| || || |
Do you envy people who are always smiling, who never seem to have a bad day, who appear to be floating throughout life perched over rainbows and sunshine? Did you ever wonder what was their problem but secretly longed to be just like them? Get a revelation today: The power to be cheerful at all times, despite your circumstances, is out there. It doesn't come from an outside source, it is within you. All it is waiting is for you to water it, coax it and love it to life.
Make the decision to be cheerful for that day. Being cheerful is not an emotion you feel, it is a choice you make. Do not make the mistake of thinking you have no control over your feelings and emotions. You may be going through desperate, trying times, but being sour, bitter and miserable about them will not solve anything.
Make up your mind right now to make the most of your day, the most of every minute, every second, every breath, every heartbeat. Focus on one single thing to be cheerful about and magnify it. It may not be much, but the more you force yourself to find the good in your life and those around you, the easier it will become to recognize the small miracles in the midst of the ordinary.
Bloom where you are. Don't refuse to bear fruit right now. Don't wait until you are in a better place to let your light shine, to be content and stay in faith. You may not be in the best of environments, but if you gripe and complain, you will never get to where you want to be. If you can remain cheerful and excited about your future, make no mistake, God will reward you and transplant you to a better place.
Don't hide your beautiful smile, light the world with it. Not only does it relax your body, it helps keep it healthy. Don't wait until things in your life are going well to smile, do it now.
Become a giver. Give encouragement, give a smile, give a hug, give hope. When you give of yourself, your time, your resources, not only will you make others happy, but you will feel whole, complete, happy, cheerful.
The Blessings of Cheerfulness
Health Value of Cheerfulness
Cheerfulness energizes, strengthens and tranquillizes the nervous system. It contributes to better circulation of blood, increases vitality and lengthens the span of life. Cheerfulness not only grants better health, but also makes one physically attractive and magnetic. Therefore, be always cheerful.
Moral Value of Cheerfulness
Cheerfulness engenders a number of moral qualities in daily conduct of our life. A cheerful person has an understanding, forgiving, loving, nature. He shows more power of endurance and tolerance than others. Therefore, in all circumstances of life, remain cheerful.
Economic Value of Cheerfulness
Cheerfulness helps you execute your work with less fatigue and more confidence. You turn out more work, and more efficiently, than your most industrious but cheerless companion. The earnings improve, and you can look forward to promotion to a higher office. Therefore, be always cheerful.
Mental Value of Cheerfulness
Cheerfulness brightens the mind, renders the intelligence luminous and adds a sparkle to the eye. For this reason, remain cheerful always.
Social Value of Cheerfulness
We feel happy, hopeful, encouraged and bright in the presence of a cheerful person. A cheerful person has a pleasing and graceful behaviour and everybody likes to associate oneself with him.
Cheerfulness is a social asset. It is contagious and without it, life would be a boredom and a burden. A cheerful person is welcome everywhere, and makes many friends. At the very first sight he endears himself to all strangers.
The dignity of a person consists in his capacity to hold permanently in control the mood of the moment and to express cheerfulness.
As the leaves breathe in, during the day, the poisonous carbon dioxide, and breathe out the life-saving oxygen, a cheerful person takes in all the difficulties of life, and transmutes them into the strength that conquers, the peace that triumphs, and breathes out through his eyes and personality the life-warming sunshine of happiness and smiles.
Spiritual Value of Cheerfulness
A cheerful person takes a happy heart into meditation or prayer, and comes back with the sunshine and smiles of the highest divine Consciousness. Such a person has the faith that the Divine, with whom he is in communion, by meditation and constant remembrance, will clear all difficulties, and help overcome all trials of life. Such a person is happy in the thought that however great be the problems, they are too fleeting to deserve much attention.
The cheerfulness of the inner heart, increases the Love for the divine Truth, and promotes self-surrender to the infinite Wisdom and Peace. Cheerfulness aids concentrations and grants a deeper and more fruitful meditation.
God is Delight. And, cheerfulness is a grand help to God-Experience.
If for nothing, at least for its therapeutic, social and spiritual value and effects, one should remain cheerful in all conditions of life. Such a state of inner being, grants unusual, moral, mental and spiritual strength. Hundred are the blessings of the cheerfulness you manifest in daily life.
Smile, smile all the time. Smile in Love. Smile in Patience. Smile in Knowledge. Smile in Goodness. Smile in self-control and perseverance. Smile where smiles are impossible for human hearts. Smile at all times, in all circumstances; smile in the broad all-fulfilling, all-calm, all-conquering Love and Light of the Experience of God’s Omnipresence and Omnipotence.
Are You a Cheerful Person?
Do you ever wonder why some people are always smiling and seem to be “walking on sunshine”? You can be one of them!
A smile is one of the most universal human expressions. Every human being does it, and it requires no complex action. Just lift up your cheeks and spread your lips.
Have you noticed the magnetic effect on you when someone smiles? You immediately find yourself doing the same. A room full of people seems to light up when a person enters smiling; he or she tends to bring a change of mood: cheerfulness.
However, being cheerful is not just about smiling—it is a matter of the mind and is related to attitude. Being cheerful, therefore, is a choice.
We live in a world plagued by misery, heartache and sorrow. Millions suffer depression, some few find temporary relief through therapy and various drugs. According to statistics provided by PBS, “Major depression affects approximately 15 million American adults or about 8% of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.” In addition, “Depression is also known to weaken the immune system, making the body more susceptible to other medical illnesses.”
The book of Proverbs teaches, “A merry heart does good like a medicine: but a broken spirit dries the bones” (Prov. 17:22).
A merry heart, or cheerfulness coupled with laughter, actually releases “neuropeptides—that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses—into the immune system,” a Mayo Clinic study revealed. “In contrast, negative thoughts…can impact your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity.”
We live in a world of uncertainty, where the anchors in life that should keep people positive, secure and happy are unknown or forgotten.
From when I was a teenager to the time of my conversion, I was introverted. (Many may not believe this today, however, it is true.) Numerous times I would have to travel by car with my boss, to various towns to work. These trips lasted two to three hours. I would sit quietly in the car not talking, and my boss would attempt to initiate conversation. I would respond with a “yes” or “no,” and then look out of the side window. I struggled with this trait for a long time, and it was difficult to overcome, until I was called by God. I received His Spirit at baptism, and over the years, I was given the opportunity to develop godly confidence through various opportunities in the Church.
The key that helped me conquer this fear of people (anthropophobia) was to step out in faith, trusting in the lessons taught in Scripture and emulating the good examples set by Church leaders at that time.
I came to understand what Paul meant when he told Timothy that God had not given him a Spirit of “fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (II Tim. 1:7). Understanding this helps set the stage for answering the question, “Are you a cheerful person?”
Paul mentions four qualities: fear, power, love and a sound mind. Let’s analyze these characteristics and see how they play a part in being cheerful.
Spirit of Fear
The Greek word for “fear” is deilia, which means “timidity, fearfulness, cowardice.” People experience various kinds of phobias: fear of the dark, thunderstorms or lightning strikes—even a fear of meeting new people or public speaking.
Many would admit they have had feelings of inferiority. People generally fear not measuring up to the standards of family or friends. “I’m the black sheep of the family,” they might say. Some see themselves as unappealing, and fear rejection. Usually, people tend to have a faulty view of their personality.
Why would Paul say that Timothy was not given a spirit of fear? Because fear is not an attribute of the Holy Spirit! Christians cannot be timid or fearful, nor can they allow feelings of inferiority to hold them back. The spirit of this world (I Cor. 2:12) causes and influences feelings of fear, but God has given us a Spirit of “power and of love and a sound mind.”
Of Power and Love
When Jesus said to His disciples “that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (John 15:11), He was talking about cheerfulness. The Greek word for “joy” is chara, meaning “calm delight” or “cheerfulness.” Jesus Christ expects us to be full of joy—to be positive people, which is why He has given us the spirit of joy.
How often do you consider the power dwelling in you? I am not referring to some kind of inner force that you have to somehow conjure up through self-will, or through a manmade, pull-yourself-up-by-your-boot-straps, self-help program. I mean the real, awesome power of the living God.
Remember, you were imbued with the power of God of which Jesus said, “My joy might remain in you.” This “joy” is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22).
Paul instructed Timothy to “stir up the gift of God, which is in you by the putting on of my hands” (II Tim. 1:6). This is our responsibility too! We must step out in faith and zealously stir up this fruit of joy.
God’s love for us is revealed in the bountiful benefits He gives. Certainly, this should be a cause for much rejoicing!
When you give your children a gift, do you delight in the joy they express? God rejoices even more so. Notice Psalm 103: “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgives all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases; who redeems your life from destruction; who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies; who satisfies your mouth with good things; so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
“The Lord executes righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed. He made known His ways unto Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel.
“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will He keep His anger forever.
“He has not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.
“Like as a father pities his children, so the Lord pities them that fear Him. As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.
“But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear Him, and His righteousness unto children’s children; to such as keep His covenant, and to those that remember His commandments to do them” (vs. 1-18).
God has given us an awesome future. We will enjoy life forever in His kingdom as kings and priests reigning with Jesus Christ, and above all, we will be His bride (Rev. 19:7). At the time of Christ’s marriage, everyone will be so excited that all will literally leap with joy. The word for “rejoice” in verse 7 is agalliao, which means “to jump for joy” or to be “with exceeding joy.”
Cheerfulness begins with attitude. Notice how Paul describes what we need to do to attain the right perspective: “Fulfill you my joy, that you be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things [your own accomplishments], but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:1-5).
Jesus Christ always looked outward, away from the self. He conquered self-will: “Nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42).
Our Father gave Jesus (John 3:16), and Jesus, in turn, gave Himself to reconcile us to the Father (Eph. 2:16; Col. 1:20).
Self-will tends to look down on others. It involves an air of superiority, which leads to self-righteousness. Instead, be like-minded and speak the same things that God has revealed to all of us through His truth.
Learn to forgive others and not hold a grudge, as this type of attitude sets you up as a judge, which leads to condemnation and accusations—the kind of attitude that Satan, the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10), employs. A begrudging attitude will lead to you being judged by God (Jms. 5:9).
Therefore, be an instrument of joy and cheerfulness. Rejoice! Let there be no limit to your forgiveness! Remember how far God places our sins: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psa. 103:12).
Again, the most universal human expression is a smile. This should be linked to the inner peace of mind brought about by the hope that is within us—the hope of eternal life in the kingdom of God.
Ask yourself, “Am I a cheerful person?” If not, why not? You have so much to be cheerful about!
The positive side of Marriage
Divorce rates, the number of children born to unwed mothers and the frequency of broken homes all rose in the latter half of the 20th century.
With those statistics in mind, a discussion charting the bleak downturn of marriage, the traditional family and society in general would be simple.
But that’s not what John Witte intends to do.
“An Apt and Cheerful Conversation on Marriage” is the title Witte chose for the sixth Distinguished Faculty Lecture, which he will deliver Feb. 7 at 4:15 p.m. in the new Nursing School auditorium.
But just because Witte intends to explore the positive side of marriage, that doesn’t mean he will be overly flowery about it.
“To be ‘apt,’ the conversation cannot wax nostalgic about a prior golden age of marriage, nor wax myopic about modern ideals of liberty, privacy and autonomy,” he said. “To be ‘cheerful,’ the conversation must proceed with the faith that the crisis of modern American marriage and family life can be overcome.”
The title of Witte’s lecture is borrowed from a work by 17th century British poet and author John Milton, ironically titled, The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce. Milton wrote, “the apt and cheerful conversation of man with woman is the chief and noblest purpose of marriage.”
Witte, the Jonas Robitscher Professor of Law and Ethics, said he will give a historical overview of marriage from a theological viewpoint and will conclude that, despite all its problems, the institution of marriage will survive.
“What brings cheer is that the Western tradition of marriage has always found the resources to heal and reinvent itself,” he said.
An expert on family law, legal history, the First Amend-ment and comparative religious liberty, Witte has written 12 books, his latest being Religion and the American Consti-tutional Experiment, published last year. Witte is director of the Law and Religion program and the first director of the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Religion.
After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1985, Witte served as a research associate in legal history at Emory until 1986 and was named director of the Law and Religion program—a position he still holds—in 1987.
Witte was named assistant professor of law in 1989, promoted to associate professor in 1991 and to full professor in 1993.
The title of Robitscher Professor was added to his resume in 1994, and in 2000, when the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Religion was created, Witte became its first director.
“This is quite a blessing and a challenge,” Witte said at the time of his selection.
Distinguished faculty lecturers are selected by the Faculty Council, which chooses the speaker from a submitted list of nominees.
The council’s Distinguished Faculty Lectureship Committee, made up of the previous five speakers and chaired by Claire Sterk, gathers nominations from faculty members, evaluates them and makes a recommendation to the council, which then votes for a potential speaker.
Illustration from Clyde Mendes column at MetroSexual LA