Monday, May 4, 2015

17 Points to Create True Happiness With Your Work and Life.


Happiness is often elusive, especially in our daily work. Life involves many temptations and unexpected troubles. With a solid faith and proper way of life it is possible to find joy in everything you do or are faced with. The following seventeen points will bring God into your life each hour of your day allowing you will become more effective and true to your deepest values.   Implement them and you will find they also will lead to a life based on joy.

1. Remember your power to choose.
You make the choices in your life. You can choose  to act with God or to ignore His grace. You were created in God's image and have free will.  If you feel unhappy remember that you are making this choice and that you can be making a different choice which will bring divine joy. Do not blame anyone but yourself for your dissatisfaction with your life. Instead examine the choices you have made and commit to making new ones.

2. Do not worry about what you cannot control.
Worry will not accomplish anything but anxiety. It can even cause lack of sleep and health problems. Christ tells us to have faith and not to worry. (Matt 6:25) He tells us to remember the birds and how God cares for their needs. He further says, "Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?" (Matt 6:28). Remember that God knows what you need and you can trust in Him to provide what is necessary. Focus on living each moment with Him as your guide.

3. Don't compare yourself to others.
When you compare yourself to others you ignore the reality that God gave each of us unique gifts. We are all different. Paul says, "There are diversity of gifts but one Spirit." (1Cor 12:4) He tells us there are diversities of ministers and activities that each of us is given through the Spirit. (1Cor 12:8) You must find a way to use your unique God given gifts in all aspects of your life, and not assume that you can or should do everything others can do. Be thankful for the gifts you have, understand them, and use them fully. Praise and give thanks for the gifts you see in others. Do not try to be like someone else but develop your unique capabilities and let God's gift of beauty be fulfilled in you.

4. Give thanks to God for everything.
Paul says, "rejoice always...in everything give thanks for it is the will of God in Jesus Christ...Hold fast to what is good." (1 Th 5:16-18) He tells us to make our life a continual prayer. When you are in constant contact with God you will be guided to do His will in all things. Remember all things are sent by Him. You may not understand why he allows some of the difficulties that we face, but you will be rewarded if you always give thanks for all He allows to happen to you, both what you see as good and bad. With patience and endurance, out of our difficulties will come something good. Remember the story of the Paralytic who waited for thirty-eight years to be healed by Christ (John 5:1-15). Paul reminds us to give thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Eph 5:20)

5. Don't judge others
Remember this: as you judge others so will you be judged (Matt 7:1). When you judge others you are only putting added pressure on yourself. You must develop humility and remember what you do not like in others is what you have in yourself. You are called to love your fellow workers and neighbors, and if he or she is doing something you do not think is right you must discern with compassion how to correct the undesirable behavior, not by judging the person, but by seeking ways to help them out of your love. Judging separates us from others, destroys love, and leads to unhappiness.

6. Forgive others and don't carry resentment
In the Lord's Prayer we ask God to forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us (Matt 6:12). God will forgive you only if you are able to forgive others. When you carry resentment in your heart for past misdeeds you will find yourself angry, anxious and separated from God. You will continue to carry negative thoughts and never be able to be happy. When you forgive you are relieved of a great burden and God will give you grace to help you erase any resentment you may have. Remember that one of the basic commandments is to love others as we love ourselves and as God loves you. Try to see that we all are imperfect and struggling with the challenges of life and we need the help of others.

7. Plan for the  difficulties you may face during the day
Each morning in your daily morning prayer, take a few minutes to think about what potential issues you might face, those situations where it may be difficult to live your values as taught by Jesus Christ. Doing this in a prayerful way will guide and prepare you to deal with them.  Prepare yourself each day for the struggles of the day. More on daily prayer life.

8. Remember the Jesus Prayer
If you remember God throughout the day it will help you in all things.  One of the greatest gifts you have is prayer. The Jesus Prayer, "Lord Jesus Christ Son of God have mercy on me a sinner," is one that can be etched into your brain with constant repetition so that it will be on the tip of your tongue always, no matter what you are doing. Learn this practice and your life will be transformed. More on Jesus Prayer

9. Help others
You can always find ways to help others. Try to find ways to help those who seem to give you the most difficulty during the day. Kindness only leads to more kindness. When you make an effort to help someone it softens your heart and brings more grace on you.

10. Simplify
Often we try to do too much and our life becomes unbalanced. We find we do not have the proper time for family or our Church family. We become consumed by our work and other duties, and become lax in our spiritual life. Then stress accumulates.  At times you need to look at what is really important for you to be able to follow Christ. Then use your free will to make new choices and implement changes in your life, seeking a way of life that allows us to keep Christ in the center of all you do. Get rid of those things that are not important. Use your free will to implement changes. Following God's will involves your cooperation through your choices.

11. Use your talents wisely
Since we all have differing gifts that have been given to us by God you need to make sure you are using those given to you to the fullest.  Examine your gifts and then look at your work-day tasks.  How can you better use what you are naturally good at. You may at times have to look for a different job if you are so constrained by your current situation that you cannot use your natural gifts.  But in  almost every situation there is room for you to exercise to the fullest what God has given you. Transform the way you do your work.

13. Let His grace shine through you - be a light
Remember that Christ is always with you.  As you generate thoughts of loving kindness the goodness of Christ will flow from you and you will become a positive force for the benefit of others. You need to let His light shine through your actions and your attitude. Become a beacon of goodness and love.

14. Choose you friends carefully
Often we make the mistake by not being careful who we choose to be our friends and who we spend our time with.  If anyone is having a negative impact on you, stop and evaluate this relationship. Negative people or people with different values can easily lead you astray.  Be prepared to change who you spend your time with.

15. Eliminate negative thinking 
Negative thinking only leads to bitterness, sadness, and even wicked thoughts. You need to learn to recognize all such thoughts and totally reject them. Seek to find the sources of negative thinking that are influencing you.  It may be commentators on TV, what you read, Facebook friends, or your personal friends. Find all sources and eliminate them from you life. Your creative mind will be opened by positive thought and you will be able to better apply your gifts to your work. Your positive thoughts will help others become more positive. Negative thoughts will always lead you away from happiness.

16. Review your life's actions each evening.
Each evening, during your evening prayers, take a moment to review how well you did during the day with the difficult situations you faced.  Did it go as planned or do you need to make corrections. If you were led to sinfulness then immediately ask God for forgiveness and determine how you can do things differently next time. Remember God always understands the difficulty you face and is always forgiving when you seek His forgiveness with sincerity.

17. Remember your mortality and the eternal life to come.
Hope is important as you face all the trials and tribulations that you will face in your lifetime. If you always think about the certainty of your own mortality, not in a morbid way, but in one based on the hope you have of eternal life given to all through Christ's victory over death in His Crucifixion and Resurrection, you will always have hope. Remember our aim is to become united with God in eternal life in His kingdom. All your difficulties are but the path of preparation for the life to come.

For more on an Christian way of life see the Ten Point Program for an Orthodox Life.

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