.

Then, Fulghum asks the question, What went wrong between kindergarten and college; why these limitations? Friends, this is a valid question for you and me. What limits have you placed on your spiritual growth? Who have you allowed to steal your happiness? Why have you allowed yourself to live down to someone s opinion of you? When will you move from your comfort zone to your courage zone?

As we lean into a New Year filled with opportunities and possibilities, I offer these suggestions for your reflection; namely:

1. Learn how to live one day at a time. Life does not force itself upon us all at one time. It comes in little pieces “ seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years. Even tomorrow is not ours until it becomes today.

2. Prepare, pray, work and plan for the best. Be open to learn from the experiences of each day.

3. Stop borrowing trouble. Finding the joy in your life daily brings forth the will to live.

4. Put God at the center of your life. Take time each day for spiritual reflection, meditation and devotion.

Remember that life is all about choices. You can choose how you will respond to the situations of your lives.

Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday. As for me, today is a day of new beginnings, new opportunities and new possibilities. It is a time to move beyond any limitations.

How about you? If you re happy and you know it ¦!

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