The Secret to True Happiness: Enjoy Today, Embrace Tomorrowby Joyce Meyer
For all the technology, conveniences, and advantages we experience in today's world, many of us struggle just to get through each day. After coming through what seemed like a lifetime of abuse, hardship, and oppression, Joyce Meyer has come to live every day in victory and joy. In her new book, she spreads the word that an exciting, enjoyable life is available to
For all the technology, conveniences, and advantages we experience in today's world, many of us struggle just to get through each day. After coming through what seemed like a lifetime of abuse, hardship, and oppression, Joyce Meyer has come to live every day in victory and joy. In her new book, she spreads the word that an exciting, enjoyable life is available to everyone! The breakthrough for Joyce came when she started to look at herself through God's eyes. There, she not only saw the truth about herself and changes she needed to make, but came to know His unconditional love. Joyce has packed this book with biblical principles and practical application revealing secrets she has discovered for living a full and joyful life. After reading this informative and entertaining book, you will be ready to ENJOY TODAY and EMBRACE TOMORROW.
There's nothing new or earth-shattering about Meyer's latest self-help book for Christians, but naysayers may be won over by her can-do attitude despite the unoriginal content.A bestselling author and Bible teacher with a popular daily television program, Meyer wants readers to be happy-not because they have enjoyable circumstances, perfect health, fat wallets or other enviable externals, but simply because they choose to be happy.Happiness, according to Meyer, is a decision to trust in God's power, not merely in the power of one's own positive thinking.(She does, however, emphasize the importance of maintaining a positive attitude and surrounding oneself with others who do the same.)In short chapters, she discusses issues like habits, discipline, simplicity, creativity and health.She helpfully distinguishes between being busy and being "fruitful," urging readers to embrace fruitfulness and productivity.As with her other books, each chapter opens with a joke or light anecdote, then delves a little deeper with biblical examples and stories from Meyer's life, including her recovery from sexual abuse and her own struggles to be happy.(Apr. 29)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Read an Excerpt
The Secret to True Happiness
By Joyce Meyer Faithwords
Copyright © 2008 Joyce Meyer
All right reserved.
Enjoy Your Everyday Life
"Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." -ABRAHAM LINCOLN
The only life you can enjoy is your own. That statement may seem so obvious it's unnecessary, but think about it. One of the primary reasons many people do not enjoy their lives is that they are not happy with the lives they have. When I speak to them about enjoying their lives, the first thought they have is, I would enjoy my life if I had your life, Joyce! Instead of embracing the realities of their lives, these people spend their time thinking, I wish I looked like So-and-So. I wish I had So-and-So's job. I wish I were married. I wish my marriage weren't so difficult. I wish I had children. I wish my children would grow up. I wish I had a new house. I wish I didn't have such a big house to clean. I wish I had a big ministry ...
The truth of the matter is, the first step to enjoying our everyday lives is to accept the lives we've been given. We must not allow jealousy or comparison to cause us to be absent from our own lives because we want someone else's life.
The wise king Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 5:18, 19:
"Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is for one to eat and drink, and to findenjoyment in all the labor in which he labors under the sun all the days which God gives him-for this is his [allotted] part. Also, every man to whom God has given riches and possessions, and the power to enjoy them and to accept his appointed lot and to rejoice in his toil-this is the gift of God [to him]."
I want you to notice the words "allotted part" and "appointed lot" in these verses. What Solomon is basically communicating here is: enjoy your life. Take your "appointed lot" in life and enjoy it. In other words, embrace the life-the personality, the strengths and weaknesses, the family, the resources, the opportunities, the physical qualities, the abilities, the gifts, and the uniqueness-God has given you.
Maybe you struggle with things that do not appear to be challenges for other people. For example, you may have a physical handicap or a learning disability. Perhaps you wanted to go to college, but could not. Maybe you do not believe you have as many outstanding qualities or remarkable gifts as someone else. You may wish something were different about your spouse, your children, your job, or your financial situation. Whatever the case, you have to take what you have and decide that you are going to do the best you can with it. After all, your life will not change until you start doing so.
God is asking you to be faithful with your life, not with someone else's. We see in Matthew 25 that the master gave three men talents (a type of money in the New Testament). To one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another he gave one. The Bible states he gave to each one according to his own ability. The master then went on a long journey and later returned for an accounting of what each man did with the talents entrusted to him. The man who received five talents invested his and gained five more. He was able to not only return to the master what was entrusted to him but also give back twice as much as he started with. The same thing happened with the man who was entrusted with two talents. But the man who only had one talent buried it because he was afraid and returned to the master his one original talent. The master was well pleased with the first man and the second man, but he rebuked the third man severely. All the man had to do was embrace his talent, invest it, and be able to give his master back more than he started with, and the master would have said to him, "Well done, good and faithful servant." He did not hear those words, though, because he did nothing with what he had.
What are you doing with what you have been given?
The fact that the third man did not have as much as the first two men had nothing to do with the reward he would have received had he been faithful with what he had. God only holds us accountable for our gifts, not anybody else's. What are you doing with what you have been given? I believe this is a question we all need to ask ourselves quite frequently.
MAKE THE BEST OF WHAT YOU HAVE
So often, I have heard women say, "I just wish I looked like my friend." I want to respond, "Do you know what? You don't. Take what you do have and make the best of it." I have had firsthand experience with learning to deal with this kind of comparison over the years.
This lesson hit home for me one time in the most ordinary way when Dave and I went on an airplane trip with two of our friends. Now, Dave and I could never be accused of "traveling light." That day, we had nine suitcases. We travel often, and I decided long ago that with our heavy travel schedule, I was going to be comfortable and have everything I could possibly need with me. And I always take too much.
Our friends only had two suitcases-a medium-sized one they rolled and a small one they carried. When I saw them, I thought, Now wait a minute, Dave and I are two people; our friends are two people. We have nine bags; they have two. Where am I missing it?
I finally looked at my friend and teasingly said, "Do you know what? Part of the reason I have more luggage than you do is that it just takes me a lot longer than you to look good. I have to have more face paint, more curling irons, more frizzes and sprays and freezes and mousses and everything else."
Some of us simply have to work harder than others to look our best. My friend has nice, thick, naturally curly hair. She hardly has to do anything to make it look good. My hair, on the other hand, has to be washed and spritzed and dried and sprayed and all sorts of things. I need several jars and bottles of hair products to simply do my hair, but my friend has to do little more than wash hers and she's ready to go.
I wish I did not have to spend so much time and energy on my hair. I really wish that, but wishing will not change my hair! I have to be happy with what God has given me, and if what He's given me requires more time than what He's given someone else, I have to accept that.
Determine today to take the first step toward learning to enjoy your everyday life by making the most of your life.
Likewise, you have to be happy with your life. God has given you everything He has for a reason-and on purpose. Everything about you is by His design. I am not encouraging you to settle for situations that need to be improved, but I am urging you to accept the way God made you and the life He has given you. Don't complain; don't compare; don't covet someone else's life, and don't spend your valuable time wishing things were different. Realize that every life includes good and bad, happy and sad, easy and difficult, strength and weakness. Your life is really no different than anyone else's when you look at it from a broad perspective. There may be certain specific differences, but nobody has the perfect life. Determine today to take the first step toward learning to enjoy your everyday life by making the most of your life. Embrace your life because God is never going to give you someone else's!
EMBRACE THE ORDINARY
Another key to true happiness lies in understanding that most of life is "everyday." Most of our lives consist of a routine-an unremarkable series of events that take place day after day, year after year. So if we are really going to enjoy every day, we must learn to embrace the ordinary-to delight in little things, to appreciate small blessings, and to find pleasure in the circumstances and situations other people might overlook.
Another key to true happiness lies in understanding that most of life is "everyday."
Sometimes people think enjoying life means celebrating special occasions, observing important milestones, getting raises and promotions, going on a vacation, buying something new, winning a big game, or closing a significant business deal. The truth is: life is not one big party; we should not expect to giggle our way through every day; and we cannot sit around waiting for the next exciting event. Thankfully, those noteworthy things do happen, but they are few and far between. They certainly do not occur every day, or even once a week or once a month. We need to celebrate life's exciting occasions and its big events, but in between them, we must be able to find joy in fighting traffic, going to work, cleaning house, raising children, taking out the trash, paying the bills, and dealing with grouchy neighbors. We all have responsibilities and things we must do, so when I speak of enjoying each day, I am not talking about entertaining ourselves from daylight until dark or about getting "our way" all the time. I am talking about the "everyday" situations I have mentioned in this chapter and the whole host of others I have not listed, the situations in which we really learn to enjoy everyday life. Enjoying life begins with making a decision to do so, because the truth is, no matter what kind of lives we have, we will not enjoy them unless we decide to do so.
Most of life involves getting up in the morning, going to bed at night, and doing what we need to do in the meantime. This reminds me of Mark 4:26, 27, where Jesus said: "The kingdom of God is like a man who scatters seed upon the ground, and then continues sleeping and rising night and day while the seed sprouts and grows and increases-he knows not how." This scripture teaches us that something happens to a seed-a process of growth and nourishment-that no one can see. Much development takes place in the seed while it is underground.
The same principle applies to our lives. Much of life takes place when no one is looking; and God works in our lives during the ordinary times. When nothing remarkable seems to be taking place and everything is "business as usual," that's where we develop character and the ability to enjoy everyday life. And as we enjoy life moment by moment, day by day, week after week, and year after year, we find all of life has become rich, deep, and satisfying. True life is really not found in arriving at a destination; it is found in the journey.
When nothing remarkable seems to be taking place and everything is "business as usual," that's where we develop character and the ability to enjoy everyday life.
THE FREEDOM TO BE HAPPY
Not long ago, I ran across a story about a woman who learned to enjoy everyday life after many years of trying. As we close this chapter, I'd like to share it with you.
I've never been an athlete. I've never been much interested in sports, ever since I stopped playing touch football with the boys when I hit puberty. I've tried tennis. I hit the ball too high, too long, and way over into left field. I've tried softball. Thank goodness that ball is "soft" and big, because it felt just awful when it hit me in the eye. I tried running, but I couldn't get anyone to chase me.
Finally, I settled on walking, and for a number of years, I walked three to five miles a day. I realize that there is an Olympic sport referred to as "walking," but when I tried that, all I succeeded in doing was throwing my hip out.
I'm definitely not an athlete, but I make do, especially in my mid-life years. Which brings a question to my mind. When did I hit mid-life? I remember when I hit thirty. I had to visit a grief counselor, because I knew my life was over. I remember forty. I had to see a grief counselor the day after my first child graduated from high school and moved out of the house, because I knew my life was over.
Then I hit fifty, and I was all excited, because I was able to join an organization called AARP. My husband was especially excited because he is younger than I, and he got to join too! Fifty became the magic age. I knew that as long as I was in good health, in this day and age, I probably had a good fifty years ahead of me. Then came the asthma. OK, I had that much earlier, but it only became life-threatening after fifty. Then came the fibromyalgia. OK, I had that earlier, but it's not life-threatening. Then came the arthritis, and more recently at fifty-five, the diabetes. Somewhere in there, I became very interested in pharmaceuticals. But finally one day I became free.
I began by noticing the sunsets, and now I had the time to stop and really wonder at the beauty and the magnitude of it all. Then I moved onto the sunrises, and I quickly found out that if I wasted the early morning, I missed the loveliest part of the day. Then I began to notice how grateful I was to be able to witness the changing of the seasons. The first whisper of spring, the rustling of the leaves beneath my feet in the fall.
When illness would hit me, I found that I actually enjoyed the solitude-a time to reflect, gather my thoughts, and pray, at leisure. I found that I was experiencing this mid-life season, and I was no longer missing every moment, shackled to the chains of worry and what might be. I found that worrying about tomorrow only served to make me overlook the blessings of today.
It's not always easy. A few loads of laundry and a pile of dishes can take an entire day. But then, I don't push myself a lot. So I forget to make the bed as I watch the rosy glow of dawn meet the rising sun. I have time to walk our wooded acre with my little dachshund straining at the leash.
I get to meet the day every day. I get to say good-night to the sunsets. I've studied a lot of sunsets in the last five years, and I've never seen two that were alike. I get to know my Creator as I never have before, and I've gotten to make my mind up about the mysteries of life. I've grown certain that all this was no accident.
I feed the birds and I take great delight in their multi-colored hues, especially in the spring. I drag a chair to stand on so that I can fill the feeders to the brim. I say a little prayer as I wobble, a little cockeyed, on the chair, and I laugh at myself and all the pretensions of my younger life. I take great delight in my life. I thank God for all the precious little things of every day. Friends. Family. Neighbors. And health-a health of the soul. For I have come to understand what real health is, and when you have real health, then you truly have everything.
The author of this story did not truly enjoy life until she experienced illness. Many times, people rush through their days without stopping to delight in the everyday, and then, when they face a crisis, they finally slow down enough to enjoy life, family, friends, work, and simply being alive.
I don't want a crisis or an illness to have to be the catalyst that causes you to enjoy each day of your life. I want you to choose happiness right now-because it is a choice. Your life is God's gift to you, even in its common, run-of-the-mill, mundane ordinariness. Decide today you are going to stop waiting for the big breaks and the exciting events before you're happy. In fact, do something today that will raise your joy level in the midst of your everyday life.
Excerpted from The Secret to True Happiness by Joyce Meyer Copyright © 2008 by Joyce Meyer. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author
Joyce Meyer has been teaching the Word of God since 1976 and in full-time ministry since 1980. She is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than seventy inspirational books. She has also released thousands of audio teachings as well as a complete video library. Joyce's ENJOYING EVERYDAY LIFE radio and television programs are broadcast around the world, and she travels extensively conducting conferences. Joyce and her husband, Dave, are the parents of four grown children and make their home in St. Louis, Missouri. You can visit her at www.joycemeyer.org.
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