Happiness is...My Testimony

Post by Minister Reggie Alvarez

It was some years ago when Pastor A. R. Bernard stepped out onto the pulpit and made this statement, "An unhappy Christian is an oxymoron.” Now, this is what I heard it...NOT HOW PASTOR SAID IT...but how I heard it: “If you are a Christian and you are unhappy...you are an oxymoron!” 

Boom!!! I needed to hear it like that, because for years I have wrestled with depression. Even as I taught classes and preached on Sundays and did offerings and ministered with my step team and baptized new believers in Jesus Name and encouraged hundreds (maybe even thousands) in the faith…I wrestled with being…happy. 

So the moment Pastor A.R. Bernard made that statement that an unhappy Christian is an oxymoron, my mind quickly rationalized it like this, “Well…I am an oxymoron!” 

It is important at this time that we understand the definition of an oxymoron. An oxymoron is a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction. The rhetorical term oxymoron, made up of two Greek words meaning "sharp" and "dull," is itself oxymoronic. 

A quick test, see how many oxymoronic terms you can find in this article: 

It was an open secret that the company had used a paid volunteer to test the plastic glasses. Although they were made using liquid gas technology and were an original copy that looked almost exactly like a more expensive brand, the volunteer thought that they were pretty ugly and that it would be simply impossible for the general public to accept them. On hearing this feedback, the company board was clearly confused and there was a deafening silence. This was a minor crisis and the only choice was to drop the product line. (Much Ado About English. Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 2006, (http://grammar.about.com/od/rhetoricstyle/a/100-Awfully-Good-Examples-Of-Oxymorons.htm

Crazy right? 

Here are a few more contradictory terms that I have found we have adopted into our language without thinking twice: same difference, alone together, awfully good, bitter sweet, clearly misunderstood, exact estimate, good grief, icy hot, mad happy and the living dead…just to name a few. 

Now, what I have learned through Pastor’s teaching and book is simply this…happiness is a choice that will effect you both inside and out. 

Yes...you will experience unhappy seasons and yes...you will be involved with unhappy situations, but at the end of the day…we must make the choice…for our overall lives…to be happy, or we will just remain miserable. 

In this life, we are allowed to grieve, to hurt, to cry. In this life, we will suffer, we will experience loss and we will go through pain. But we also have to believe God when He says to us through the apostle Paul to bring our worries and concerns to Him for He cares for us… 

It took some time for me to get it. I am a praying man, but I didn’t bring all my concerns to God like I now know I could have or should have. And the times that I did, I ended up complaining more than anything else. 

But thank God He didn’t turn me away when I complained. He simply led me to realize that life doesn’t change when you just…complain. I learned that it’s not what happens to you that matters, it’s how you respond to what happens to you. I learned that I needed to make better choices and except the things I could not change. Overall, I finally chose happiness as my attitude for life. If I didn’t, my family would suffer, my ministry would suffer and my life would suffer. 

Happiness is a choice. 

If you are suffering from depression, I am here to say that I totally understand and I am praying for you. 

That is the reason why I am sharing my heart in this article. This is the reason why I have been sharing the devotions from Pastor’s book ‘Happiness is…’ with the Boots Workshop Groups, to acknowledge that we can live in a state of unhappiness that kills you slowly on the inside and people won’t even detect it. 

I believe that is what we see at the heartbreaking loss of the beloved actor and comedian Robin Williams. The news reported his death as an apparent suicide caused by depression. 

This man made the world laugh for more than 4 decades, yet we would never imagine he would be suffering so severely from depression. 

You can make the whole world laugh while slowly decaying inside from unhappiness. That was me years ago. I was slowly decaying inside…and it went undetected for years. 

We can hide our unhappiness in a crowd by the art of distraction. We tell jokes, we gossip, we fight, we drink, we smoke, we over eat, we shop excessively, we jump in and out of relationships, and the list goes on… 

Today, I ask you to call or reach out to a close friend who you trust and that you know will pray for you. My wife is that friend for me. I could tell her my heart’s heaviness and she would listen and at times she would be kind enough to let me know that I was wrong to hold onto certain things. She would pray for me and cry with me and challenge me and at times…rebuke me. 

Happiness is a choice to confess to a friend your grievances. To pour out your heart’s heaviness or pain or frustrations and receive the right counsel. 

I encourage you today to reach out to that friend. 

If you’re sad, lonely, hurting. It’s okay, but reach out to someone…your happiness depends on it.

Here are words from James 5:13-16:

Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. 

If you’re heart is sick, God instructs us to reach out to someone who can be spiritually responsible with your heart to pray. 

Helen Keller captured the importance of friendship through this incredible statement, "My friends have made the story of my life. In a thousand ways they have turned my limitations into beautiful privileges, and enabled me to walk serene and happy in the shadow cast by my deprivation." 

To share with a good friend is to make an investment towards your happiness

Make the choice loved ones…to be happy and sing praises to our God!!!! 

My heart and prayers goes out to Robin Williams wife, family, friends and fans. We love you and we will miss you. 

Na-nu Na-nu and Shazbot!!!