Happiness is a Choice

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Most people are about as happy as they choose to be.”  Interestingly this comes from a man that suffered much heartache, disappointment and defeat in his life.  

The world today is seeking happiness. Advertisers tell us that happiness can be enjoyed if we use the right toothpaste, wear stylish clothes, drive a fancy car and vacation in luxury resorts.  Several years ago the Winnebago Mental Health Institute at Oshkosh,Wisconsin, published a report in which the director, Dr. Darold Treffert, blamed the increase in problems among young people on what he called the great “American Fairy Tale.”  One of its themes is “More possessions mean more happiness.”  Yet, Jesus said, “One’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Lk. 12:15).  

Others think happiness is found in better circumstances, a new house or a different spouse.  Robert J. Hastings was right when he wrote, “Places and circumstances never guarantee happiness.  You must decide within yourself whether you want to be happy.  And once you’ve decided that, happiness comes much easier.” Paul said that he had enjoyed abundance, suffered need, was up and down, but in all of this he had learned in whatever circumstance he was in to be content (Phil 4:11-12).  

In fact, I think that happiness is a by product and not the goal.  When we are seeking personal growth, sowing seeds that benefit others, and serving God with all of our heart, soul and mind, we will find inner joy, peace of mind and contentment of spirit. Someone compared happiness to chasing a butterfly.  The more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it comes softly and sits on your shoulder. 

Jerry L. Walls wrote, “In our age, as in every age, people are longing for happiness, not realizing that what they are looking for is holiness.” Seeking holiness is difficult for most people to do, because our secular society believes that it’s all about being happy.”  Too often worldly pleasures are seen as the gateway to enjoying the good life and finding happiness.  Hopping from bed to bed and bar to bar is not the way to happiness. In fact, such a lifestyle will ultimately leave one feeling empty, unfulfilled, and unhappy.   Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God” (Matt 5:8).  When we experience God’s blessedness, we feel happy. 

The real key to happiness is summarized in the two great commandments: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’   This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt 22:37-39).  These speak to the three basic needs of all human beings: (1) Self worth; (2) intimacy with others; (3) a close relationship  with God. 

So, today, regardless of your situation or circumstances, choose to be happy. And quite unexpectedly happiness will light on your shoulder, fill your heart, and bring a smile to your face.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


Filed under Happiness

5 responses to “Happiness is a Choice

  1. Before I had read your article I had written down a future “perryism” – “If happiness is a choice, then what does that make unhappiness?”


  2. Pingback: Word of the Week: Happiness | ThePreachersWord

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