Proactive Happiness

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Author Tommy Newberry describes joy as “proactive happiness.” When we’re proactive about anything we become intentional, so we could say that joy is an intentional response. The act of being joyful is a learned behavior. It is actually a display of faith because we called to be joyful in all circumstances even when we’re uncertain of the outcome.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds. James 1:2 (NIV)

When we look at our circumstances through the eyes of faith, we see what can be if we would allow God to work in the situation. Newberry encourages us to act with joy right now – to choose joy in our circumstances. Newberry poses the question: “How would I act if I were bubbling with joy?”

Last week I gave my mom one of our “Think on These Things” bracelets. She readily embraced the concept. It had been a very challenging month as my parents had to leave their home while repairs were being made from tornado damage. We moved them back home last weekend. As anyone who has moved knows, moving is one of the great stressors of life! As Mom and I headed back to their home, I was dreading the ordeal. But Mom, demonstrating the 4:8 Principle, began to cheerily proclaim, “Oh, isn’t it wonderful to be going home! Oh, I’m so looking forward to digging in those boxes. I can’t wait to begin cleaning up the mess. What a wonderful opportunity awaits us!” Now much of the monologue was filled with exaggeration, but we used the opportunity to laugh about the upcoming situation instead of grumble about it. It set a joyful tone for the busy afternoon. Her positive and humorous attitude encouraged me
She acted as if she were bubbling with joy!

We think in primarily two ways: reactive and proactive. We can constantly play defense with our thoughts by reacting negatively to our circumstances. Or we can play offense and be intentional with our thoughts. These are proactive thoughts. Becoming aware of the triggers for our negative thinking is the first step. Next we can be prepared to starve negative thoughts and replace them with something positive and productive. Remember: we can only do away with a negative thought by replacing it with a positive one.

We want to become proactive so that when we face potentially negative situations, we will intentionally guide our thoughts toward the positive. These steps will move us toward our goal of a joy-filled life.

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