My great grandmother rarely ventured beyond the confines of her bedroom, but she was happy.
As long as I can remember, my great-grandmother—Mammy, lived with my paternal grandparents. Her bedroom was just off the living room of the old home, and in those two rooms she spent most of her days. But she never appeared sad. Crocheting afghans was one of her passions. For weeks and months, she would sit in a straight back white chair, a basket of yarn beside her, an intense smile on her face, and work her needles. Often, she watched Perry Mason on the television while she did so. If not him, a game show.
When Mammy wasn’t there, she was in her bedroom, sitting on the bed reading her Bible. I often sat with her and had long conversations.
Mammy was always happy. From today’s vantage point, she appeared to live a somewhat boring lifestyle, but obviously she didn’t think so. She enjoyed the simple things. Wise King Solomon proposed the same: eat, drink, and enjoy life.
Happiness is a state of mind and not governed by circumstances or things—as Solomon discovered. Things may create happiness in my life for a short time, but eventually—like a child, I tire of them and want something new. And if I wait until circumstances are continually pleasant to get happy, I’ll only experience happiness infrequently.
A permanent state of happiness—like Mammy possessed, is created through a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ. Knowing my sins are forgiven lets me live life with a smile on my face. And I should. I have something to be happy about. This continual state of heart happiness validates my witness to others. If I claim to know Christ yet appear sad all the time, a contradiction occurs. Understanding God loves me unconditionally and that I can never do anything to make Him stop is important for maintaining a smile on my face.
Happiness can also be caught. I caught Mammy’s, and I hope my demeanor—along with the words I write, will help others catch the “Be Happy” attitude too.
Are you continuously happy, or are you allowing circumstances to govern your smiles?
Prayer: Father, remind us we can live in a state of joy because of what You’ve done in our life.
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