"I [the Apostle Paul] have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."1
In a Peanuts cartoon Lucy asks Charlie Brown, "Why do you think we were put on earth?"
Charlie answers, "To make others happy."
Lucy replies: "I don't think I'm making anyone happy," and then adds, "But, nobody's making me very happy either. Somebody's not doing his job!"
This may sound simplistic but in a very real sense happiness is a choice. Too many people in today's culture expect other people to make them happy. People talk about finding the right partner to marry which is all back to front. To find the right partner we need to be the right partner. The fact is that only happy partners make happy marriages, and the only person who can ever make us happy is one’s self.
Furthermore, happiness and/or contentment is not only a choice, it is a decision, a commitment to action and to personal honesty that requires a good hard, honest look at ourselves, and then a whole lot of hard work to resolve all the things in our lives that hinder happiness and/or make us unhappy.
The starting point for finding happiness and contentment is by making up your mind that you will no longer look to anyone else to make you happy; that no matter what, you will accept responsibility for doing what you need to do to find happiness; and above all, by learning to pray the right prayer such as the following:
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please confront me with the truth about me—no matter how much it hurts—and reveal to me any and every unresolved issue in my life that is hindering my finding contentment and lasting happiness—whether the problem be emotional, spiritual and/or physical. And please lead me to the help I need to overcome. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
1. Philippians 4:11-12 (NIV).