My sun porch

My sun porch

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Beginning the year with my very own "Happiness Project"

I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. (Ecclesiastes 3:12, 13 NIV)

I have written about being happy and/or content before. It is a consistent theme in my life because I get so frustrated with myself for getting melancholy and dissatisfied with my life. I have a good life...what reason do I have to be sad? I have SO MUCH! 

And yet, I seem to go in cycles...or patterns of happiness and satisfaction. I go to work, take care of my family, spend time with friends, am active in my church...a pretty busy life...a basically pretty happy life. Most days are good. Most days are satisfactory. But occasionally, I find myself feeling sad and depressed at my life and wonder what to do about it. I pray, talk to friends and read books on the subject, all in the vain attempt to find the secret to happiness.  

My latest attempt is the book "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin. It has been a pretty big book in the last year and has gotten a lot of press. I have had it on my "to read" list for months! This seems like a good time to pick it up.

The first few pages of the book explains why the author decided to do this "project" and how she went about it. She read a LOT...from the great philosophers like Aristotle to current popular figures such as Oprah. I don't have time to do all that! I am relying on her research and work. The rest of the book is her month-by-month memoir of her year long happiness project and the action steps she took each month. Action steps...that is what I need!

So...I am stealing Ms. Rubin's ideas. I am going to look at her action steps and try to incorporate them into my life..with my own own "happiness project." And, I will use this blog to journal my progress.

Before I begin, though, I must go back to the verse I listed at the beginning of this post. While I don't believe God promises us we will always be happy,  (Jesus did say there WILL be problems and struggles in this life.) I do believe that God wants us to be happy. But you will notice that that happiness also requires us to do good, and the last part of the verse mentions toil. It takes work! Happiness is not something that just happens to us. We have to give to get. 

Lord, let me do good with my life and find satisfaction in the good works that I do. Just for today, open my eyes to the people and situations around me and allow me to help when help is needed, smile when a smile is needed. Maybe my happiness isn't all about me!

That seems like a good place to start! Tomorrow I will tackle the idea of getting more sleep! ;-)

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