I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid (Jesus in John 14:27, NLT).
An author that I like to read has the last name of “Amen.”
He writes books on happiness and in his latest book, just published, he writes:
In early 2020, rates of depression – the opposite of being happy – tripled from 8.5 percent, which was already at record highs, to a horrifying 27.8 percent just a few months later.
Wow, I’m glad that he continues to write books on happiness. In his opening chapter, he quotes Albert Schweitzer:
Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.
Dr. Amen (yes, he is a medical doctor) lists “Lies of Happiness” at the beginning of his book. I’ve freely borrowed from them and added a couple of my own. I hope that you will say, “Amen!”
Lie #1: You don’t deserve to be happy. All have decided to walk away from happiness and serve something other than the God of joy. But you have been created for happiness – and through God’s grace, you can find joy. (Pastor Grant on this one.)
Lie #2: Having more of something (love, sex, fame, drugs, etc.) will make you happy. If you are not careful, the more pleasure you get, the more you will need in the future to continue making you happy – something called hedonic adaptation. (Dr. Amen)
Lie #3: Your life should be free of anxiety. According to one of the longest studies on longevity, those who believe in the philosophy of “don’t worry, be happy” die early from accidents and preventable illness. We need anxiety to be happy. Appropriate anxiety helps us make better decisions. (Dr. Amen)
Lie #4: You are doomed to unhappiness. The brain can be re-wired through praise, healthy habits, and literally determining to act happy even on days when you are not happy. (Pastor Grant and Dr. Amen)
Lie #5: Money makes you happy. When wealthy people were asked what they needed to be a perfect “10” in happiness, most said, “I need more than what I have.” Money is the root of all kinds of evil. (Dr. Amen and the Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 6:10.)
Lie #6: All you need is a positive attitude. Negative people have difficulty deciding to be happy and following through with their happiness decisions. They need encouragement from others. The writer of Hebrews said, “Don’t forsake assembling together but encourage one another and all the more as you see the day of the Lord’s return approaching.” (Pastor Grant and Hebrews 10:25)
You can read more about what Dr. Amen says in his book, You, Happier.
I write often about joy and peace and how to overcome debilitating anxiety in Interruptions. I write about worry and defeat because I deal with these negative attitudes myself on a regular basis.
I can think too often, “As a pastor for 49 years, I should be more happy, wealthy, and wise.” And then go into a funk of discouragement, money worries, and confusion about decisions in my life.
What I have learned in 50 years of following Jesus is that He always stands next to me. He is the source of peace in my life and freely gives me the grace through which I find peace.
The Lord stands with you in all situations. As the Lord of Peace, He will share with you who He is and, in His presence, you will always find peace in every way (2 Thessalonians 3:16, OGV – Old Guy Version… I’m the old guy.).