When you feel offended by someone, do you ever use familiar fallbacks like reacting with red hot anger, running off to another room, or giving the oh-so mature silent treatment? I know I have!
There were times, early in our marriage, when I would be so mad at Gary that I would try all of those. Sometimes, I would even toss and turn in bed at night on purpose just to make it hard for him to get a good night’s sleep!
I know, I’m definitely not perfect.
I made plenty of mistakes early on in our marriage. But, thankfully, I never stopped seeking God, His love, and His ways—and that’s what helped me move past my mistakes and the offenses that I harbored and into a happier marriage and a happier life.
Of course, life isn’t always easy, but it is possible for you to remain happy when things aren’t so great.
I want to share some of my personal experiences with you and help make it easier for you to hold on to joy when times get tough.
1. Take Control of Your Thoughts.
Did you know that studies show that at least 40% of your happiness is controlled by your thoughts, actions, and behaviors?
That means you have the power and authority to choose what line you’re going to dial, just like a telephone. You can either dial into the line of the enemy—the lies that are running the culture—or you can dial the line of Jesus and tune into what He has to say.
No matter how much you are in prayer, how often you go to church, or how much time you spend in your small groups or with Christian friends, there will be times when your thoughts seem like they’re shouting. Well, go ahead and shout right back! Pull out Bible verses and shout them out. Speak them into your environment. Better yet, plaster them all over your environment too!
Here are some of my favorite Bible verses for shutting down negative thoughts:
- “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8-9).
- “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
- “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).
Sometimes you have to tell your mind to be quiet and to listen to the Holy Spirit. And anything that doesn’t line up with God’s Word has to go!
2. Battle and Conquer Stress the Right Ways.
We all react differently when we’re exhausted or stressed. Sometimes, I just pray, “God, our lives have all gotten so complicated! How do I stay focused on the right things when there are so many pressures everywhere around me?”
I know life can be hard. I know it’s easy to lose sight of peace, but that’s why the Bible tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus and pray in the Spirit.
John 14:26 tells us, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
The goal of the enemy is always to make your problems or circumstances look bigger than God, but the Holy Spirit knows exactly how to handle every stressful situation that comes your way!
He will help you see beyond your circumstances and problems, so you can keep your eyes on God’s promises.
While you don’t necessarily get to choose what happens in your day-to-day, you do get to choose your response to things. Do your best to keep an attitude of joy and gratitude, and to keep a godly perspective.
Get joyful! Laugh at things when they go wrong, and refuse to let them get you down!
3. Communicate with Love.
You can’t have true closeness and intimacy in your relationships if you aren’t willing to communicate.
Gary and I have always strived to keep our lines of communication open. But early on in our marriage, it was a struggle at times.
I often say, “There are no perfect relationships … only relationships perfected by God’s grace!”
During those early years, I battled resentment, confusion, and guilt as I tried to balance my role as a wife and new mother, often blaming Gary for circumstances instead of discussing things with him.
What got me through? Choosing to put my happiness in God’s hands. And He always came through! Gary wasn’t responsible for making me feel happy. I had to learn to put my faith and hope in God. Then, I was able to communicate with love and serve my husband with an open heart.
The main ingredient for successful communication with others is putting your communication with God first. The health of any relationship will improve when you start going to God first.
And just think—how are you going to communicate the Gospel to others if you can’t get control of your emotions and communicate in a loving way with the people who are around you every day?
4. Know Who You Are.
Once I realized only God could make me whole, and I discovered who I am in Him, I also found my happiness was secure in Him.
As you look to God, His Word, and to what He says about you, you’ll discover your identity in Him instead of in your performance or your lack of performance.
Colossians 2:8 tells us, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”
You’ll discover that you are loved, accepted, and forgiven. Then, you’ll be empowered to do things not through your own strength, but through Him and His strength.
God will carry you faster and farther than you could ever carry yourself. He’s got dreams for you that are beyond anything you can imagine.
Before I gave my heart to Christ and committed myself to live life His way, I wanted to be a newscaster and a talk show host, among other things. I didn’t lose those things when I sought God first for my life. Instead, God made those big dreams a reality.
I believe God has big things in store for you, but when you let strife, stress, or toxic thoughts speak louder than God’s Word, you shortchange yourself and His vision for your life.
Get into God’s presence every day. He has a plan for you, and He knows exactly how to get you there!
I hope this has been a blessing to you. It’s my mission in life to help you live your best life: a life of wholeness, purpose, and happiness. That’s the kind of life God wants you to live.
And that’s why I’ve developed the Happy Life Subscription Service!
I want to be there every day to encourage you to live the incredible life God has for you.
When you sign up for the Happy Life Subscription Service, you’ll have access to every show I’ve ever made—more than 8,000 minutes of content—as well as many exclusive resources.
I’ve covered as much ground as possible, from parenting and marriage to faith and finances, so I can be your cheerleader, friend, and mentor for every situation and in every season of life!
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I can’t wait to embark on this incredible journey with you! Let’s tackle your dreams together!