Happiness is a Choice!


Bruce Bakker is a friend of mine. Along with his wife, Barbara, and their daughter, Kim, He’s a part of the Church-Family where I preach. And one of the most cheerful guys I know!

Yesterday he had hip replacement surgery. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen anyone go into surgery with a more positive attitude than Bruce. He was jovial. Joyful. And positive. Plus he had that big, infectious smile on his face.

The surgery was later in the afternoon. And he couldn’t eat all day. So he decided the day before to have some fun eating. And eat well. He went to three of his favorite restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner! I like that.

In a culture obsessed with happiness, I wish folks could know Bruce Bakker. They might learn something about what makes a person happy. He’s had some health problems, but he remains happy. Abraham Lincoln once said, “I think most folks are about as happy as they choose to be.” Bruce has chosen to be happy in spite of any set-backs life has thrown at him.

The late Groucho Marx said it well, “Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”

Advertisers tell us that happiness can be enjoyed if we use the right toothpaste. Wear stylish clothes. Drive a fancy car. Or 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). Bruce would agree.

Others think happiness is found in a 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).

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 a 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. Jumping 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.

Bruce Bakker is a good example of holiness and happiness. Here’s praying for a successful recovery, my friend! And keep smiling! You’re spreading happiness everywhere you go!

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


Filed under Happiness

8 responses to “Happiness is a Choice!

  1. Bill Cielo

    Very true… thanks, Ken.

    Bill Cielo Cell Phone: (816) 507-2330 bcielojr@aol.com

  2. Lavada

    This is BEAUTIFUL Bro. Ken!! I love, love, love it! I am truly inspired by those who persevere through trials and smile at the same time. I remember back when you were doing the word of the day/week and one of the words was JOYFUL….I attached it to every email and text I sent out with the hope it would inspire others to feel joyful….from their hearts as it did me. May God continue to bless and keep Bro. Bakker as he recovers and Bro. Ken, you keep doing what you’re doing and may God bless and keep you and Sis Norma as well!!

  3. Bill Miller

    Bill Miller wrote:
    I met Bro. Bakker at a song leading class a couple of months ago. His love for singing praise to God struck me! His positive outlook on life was infectious, and, this was before I knew about his health issues. Being around people like Bro. Bakker makes us better people. May God bless him and his recovery.

  4. Craig Thomas

    Thanks Ken for making this day a “happy day”!

  5. Sarah M.

    As a granddaughter, I can attest to a lifelong behavior of smiles and encouragement from Papa. He is an extrordinary man and I am so glad he is on his way to healing! Thank you for a great post Ken!
    -Sarah McGrath

  6. William Godwin

    Great blog Ken. And Bruce Bakker is truly an encouragement to us all. He is certainly making the most of his walk with Christ and is positively impacting the lives of others.

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