By Joel Osteen
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Research that shows people are happiest on Fridays. Now, learn how you can generate this level of contentment and joy every day of the week.
As a man who maintains a constant positive outlook in spite of circumstances, Osteen has described this message as a core theme of his ministry. With personal experiences, scriptural insights, and principles for true happiness, he’ll show you how to find the same opportunities for pure joy that you experience at five o’clock on Friday.
Table of Contents
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Don't Give Away Your Power
Make Every Day a Friday
John was ninety-two years old and blind, but he was just as sharp as could be when his wife, Eleanor, went to the Lord. He didn't feel he should live alone, so John decided to move into a nice seniors' home. On the morning of the move, he was up and fully dressed by 8:00 a.m. As always, the elderly gentleman looked impeccable, with his hair perfectly combed and his face neatly shaven.
A cab picked him up and took him to the seniors' home. John arrived early, as was his habit, and waited more than an hour before a young aide, Miranda, came to show him to his new room. As John maneuvered his walker through the hallways, Miranda described his room in great detail. She said sunlight came in through a big window, and there was a comfortable couch, and a nice desk area.
Right in the middle of her description, John interrupted her and said, "I love it. I love it. I love it."
Miranda laughed and said, "Sir, we're not there yet. You haven't seen it. Hold on just a minute, and I'll show it to you."
Happiness is a choice.
John said, "No, you don't have to show it to me. Whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how the furniture is arranged. It depends on how my mind is arranged. Happiness is something you decide ahead of time."
As wise old John understood, happiness is a choice. When you wake up in the morning you can choose what kind of day you want to have. You can choose to be in a good mood, or you can choose to be in a bad mood.
My purpose in writing this book is to help you arrange your mind so that you choose happiness each and every day. Whatever challenges you may face, whatever circumstances are weighing you down, you can choose your response. How you live your life is totally up to you. It's not dependent on your circumstances. It's dependent on your choices. Abraham Lincoln said, "Most people are as happy as they've decided to be."
Honest Abe would have enjoyed a recent study that found happiness increases 10 percent on Fridays. Why is that? People are excited about the coming weekend, so they decide to be happier. They make up their minds on Fridays to enjoy their lives more.
I challenge you to let every day be a Friday. Give yourself permission to be happy every day. Not just on the weekends. Not just when you have a special event. Not just when you're on vacation.
If you have the right mind-set, you can be just as happy on Monday as you are on Friday. The Scripture doesn't say, "Friday is the day the Lord has made." It says, "This is the day the LORD has made" (Psalm 118:24 NKJV; emphasis added).
This means Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and every other day of the week. You can be happy even when it's raining, when you have to work late, or when you have to do the dishes.
Why don't you make up your mind to be happy every day? You've heard the saying "TGIF. Thank God it's Friday." For you and me it also should be, "TGIM. Thank God it's Monday."
"TGIW. Thank God it's Wednesday."
"TGIS. Thank God it's Sunday."
Another study said there are more heart attacks on Monday than on any other day. So many people just decide that Monday is a stressed-out day. They suffer the Monday morning blues.
When you wake up on Monday morning, don't accept those negative thoughts that come knocking on your door, saying, It will be a hard day and a long week. Traffic will be bad. I have so much work to do. I just need to make it through the Monday morning blues. Don't buy into those thoughts.
Instead, say, "Thanks, but no thanks. I've already answered the door and almighty God, the Creator of the universe, has sent me a hand delivery of joy. I know this will be a great day!"
Decide that for you, there are no Monday morning blues. Instead, choose the Monday morning dos by saying, "I do have a smile. I do have joy. I do have God's favor. I do have victory."
Yes, I know some days are more difficult than others. But if you program your mind in a positive way, you won't have to drag through certain days just hoping to get to Friday so you can finally enjoy life.
Faith is always in the present. Your attitude should be: I'm excited to be alive at this moment. I'm excited to be breathing today. I'm excited about my family, my health, and my opportunities. I have plenty of reasons to be happy right now.
Happiness Is Your Right
According to the authors of the Declaration of Independence, our Creator gave each of us the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Even the British prime minister David Cameron recognized this recently when he proposed polling all residents each year to measure their GWB—General Well-Being.
"Well-being can't be measured by money or traded in markets," he said in an interview. "It's about the beauty of our surroundings, the quality of our culture, and, above all, the strength of our relationships."
A researcher in Australia found that life goals and choices have as much or more impact on happiness than our body chemistry or genetic makeup. Another study found that half of our happiness is determined by factors other than biology. Ten percent is connected to "life circumstances" and the other 40 percent is dependent on our life decisions.
It is your choice to be happy. Make up your mind to enjoy this day, to have a blessed, prosperous, victorious year. You may have some setbacks and your circumstances may change, but don't let that change your mind. Keep it set on happiness.
It's not what happens to you or what you have or don't have that is important; it's how your mind is arranged and the choices you make. When our daughter, Alexandra, was just a little baby and I'd get her out of her crib in the morning, she'd be so excited to hear me coming, she'd start jumping up and down. She'd give me a great big, full-body hug with her arms and legs, then a big kiss.
Why was she so excited? She was just happy for the dawning of a new day. Alexandra was excited to be alive to have another day to enjoy. That's the excitement God has placed inside every one of us. We should never forget how to celebrate each day. But so often as we get older, we let the challenges of life push us down and sadden our spirits.
We have to realize every day is a gift from God.
We have to realize every day is a gift from God. Once this day is gone, we can never retrieve it. If we make the mistake of being negative, discouraged, grumpy, or sour, we've wasted the day. Some people squander year after year, being unhappy because somebody is not treating them right, or because they are not getting their way, or because their plans are not working out as quickly as they would like. I've made up my mind to not waste any more days. I'm celebrating each as a gift from God.
Prepare for Victory
We prepare for victory or defeat at the very start of each day. When you get up in the morning, you have to set your mind in the right direction. You may feel discouraged. You may feel the blahs, thinking, I don't want to go to work today. Or I don't want to deal with these children. Or I've got so many problems.
If you make the mistake of dwelling on those thoughts, you are preparing to have a lousy day. You're using your faith in the wrong direction. Turn it around and say, "This will be a great day. Something good will happen to me. God has favor in my future, and I'm expecting new opportunities, divine connections, and supernatural breakthroughs."
When you take that approach, you prepare for victory, increase, and restoration. God says to the angels, "Did you hear that? They're expecting My goodness. They're expecting to prosper in spite of the economy. They're expecting to get well in spite of the medical report. They're expecting to accomplish their dreams even though they don't have the resources right now."
When you begin each day in faith, anticipating something good, God tells the angels to go to work and to arrange things in your favor. He gives you breaks, lines up the right people, and opens the right doors.
That's what allows God to show up and do amazing things. Sometimes you will see major improvements in your life if you just make that minor adjustment. You would not only have more energy, you would also have a better attitude, and you would be more productive. You would see new doors open. You would meet new friends. You would get some of those breakthroughs you've been praying for if you would just get up in the morning and, instead of preparing for defeat, prepare for victory. Prepare for increase. Prepare for God's favor.
You have to set the tone at the start of each day. If you leave your mind in neutral, the negative thoughts will start to come just by default.
Have you ever been lying in bed in the morning and out of nowhere you're reminded of all the mistakes you made yesterday and all the problems in your future? That's the enemy trying to set your mind for a negative, defeated, lousy day.
Don't fall into that trap. The Scripture says, "Set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things)" (Colossians 3:2 AMP). Be proactive. Take the offensive. When you get up in the morning, say along with David, "This is another day the Lord has made. No matter how I feel, no matter what the economy looks like, no matter what the medical report says, I am choosing to rejoice. I choose to live this day happy."
Do you know what you're really saying when you take that approach? You are proclaiming: "I will not allow anyone to steal my joy today. I will not allow disappointments and setbacks to discourage me. I will not focus on my problems and my mistakes. I've made up my mind to enjoy this day."
I have a friend being treated for cancer. He's a young man, very talented, very athletic. If he had not told me, I would never have known anything was wrong in his life. I've never once heard him complain. He's always friendly, upbeat, and enjoying life.
I asked him the other day how he could keep such a good attitude during such a difficult time. He said, "When I get up in the morning I ask myself, 'Do you want to be depressed today, or do you want to live happy?' and I choose to live happy."
If you want to be happy, you have to be happy on purpose. When you wake up in the morning, you can't just wait to see what kind of day you'll have. You have to decide what kind of day you'll have. The Scripture says in Psalm 30:5 that joy comes in the morning. When you wake up each morning, God sends you a special delivery of joy. When you get up in faith and make the declaration "This will be a good day," you answer that knock at the door. You receive the gift of joy God sent to you!
The problem is, some people never answer the door. The knocking has not been answered for months and months, years and years: "Come on! Let me in! You can be happy! You can cheer up! You can enjoy your life!" I don't know about you, but I've made up my mind to answer the door. I'm waking up every morning and saying, "Father, thank You for another beautiful day. I will be happy. I will enjoy this day. I will brighten somebody else's life. I am choosing to receive Your gift of joy."
You Have What You Need to Be Happy
I've found that most of the time we have what we need to be happy. We just don't have the right perspective. For instance, you may not be happy with the job you have right now. But if you lost that job and went months without any income, you probably would be very happy to win it back.
We have what we need to be happy. We just don't have the right perspective.
You see? You had what you needed to be happy. You just didn't realize it. I know people who are perfectly healthy, but they're never really happy. There's always something bothering them. They want a bigger house or a better job. But if they were to lose their health and then regain it, I'm sure they would be thrilled. They have what they need to be happy.
I hear women complain and complain about their husbands and men complain and complain about their wives: "[He or she] is just too much of this" or "not enough of that." But if their spouses were suddenly gone and they were lonely month after month; if they didn't have anybody to talk to; if they had nobody to eat dinner with, they might be happy just to get back their "old goats," I mean, their husbands or wives.
Keep your life in the right perspective. Every one of us has something even right now to be happy about: our health, our jobs, our families, or an opportunity.
I know this couple who were constantly complaining about their house. It was too small and too far out in the country. It was a source of frustration year after year. But when the economy went down, unfortunately, their income went down as well, and they came very close to losing that house. Just before the bank foreclosed on it, they were able to refinance so they could keep their home.
Do you know they now think that house is the greatest thing in the world? They show it off like it's brand-new. What happened? They changed their perspective.
I hear people say, "Well, I've got to go to work today."
No, the right attitude is to say, "I get to go to work today. I have a job. I have an opportunity. That's reason enough for me to have a smile on my face."
"Well, I've got to clean this house. It's so much work."
No, "I get to clean this house. I'm strong. I'm healthy. On top of that, I have a house. I'm not living under a bridge somewhere."
"I've got to take care of these children. All I do is cook and clean and do the laundry."
No, "I get to take care of these children. They're a gift from God. They're a special treasure."
I've found there are very few things in life that we have to do. "I've got to pay my taxes." No, really, you get to pay your taxes. The fact that you have taxes due means that you've made money. That tells me God blessed you with opportunity.
"Well, I've got to go to the grocery store today."
No, that means you're healthy enough to eat. "I get to go to the grocery store."
"Well, I've got to drive in traffic."
No, that means God has blessed you with a car. "I get to drive in traffic."
"Well, I've got to buy my wife a Valentine's Day gift."
No, that means God has blessed you with a wife. You don't have to buy her a gift. You get to buy her a gift. And if you don't, you will be unhappy, because if Mama is not happy, nobody is happy!
Happiness Is Based on Your Perspective
I read about these two men who'd been bricklayers for more than thirty years. They were working on a huge skyscraper downtown. One man was always negative, discouraged, constantly complaining, and dreaded going to work. The other man was just the opposite. He was excited to show up each day and had an attitude of faith and enthusiasm about life.
One day a friend came by the jobsite and asked them separately what they were doing. The first said, "Aw, we're just laying brick. We've been doing this for thirty years. It's so boring. One brick on top of the other."
Then the friend asked the second bricklayer. He just lit up. "Why, we're building a magnificent skyscraper," he said. "This structure will stand tall for generations to come. I'm just so excited that I could be a part of it."
Each bricklayer's happiness or lack of it was based on his perspective. You can be laying brick or you can be building a beautiful skyscraper. The choice is up to you. You can go to work each day and just punch in on the clock and dread being there and do as little as possible. Or you can show up with enthusiasm and give it your best, knowing that you're making the world a better place.
I've found we create much of our own unhappiness. We see what's wrong rather than what's right. We look at what we don't have rather than what we do have. We don't celebrate each day and appreciate the gift that God has given us.
Years ago, a man traveling by train met a very successful couple. The lady was wearing expensive clothing and jewelry. This couple was obviously well-to-do. The traveler shared their first-class cabin, which was very comfortable. But from the start the lady did nothing but complain. She complained that the temperature wasn't right, complained that there wasn't enough light, complained that the food wasn't good, and complained that her seat was dirty. She made everyone miserable.
During the journey, the traveler struck up a conversation with her husband. He asked what kind of business he was in. He said he had been in the car industry and God had blessed him in a great way. But he added; "Now my wife, she's in the manufacturing business."
The traveler thought, That's kind of odd. I mean, she's so dignified and dressed so properly. That just doesn't seem like it fits.
He asked very curiously, "What does she manufacture?"
"She manufactures unhappiness," the husband said. "She's unhappy everywhere she goes."
You may need to change businesses, not physically but mentally. Get out of the business of manufacturing unhappiness. Quit dwelling on what's wrong. Quit seeing the faults and start seeing the good. Start being grateful for what you have. Appreciate the gift of today.
Keep a Song in Your Heart
As I walked out of the house early one recent morning, I heard all these birds singing and singing so loud and so cheerful. Little birds were chirping and chirping. Big birds were making a melody. It was like they were having a big party. I wanted to say to them, "Hey, birds. Have you read the newspapers lately? Did you see the stock market last year? You're not supposed to be singing, enjoying life. What's wrong with you? You're acting like everything will be all right."
What was it with those birds? They know a secret. They know their heavenly Father is in control. They know God has promised to take care of them, so they go through the day singing and enjoying life, regardless of the circumstances.
Get up in the morning and have a song of praise in your heart.
That's how to start off each day. Get up in the morning and have a song of praise in your heart. Put a smile on your face. Go out into the day and be determined to enjoy it. The apostle Paul wrote: "Be happy [in your faith] and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually (always)" (1 Thessalonians 5:16 AMP).
How long are we supposed to be glad-hearted? How long are we supposed to have a smile on our faces? As long as people treat us right? As long as we feel okay? As long as the economy is up? No, the Scripture says, "Be glad-hearted continually (always)." That means in the good times and in the tough times, when it's sunny and when it's raining.
When dark clouds are over your head and you feel like life is depressing and gloomy, always remember that right above those dark clouds the sun is shining. You may not be able to see the sun in your life right now, but that doesn't mean it's not up there. It's just blocked by the dark clouds. The good news is, the clouds are temporary. The clouds will not last forever. The sun will shine in your life once again.
In the meantime, keep your joy. Be glad-hearted continually. Don't let a few clouds darken your life. The rain falls on the just and the unjust. That means we all face disappointments, unfair situations, tests, trials, and temptation. But know this: Right past the test is promotion. On the other side of every difficulty is increase. If you go through adversity with a smile on your face and a song in your heart, on the other side there will be a reward.
But so often in the tough times we become discouraged. "I'm down today because business is slow." "I'm upset because I got a bad medical report." Or, "I'm worried about this legal situation."
Human nature tends to turn negative in difficult times. But the Scripture tells us to do just the opposite: "Count it all joy when you fall into various trials" (James 1:2 NKJV). That doesn't seem to make sense to some people. "You mean we're supposed to be joyful and glad-hearted in the middle of tough times?" they ask. Yes, that's right, because when you lose your joy, you lose your strength.
You need your strength more than ever in the difficult times, and your strength is dependent on your joy. When you're facing a financial crisis, dealing with an illness, going through a breakup in a relationship, or raising a rebellious child, you need your strength. If you go through those challenges feeling negative, bitter, and discouraged, you will not have the vitality to stand strong and fight the good fight of faith.
You can keep your joy by knowing that on the other side of each test is promotion. On the other side of every setback is opportunity. On the other side of every offense is growth. The difficulties you face are not there to defeat you. They are there to increase you.
Just keep reminding yourself, Even though this is hard, even though I don't understand it, even though it's not fair, I'll keep a good attitude and stay full of joy, knowing that this is not setting me back. It is setting me up for God to bring me through to the other side of this in an even better position.
The Key to Handling Adversity
If you complain, you will remain. You'll stay right there. If you become negative and soured on life, you won't pass the test. There was promotion available. There was opportunity for new growth, but because you didn't count it all joy, you missed out. The good news is this: God will give you another opportunity. He can still take you where you need to be. For instance, when someone offends you, your attitude should be, I won't be upset. I'll count it all joy. I know this is simply a test, and on the other side of this challenge I'll be promoted.
When business is slow, instead of griping, count it all joy. Tell yourself, This, too, shall pass. I know God is supplying all of my needs. Or when you face a disappointment, your negative emotions will tell you to be down and discouraged. You'll feel self-pity trying to set in. But instead of submitting to those negative emotions, encourage yourself: Get up. Be strong. There are good days up ahead.
That's how you pass the test. That's how you count it all joy.
In the tough times, don't be surprised if you feel that spirit of heaviness trying to overtake you. Don't be surprised if you hear those thoughts telling you, It will never work out. You'll never get well. It's over. It's done. Don't believe those lies. You don't have to be guided by your emotions. They're not in charge. You're in charge. Instead of letting your negative emotions talk to you, talk to yourself.
When you wake up in the morning and that negative thought comes to your mind saying, It's a lousy day, don't just agree and say, "Yeah. It's a lousy day, I feel terrible." Instead, turn it around and talk to yourself. Make a declaration of faith out loud: "This will be a great day. I will get well. God will restore health to me."
Put Your Hope Back in the Lord
This is what King David did. He put his hope in the Lord. That spirit of heaviness tried to steal his destiny. He became depressed and very discouraged during those dark times. But David said, "Why are you cast down, O my soul?… Hope in God" (Psalm 43:5 NKJV).
He was asking himself, David, what's wrong with you? Why are you discouraged? Why have you lost your joy? God is still on the throne. God still has good things in store. Put your hope back in the Lord.
When that heaviness tries to come on you, do the same thing. Look in the mirror and say, "Listen here, self. Cheer up. Put on a new attitude. We're not staying down. We're not staying defeated. We're putting our hope in the Lord."
There is so much doom and gloom in our world, so many negative news reports. If you are not careful, you'll find it sinking in. The spirit of heaviness will overcome you, stealing your enthusiasm and draining your joy.
"Oh, but it's just so bad," you might say.
The Scripture tells us what to do when this happens: Put on "the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness" (Isaiah 61:3 NKJV). When you feel that heaviness is trying to overtake you by telling you, "There's nothing good in your future. You've seen your best days," the first thing to do is take off the old coat of heaviness. Throw away the coat of self-pity. Get rid of the coat of discouragement and put on a new coat of praise.
You cannot give God thanks and stay down and discouraged.
Thank God for what He's already done in your life. Thank Him for the victories in your past. Thank Him for how far He's already brought you. And then take it one step further. Thank Him in advance for the victories He has planned ahead for you. Thank Him for the new doors He's opening. Thank Him for the situations He's turning around. Thank Him for the favor He has in your future.
If you do that, you will feel a new joy rising up on the inside. You will feel your faith increase. You won't have that victim mentality; you will have a victor mentality. One thing I've learned is you cannot praise and stay defeated at the same time. You cannot give God thanks and stay down and discouraged.
Put on the Garment of Praise
When you put on the garment of praise, that spirit of heaviness has to go. Sometimes you won't feel like doing it. You won't feel like having a good attitude. You won't feel like being grateful. That's why God says to offer up the sacrifice of praise. God knew it would not always be easy. You will have to dig your heels in and say, "God, I don't feel like doing this. It doesn't look like it will ever work out. I'm tired, lonely, discouraged. But God, I know You're still on the throne. I know You are good and You are good all the time, so I choose to give You praise. I choose to give You thanks anyway."
When you offer up that sacrifice of praise, supernatural things begin to happen. Scripture tells us the story of the apostle Paul and his companion Silas. They were imprisoned for sharing their faith. They had been unjustly beaten earlier in the day. What were they doing at midnight in their jail cell? Complaining? Having a pity party? Saying, "God, it's not fair. Where were You today?"
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