I like to read. I typically read the same kinds of things: Christian stuff mostly, but with some adventure/spy novels or a John Grisham thrown in occasionally. If you want to grow as a person, sometimes you need to get outside of what you normally do and read. I think it's healthy to expand your exposure to new things occasionally. Of course, the pastor side of me wants to say, "Within reason."
So, early in the year I saw a magazine titled "Live Happy." That's a bit shallow for what my year of firsts is about, but I certainly don't want to live sad, morose, sullen, or miserable. I'll take happiness over any of those deals, all things being equal. I've had the magazine for a couple of months and decided today was the day to read it. By reading it, I mean reading almost every word. I read every article; at least a major part and then skimmed. This is a magazine that I would not ordinarily buy (I hardly ever buy a magazine; in fact reading a magazine might be a "first" over the last 15 years). I will glance through a sports magazine at the bookstore occasionally (usually to see who's ranked where in some sports poll) but hardly ever read a whole magazine. So, today I did that.
Article on laughter yoga
Happy without reading the magazine
I can give this article a hearty amen!
The magazine was helpful in some ways. There was an article on laughter yoga. I'm thinking that if I went to a yoga class (there's a "first" possibility) it would turn into laughter yoga when they saw me trying to do yoga. The article shared many scientifically documented benefits of laughter including boosting your immune system, releases stress, stimulates the heart, lungs, and other organs, heightens the intake of oxygen-rich air, and increases the endorphins released by the brain. The Bible has taught us the basics of this in Proverbs 17:22- A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones.
There was an article on making family priority. Most of us would agree that if your family relationships stink, you are not going to be very happy. There was an article on the benefits of volunteering. Jesus said even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve. That article mentioned how someone went to a third world country to do a service project (medical) and the joy that brought to her life. Can someone say "mission trip??" There was another article on life being an adventure. I really do believe that following Jesus should be an adventure. It sure was for the first followers of Jesus. Can you imagine those guys being bored while almost being sunk in the middle of a lake, hearing demons speak out of people, seeing a 4 day dead guy hop out of a tomb, and running people out of church with a whip. That sounds fairly adventurous to me.
It does amaze me how often the world finds great benefit in Biblical principles. Truth is truth no matter where you find it. Occasionally the world will discover a Bible principle and really see the value in it. Values like love, family, serving each other, romance (have you read the Song of Solomon lately??), and adventure are in the Bible because they are God's ideas. I know that God's people are a lot more than simply happy, but it seems to me that we ought to be at least that. We have more reason to be happy than anybody else. In Jesus, my sins are forgiven, the Spirit lives in me now, and I have an eternity to look forward to spending with Jesus. Those seem like pretty phenomenal reasons to be happy.
Happy for the abundant life
3 things I thank God for today
1. Clothes we were able to give to Ugandan Thunder kids
2. The joy of the Lord
3. The privilege of being able to give to people all over the world through technology