August 13, 2012

Lessons from the Olympics--Happiness Is Perspective

I love the Olympics and am sorry that we'll have to wait 18 months for the Winter games. They offer some good life lessons.

Perhaps you heard the research, but it seems that bronze medals winners are generally happier than the silver medalists. The silver medalists compare themselves to the gold medal winners. They think, "If only I had done a little more." So they go to the podium disappointed. The bronze medalists, on the other hand, compare themselves to all the people who didn't win. They see themselves as much better off and just lucky to be there at all. They go to the podium with gratitude. The level of happiness is a matter of who they compare themselves to.

Are you happy? Who do you compare yourself too? We are blessed with so much material and spiritual wealth. But many don't feel satisfied with their blessings, because they think other people have more. They feel shorted even cheated when compared to "everyone" else.

While I certainly like my creature comforts, there have been times when our family struggled. The parsonage was substandard. Money, or the lack of it, was a constant worry. If seemed that we were always just one step away from financial ruin. But we were still happy. Happy to be together and learning how to depend on God with more trust. Times are better for us now, but the lessons we learned from the hard times have not gone unheeded. And now I can even thank God for them.

How is it with you? Are you struggling? Are you continually disappointed with your lot in life? Perhaps it is time to express gratitude for what you do have and thank God for your blessings, which God willingly wants for us.

Dear God, With so many unhappy people in our congregations, help us keep our eyes focused on you and the blessings you give us. Help us express gratitude so that we can experience the joy of living. In Christ's name, Amen.

Grace, Kathy

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