Monday, January 5, 2009

Keep Yourself Happy

Joel Osteen says that "one of the most important keys to a better life is to keep yourself happy, rather than trying to please everybody else." Too often we get out of balance and try to "fix" people and solve their problems for them. Years ago I read a book by Melody Beattie called CO-DEPENDENT NO MORE about trying to rescue people instead of turning attention to our own selves. I learned that I am not responsible for other people's happiness. I am only responsible for my own happiness. I have to set boundaries. We need to quit trying to be the keeper of the Universe. That's God's job. If someone around me is unhappy, I want to be caring and compassionate, but I don't want to become depressed with that person. On the other hand, if I am the one who is unhappy, I don't want to drag someone else down with me. I want to take responsibility for my own happiness. It is truly liberating to realize that I only need to follow my own heart. I want to be a giver, but that does not mean that I have to be a people pleaser. Solomon 1:6 says, "They have made me a keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept." If we keep everyone happy but neglect our own selves, our energy will be drained and then no one will be happy. This new year I plan to less stressed by taking care of myself and my happiness so that I have a huge smile that spreads happiness to everyone else.


drgregb said...

I heard an interesting comparison between Rick Warner and Joel Osteen.

Rick Warren's book "The Purpose Driven Life" begins with the words: "It's not about you." So, I looked on the first page of Joel Osteen's "Become a Better You" and found the words: " You [emphasis added by me] were born for better than this; you are meant to live at a higher level...You can be better. The question is..."What must I do to become a better me?

Seems like it's pretty clear. Joel Osteen's message is all about "you." But that's just unbiblical: it's all about God.

When we make it about "me", and "my" blessing, "my" happiness, we reverse God's order. Listen to this quote by DeVern Fromke from his book "Unto Full Stature":

"Christianity is not a happiness cult. It's primary purpose is not to make us happy...happiness does come through the Christian faith. But if the end of the Christian faith is to make us happy, then we are using God - we are the center-not God. This means self-idolatry."

Just this morning I read a quote from Rabbi Heschel (not exactly a fundamentalist Christian!).

"In our technological age man could not conceive of this world as anything but material for his own fullfilment. He considered himself the sovereign of his destiny... postulating the existence of a Power [God] who would serve as a guarantee for his self-fulfillment, as if God were a henchman to cater to man's aspiration and help him draw the utmost out of life."

As believers we are either man-centered or God-centered. We must be very careful we do not make ourseleves to be the center of the universe. When the center is wrong, then all that follows is wrong. Jesus said "seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all these things will be added unto you." This is something you won't hear from the Joel Osteen.

Patty said...

What is the value in comparison? Is it loving? Does it set someone up as the enemy to someone else? Admiring someone's ability and aspiring to them as a positive role model is quite different from drawing comparisons and judging. Each person is unique, and I support them in the place where they are. I appreciate both Joel Osteen and Rick Warner for the way they enhance my life.

betsy tomasso said...

Meher Baba the Avatar has said, "Live in the moment which is ever beautiful and stretches away beyond the limits of the past and the future". I love this quote and try to live it.

Patty said...

Betsy, I so agree with you. Living in this holy instant is living in awareness of all the beauty of our environment and soaking in all the goodness of life with gratitude. Thank you so much for sharing this amazing quote. xx