Be Thankful and be Happy ...

Most of the time we hear about being happy for our health. But, what if we looked at being healthy because we are happy?

Remember A.A. Milne’s beloved characters, “Winnie the Pooh” and his donkey friend, “Eeyore”? A typical exchange between the two goes something like this: Pooh, “Lovely day, isn’t it?” Eeyore, “Wish I could say yes, but I can’t.”

Have you ever met an “Eeyore”? He, or she, is the perpetual pessimist, seeing everything as a glass half empty and rare if ever does a smile break through the cloud of cynicism and gloom hovering overhead.

What does scripture tell us about the difference between the “Poohs” and “Eeyores” in life?

A glad or joyful heart is good medicine and helps us have a warm countenance towards others, but constant sadness crushes the spirit and dries up the bones. (Prov. 15:13 and 17:22)

In support of scripture’s truth, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health looked at 200 studies to determine the power of staying positive. Happiness and optimism were both linked to a lower risk of heart disease and stroke, with the most optimistic people having the greatest benefits.

It is this type of scientific information that our students here at St. Francis are taught is support of their faith in God’s Word, and it is practical information that they take with them as they enter adult life.

But, they also learn that while it is good to know, it is hard to practice. With all the disappointment, pain and evil we come across in life it is hard to be glad and joyful. So, how do we live an optimistic life?

Once again, scripture provides the answer: Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thess 5:18

In short, scripture tells us we should give thanks – or be glad – in all circumstances. Not because the circumstances themselves are always reasons for joy, but because God is using those circumstances in our lives to bring us closer to Him.

In other words, when we are thankful for every circumstance – positive or negative – because we recognize each as a gift from God, it changes the glass from “half-empty” to “half-full” and we live longer and more full lives.

So, be thankful and be healthy . . .