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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Happy (07/12/07)

TITLE: To Be or Not to Be Happy
By Laura Norman
07/13/07


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Sometimes book titles are so memorable, I almost feel like I don’t need to read the book. Remember Happiness is a Choice? At the time that one came out, I was going through a painful divorce. Even if the title was true, it often seemed like the choice was too much of a challenge to tackle. At the time, I simply opted for that comfort that only the Holy Comforter can give. Now, years (actually decades) later, I’m finally settling comfortably into being content to live out my life according to the marriage vows I made before God and all those gathered to witness our sacred testimony. Covenant really is one of those good and perfect gifts from above, an awesome testament of God’s truly amazing grace, a path to increasing joy.

As far as happiness goes, I confess that I still frequently find the choice challenging but, when I consider the alternative, well worth the ongoing effort that’s required. And while I’m at confessing, I might as well go ahead and admit that all too often I even completely manage to overlook the choice that’s available to me. I regret to say that I am likely to be easy prey for the enemy; he simply swoops in with automated cheery voice recordings pretending to be real people who are obviously bereft of even the most basic human intelligence or ability to provide any of the services or information they claim they are so eager to supply. Can you believe that some of these non-entities actually have names and go so far as to introduce themselves!? It could be that the falsity grieves my spirit, but it is my soul that is so prone to going over the edge at these plastic, “customer service” absurdities.

It is in the grip of this sort of pettiness that I find myself called to choose; of course, I have to be tuned in to even hear that call. So, do I serve the Lord with gladness of heart or serve my enemy (in this case, anger)? The choice should be obvious, yet God—in His infinite compassion and understanding of human frailty—gives the hint I so desperately need. “I set before you this day, life and death; choose life.” Why should freedom from serving my enemy be such a difficult choice? I can only conclude that it’s a tuning issue; that is, I find myself tuned to the wrong frequency. Rather than counting myself a citizen of the Kingdom and basking in the reality that His throne is established in the heavens and that He rules over all, I see myself as a subject of this false (and thankfully oh so temporal) phone world—although it does feel like those menu options and sub menus could go on eternally. I forget that I am blessed beyond imagining, that all my sins are forgiven, that infinite possibilities are before me—more even than I can hope or dream. Instead I find myself either heartily tempted to sin (engaged in a great conflict of soul) or forfeiting the fight and sinning, which is even further from the way I want to respond to that costly gift given so freely and so lovingly. But when I’m tuned in to that Truth that fills all the earth with His glory, when I find myself celebrating and marveling at the fact that He is the Lover of souls, the choice is already made. For me, to be happy is a matter of choosing the right reality—the Kingdom of our God and of His Christ or the false and failing kingdoms of this world that can only attempt to present themselves as real.


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Virginia Gorg07/19/07
A nice inspirational piece, well written and a good choice of words. :)