How easy it is to listen to the advice of others and change ourselves into something we are not. To quit being our unique and wonderfully made selves. To base our worth on what others think instead of what God thinks.
An elderly family member came for a visit. “A lady does not laugh with her mouth wide open, head thrown back, submitting all viewers to the spectacle of her tonsils,” she advised.
Not so long ago, the various members of our family had different schedules, and as a result, we were seldom able to eat together. I couldn’t help feeling that our family was drifting apart—especially since visiting an Italian friend who taught me what a joy “breaking bread” together can be.
I have a confession: I really like to win! Whether it’s at sports, a board game, or—unfortunately—a disagreement, my competitiveness comes to the fore and I have to try to come out on top. No game is too simple for me when it comes to trying to develop an edge. I’ve even devised (mostly pointless!) strategies for Snakes and Ladders or Go Fish.
Advertisements generally portray more than the item on sale. An ad for a plastic inflatable pool might show a happy family having a great time splashing in the water. But if you get the pool, will you get a happy family too?
A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
—Proverbs 11:25 NIV
Remember, there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple.
—Scott Adams (b. 1957)
In their 1960’s hit “Can’t Buy Me Love,” the Beatles capitalized on a simple, well-worn truth. They could just as well have sung, “Can’t buy me truth” or “happiness” or “peace of mind.” Those things weren’t for sale either, and they’re still not. While this is a simple truth, it’s not an easy one to live.
Someone has said that today is a marvel of opportunity, crucified between two thieves, yesterday and tomorrow! Today, this very day, is one of the most wonderfully precious things you will ever have.
We went down 378 spiraling steps into the Wieliczka Salt Mine in southern Poland, wondering what we would find and thinking about how easy it would be to get lost in the underground maze around us. I marveled at how anyone could spend so much of their life underground and retain their sanity.
Nehemiah said it was the source of true strength.1 The psalmist David found it in God’s presence and offered it back to Him as a love gift.2 Jeremiah found it in God’s Word.3 King Solomon said it was one of God’s rewards for right living.4 Jesus promised it to His followers and said it came through believing and doing what He said.5
The walls of my bedroom are brightening with a new day’s sun. I rub my eyes, stretch, and yawn, allowing my thoughts to travel far on memory lane. Through the twists and turns of my life, I’ve made what I like to think is a discovery—though surely many others have long found this secret. I have discovered what makes a person happy and how I can be happy too.