What Makes You Happy?

Nothing makes me happy the way chocolate does. And pizza. Not together, of course.

But that kind of happiness doesn’t last long. And too much of that kind of happiness could take my weight back up from 147 to where it was five years ago, over 200 pounds.

Hmm. I’m not an overly materialistic person; I pay strict attention to the family budget and to the amount of space we have. Still, wouldn’t a $2500+ Taylor guitar or a BMW sports car make me happy?

Both of those things would bring a different kind of happiness and one that might seem more permanent than pizza and chocolate.

But I know enough about myself and about happiness to know I wouldn’t ultimately be any happier if I had both of those things. Even if I didn’t reach the point of taking them for granted, either of them could be stolen, damaged, or destroyed. And where would I be then?

Would I cease to be happy if something happened to either of those things? Or to favorite photographs and recordings that couldn’t be replaced?

Nope. I would undoubtedly be upset at first, but then I would count my blessings. And I would remember that my happiness is not dependent on things.

Looking back at my seventy years of life, I can pick out a number of successes (and ignore a number of failures). Things I’m proud of. But does the memory make me happy? Not really. Not anymore. Especially if I’m failing to do anything noteworthy now. The happiness I gained from having three novels traditionally published has faded into remembered pleasure. But it’s the next book that will bring happiness of sorts…until that fades and I must focus on the book after that.

Happiness is an odd bird, isn’t it? One that won’t remain in its cage, even with the door shut.

Nonetheless, I am happy. Not usually an exuberant kind of happy, but a peaceful kind of happy.

Peaceful? Now there’s the secret. Happiness and peace are very similar, and peace isn’t necessarily the absence of violence or of conflict. It’s an attitude. We can decide to be happy.

Yes, it’s easier when everything’s going right, but it’s not dependent on that. When our relationships with God, other people, and even with ourselves are the way they should be, peace is a natural byproduct. And that peace brings happiness.

So, what makes you happy? Are you conscious of the effect of good relationships in your life? Or of bad relationships? Please leave a comment.

I’d like to express my thanks to Andy Stanley for his video series on happiness. Although we’ve only seen the first program so far in our Wednesday night Bible study, he inspired some of the ideas I elaborated on in this post.

NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.

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Best regards,
Roger

The Names of Gods or of the One and Only God?

I was taking my early Friday morning walk at the mall recently when I passed the men’s barber shop, one of the few places that was already open. I couldn’t help noticing a lone book on a shelf inside–The Names of God.

I’m not familiar with that book, so I’m neither praising nor criticizing it, but it did make me do some thinking. With a name like that, it could mean either of two things.

The book could be about the  various names given to the Christian God of  the Bible. If you want to see some examples of what I’m talking about, check this website.

Or it could mean the exact opposite. Many religions refer to their deities as “god.” Probably billions of people not only believe all of them are valid, but that every path leads to their “god” and that he’s essentially the same as everybody else’s god.

Christians often take heat from non-believers about our intolerance of anything but Christianity. And our refusal to accept every religion as a legitimate pathway to God.

We have a friend who considers himself both Muslim and Christian. Jesus plays an important role in Islam, but He’s not the Son of Allah or anything more than a very important prophet. Our friend believes that all ways to God are good–and asks that we not try to proselytize him. He thinks he’s fine in his beliefs.

Despite his study of the Bible, he apparently doesn’t understand that Christians base our “one God” theology on what Jesus Himself says in the Bible. “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father but through me.”

That’s pretty clear cut, don’t you think?

One other thing I’d like to mention while I’m thinking about it. Christianity is not actually a religion. A religion is a belief system in which followers must live up to whatever standards their whatever-called deity has established. Standards that are necessary to please the deity and attain whatever rewards fulfilling them results in.

Trying to be “good” is admirable, but trying to be “good enough” to earn God’s favor is something else: Impossible.

That’s because Christianity is a relationship. Each believer has his or her own relationship with God through faith in Jesus as the only one who could ever be “good enough” to make us acceptable to God. That’s how we become “Children of God.”

Is that relationship aspect of Christianity something you’re already familiar with? Does it make sense? Please leave a comment, even if you disagree with anything I’ve said.

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I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on  “As I Come Singing.” Check it out HERE if you’re interested.  Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website.  Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.

My newest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Go HERE for links to those places.
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Best regards,
Roger