Gung Hay Fat Choy!
If you are Chinese, you have probably heard this the umpteenth time this week. While couples were injesting chocolate candy on Valentine’s Day, Chinese families were wearing red for a different reason. The lunar calendar turned a new page on February 14 — Happy Chinese New Year!
Actually, the words — Gung Hay Fat Choy! — literally means, “Wish you mega wealth!”
As I kid, I loved getting money in “Lai See” (translated “fortune favor”). Chinese tradition claims that grown-ups who give away red packets of money will trigger a movement of moola in the new year for themselves and family members.
Eureka! We’d scream and holler with visions of cavity-creating candy, dancing in our heads.
The Problem With Happiness
As an adult now, I look back fondly on those memories. Life was simple when good fortune could fit into a red envelope.
Happiness is a lot more complicated.
We all want to be happy today, not tomorrow. At the same time, we are all hoping for something different or new somewhere in the future.
We are restless creatures, aren’t we? Always wanting more?
Some may offer killing the want and saying there is no more.
Somehow, I don’t believe that is what Jesus meant when He said,
“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
or when Paul, the apostle said,
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think” Ephesians 3:20
I Got Humble
I have been asking God a question recently.
How can I hope for a better tomorrow, while being content with today?
I’d keep trying new ideas to affect changes, but I’d soon end up discouraged, seeing myself trip up over old thought patterns or just plain bad habits.
God gave me an answer a week ago that surprised me.
To do the things I wanted to do — to be the person I know God wants me to be this year — I needed to stop trying to change my way.
I needed to confess my inability to change. I can’t make myself better inside, even if I improved the way I did things or said things.
I needed humility.
I’m not talking about the kind of humility that makes you feel like a worm. Being humble doesn’t mean being driven by guilt, thinking of yourself as a nobody.
No. God wanted me to become love-worthy humble.
Jesus, said Himself —
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Jesus, Matthew 11:29
I Got Grace
This kind of humble results in motivation that won’t quit, optimism that’s real about where I’m at. It sits opposite to blind fanaticism in positive thinking.
God wants to give me grace. Undeserved happiness.
I received grace the moment I went down on my knees and said, “I need you more.”
“But He gives a greater grace.
Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud,
but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6
I humbled myself and I asked for the grace —
— to stand up to the pressures of discontentment, and
— to be free from the fear of failure.
“It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace…” Hebrews 13:9
I’m experiencing this new heart-strengthening during my day. When a difficulty appears, I ask God to give me the grace to get me through it. I am learning He is faithful to answer that prayer.
It doesn’t matter how many times we have to start over, every day. God’s blessings are always within our reach to experience — not because we’ve earned it, but simply because we are His.
This is our good fortune — Grace Everyday.
How can you extend God’s grace to yourself today?
What does happiness mean to you?
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