Dan Sullivan is an amazing, deep thinking writer and entrepreneur who writes in a way that is simple, profound and easy to understand. I have been reading Dan’s articles for years and recently decided to connect with his team at Strategic Coach. In his blog, Dan wrote that happiness is not the result of things that people do or what happens in our life but how each of us decide to look at each thing. Happiness is a choice. It’s a decision we make each day.
The team I work with has been feeling overwhelmed by the work and the deadlines. Of course, it is tax season. That means long hours, working weekends, more phone calls than one can answer in a day and as my partner said, a “money wrench” in every return. It is enough to get us all down in the dumps. So…if I walked into their offices and told them to choose happiness, to decide to be happy – that would have seemed impossible in their perspective. I sent each of them the following email:
I was actually reading in my devotions this morning something like Dan’s email. He says happiness is a choice. I say, thankfulness and gratitude is a choice. The mindset he describes is about choosing what kind of lens you will look through to see everything. Looking at situations, people, work, projects, goals, etc can be either with gratitude or resentment; thankfulness or bitterness; finding joy or finding negative. Its not easy, I admit. Our choice gets lost sometimes in the busyness and demands of work, family, life. It is when we feel we have no choice, or that we are trapped in our circumstances, that happiness goes out the window and our attitudes and hope sink into the black hole. No choice, trapped, those are words the enemy uses to distract us and steal our joy, kill our peace and destroy our hope. Those are lies that we easily fall for. We have choices and we are not trapped. We also have the assurance and promises that God is in control and He has plans for our lives that does not include being trapped or without choices. The key is to look up, to look to Jesus, to find something that is good; write down three things that you are thankful for this very minute. You have to take control of your thinking, to guard your heart against the lies of satan and to put your thinking to the good that is all around you. When you do that, when you put your thinking on good, on hope, on peace, on thankfulness, your emotions and your attitude will follow.
The verse that I have written in the front of all of my devotions and journals is 1 Thess 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. People are always looking, searching and watching for any sign of God’s will for their life. This verse makes it plain – in everything give thanks, for this is the WILL OF GOD in Christ Jesus FOR YOU. If this situation you are weighted down with looks or feels impossible, in this very situation, give thanks to God for it. The Nothing is Impossible God can take even the hopeless, helpless, no way out situation and turn it around, make a way, bring light, truth and hope back into what is right now dragging you down into the black hole. It is the light of God’s truth that chases darkness away; it is the power of His truth that causes the lies and the father of lies to flee. It is the Romans 8:28 promise that takes the everything that we give thanks for and weaves it into good for us.
You are dear to me and friends that I care very deeply about. I do not want you to fell the weight of your work is on your shoulders alone; do not let the lies of satan take your joy or kill your hope; do not look at the events of the past or the situation before you today and think, there is no way out or up or away. Yes, Way. Yes, Truth. Yes, Life and Light. God has this. He always has this. You are not alone. You are not without a future and plans. You may not see it yet. But its there, in God’s perfect timing to be revealed. Until then, in everything give thanks. Until the way ahead looks lighter or easier or better, walk by faith. Walk in the light of His word. And in everything give thanks – as hard as it may be at first, the more you are grateful for, the more grateful you become.
I know that your struggles are different, are very real and very hard. Better than me knowing, God knows. I am thankful for you. I am praying for you.
I realize this is a long email to send to people who are already too busy to read a long email. When hope is needed to see the light at the end of a very long and dark tunnel, backing away from the load can sometimes lighten the load. To stop striving so intensely can sometimes be the very thing to re-energize and get a new perspective – maybe one of joy, thankfulness and hope.