Lately I've been thinking about how it really is my choice to be happy. Yes, circumstances can affect my attitude, therefore making me unhappy, but ultimately, it is MY CHOICE to be happy.
As a mother of 3 energetic boys, I sometimes find myself feeling pushed beyond my limits of patience, hope, and my own energy. I often find that when I step back for a moment (in my mind) and think that, "This isn't really that important to freak out about..." then I am able to stay calm, and usually results in everyone being happy.
We've all heard that "the mother sets the tone for the family." Well, I know that is so true...and at times feel like that is a big burden for me to bear because I am not always happy! But I've seen things run more smoothly at home when I am feeling happy, optimistic and hopeful. Even when other things are crappy, if I choose to overcome those angry feelings or depressed feelings, then things always seem to work out. I know that goes hand in hand with just having the simple faith that the Lord will stand by us as he promised:
"Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you;" (D&C 68:5)
This promise is made many times throughout the scriptures, and we all know that we learn by repetition. So at this time in my life, I guess I'm supposed to be re-learning how to choose to be happy. Of course I know it isn't merely a mental choice that will make me happy, it's physically doing those things that are in accordance to God's will that will ultimately bring me the happiness that I seek.
I googled "be of good cheer" and found a blogger who actually posted something that I found quite interesting. Here is part of what he said:
"The idea of “good cheer” is derived from the Greek word tharsei, and the meaning of “cheer” is very different from what we associated today with that word. Tharsei meant “to dare to be bold,” “to take courage,” “to replace fear with hope.” The word tharsei is so old, it can even be seen in Homer’s Odyssey.
With all the crap going on in the world right now, and with the knowledge that it will continue to get worse until the Savior comes again, thinking of "good cheer" as was described above definitely helps me see why the phrase "be of good cheer" was used so many times in the scriptures.
For me personally, the most important reason to be of good cheer is for the benefit of my family. Because I love them and want them to be happy also, I must first be happy myself.