Hi. My name is Happy.

After being away for more than seven years from my home country, Philippines, I am back to stay for awhile, living life Philippine-style; preferring to eat green, sour mangoes than the over-ripe yellow ones. I am back to riding jeepneys with drivers who are horn-happy, honking all the way to the destination, bouncing up and down in motorcycles and pedicabs (pedal cabs... can you picture it?) on roads as smooth as the face of a moon. And most of all, I am back to enjoying the sun as much as I can, everyday.

The wet season, though, is coming and with it comes a lot of strong winds and rain, with thunder and lightning. Just like yesterday. We were cooped up at home, just listening to the sound of thunder and watching from the windows the falling rain as they make large, big puddles.

I am a rain person.
I love to walk and play in the rain with my umbrella and a pair of galoshes. Yet, there are times when I couldn't help but feel down and grumpy as the world turns dark and clammy. Much like the song that said, "Rainy days and Mondays always get me down."

Trying to find balance, while my unpredictable mood swings, is like digging treasure in a stormy day. I had to work at it and not let the weather deter me from what I have set myself to do. So as I dig in God's word, I am reminded that despite hormones, weather conditions, or even circumstances, I can 'rejoice in the Lord.... ALWAYS" (Philippians 4:4).

My Mood-o-meter

My little Ella knows my mood so well and can be my mood-o-meter. She can throw me off guard, as she would ask me without warning, "Mama, happy?"

She often does this when I am growing so frustrated trying to feed her. She is quite a picky eater, you know, and without me noticing, my frustration grows evident to her through my bulging eyeballs, pursed lips, and balled up fists. A monster in the making. She would stop me in my fast grr-grr-land and ask, "Mama, happy?"

It makes me pause and examine closely the rising bile of anger, which stems from the frustration of having to coax her into eating, and makes me rein in that emotion and smile, "Uh, I will be, sweetie, when you eat your rice."

"Happy, mama!", she would insist.

And I would urge back, "Mama will be happy if you eat."

She would take my face into her tiny hands and look me in the eyes and say, "Happy, mama!" As if there's nothing more important to her than that.

I realized before that my baby and I could go on and on like this forever with our "Happy, mama!" and "Eat!!!" thing, so I usually capitulate and try so hard to smile, "Mama is happy."

She would smile back and then pick up her spoon and eat, looking at me all the while. This time I genuinely grin back at her. I would be so into her cuteness that I totally forget I wasn't happy a few seconds ago. Sometimes she would smile at me with tears glistening in her eyes, and I know that they come from her desire to have her mom happy. Who can resist such a pull at the heart? I can't.

God wants us happy

God has made it clear that He wants us happy. He wants us happy even when we are under fire from our enemy; even when we experience unemployment, financial hardship, sickness, lose of loved ones and property; even when the world is going through 'labor pains' with economic upheaval, violence, moral decay, wars, broken families and lives, humanity languishing in poverty, and corruption and greed running rampant like a malignant disease in our government and society. How do we remain cheery in all these?

But Paul insists it is possible. He said, "Rejoice in the Lord always. And I say it again, Rejoice!" (Philippians 4:4). God is insisting. He wants us happy.

We may come to Him and say, "B-but, Lord..." and we tell Him all our sorrows and troubles. We say, "No one cares for me, Lord." (Sob.) (Sob.)

He takes our face into His hands and say, "Rejoice in me, my dear _____."

We say, "B-b-but, Lord, I am so tired of caring for everybody and no one even notices, much more cares for me!" (Sob.)

He looks into our eyes and say, "My dear, be happy in Me!" And we hear what He really is saying. He is saying, "I care for you. No one notices you? I do. I love you."

Finally, we get the picture. Of Him not caring for our sorrows and troubles, but of Him taking them all on Him, for He cares, for He is able, for He is bigger and greater than them and even the whole universe. The moment we understand this, our troubles and sorrows would seem so insignificant, so little, in the real picture of the love that He pours on us.

It is not our job to erase all the pain and vanish all the sorrows, rather, it is our job to be happy in Him, knowing that He is taking care of us and working out our circumstances for our own good.

So when God insists that we rejoice in Him, He wants us to be so focused into His greatness, His faithfulness, His goodness, much as I do with my little girl's cuteness. And in His beauty, we forget about our frustrations and difficulties, and see the real meaning of life.

How to remain happy in all circumstance

  • Feed on God's Word. Chocolate or ice cream may provide a sudden rush of happy feeling, but they can also pile on the calories. Try God's word and you will find that He remains true to His word. He is faithful and He comes through with His promises. Reflecting on His word and your circumstance will sure put a smile on your heart, if not your lips.
    • Look back on God's providence in your life in the past. See how steadfast He remains.
    • Look forward to the fulfillment of many more of His promises for you in the future.
  • Be thankful for what you have... and for the present. They are gifts... which often we don't deserve.
    • Enjoy the moment. Use your gifts to bless others. More likely than not, you are better off than many people.
    • Remember, there is no better gift than the gift of life that Jesus Christ has given by giving up His own life in Calvary.
We can rejoice in the Lord... ALWAYS 'cause being a Christian means being happy in Him. Be happy.

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