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Beyond Happiness Is A Choice

Beyond Happiness Is A Choice

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Beyond Happiness Is A Choice

336 pagine
3 ore
Aug 30, 2020


Over thirty years ago my friend Frank Minirth and his colleague Paul Meier wrote perhaps the best-selling book of all time on happiness — Happiness Is a Choice. But times have changed. Scientific knowledge is now well over 50 percent new, and his and my theological and psychological knowledge have greatly expanded. Frank has seen perhaps more clients with depression than any man in history. This is due in part to his age and in part to his efficiency in time usage. He also taught on happiness to Christian executives at a ranch in the central United States. All of the above is not to brag, but to simply say he knows happiness, has taught it, and can teach it to you if you desire.
What is happiness?
What are the secrets of happiness?
What produces it?
What increases it?
This book will explore those questions.

Aug 30, 2020

Informazioni sull'autore

Dr. Beau Abernathy lives in the Arctic Circle where he serves as an Assistant Principal and Adjunct Professor at University of Alaska while helping churches in smaller villages. He has an earned doctorate and has started or helped start six churches in four states as well as Japan and Mexico. He has written or co-authored 22 books. He is passionate about helping people connect with the living Lord. Free resources, courses, and books can be found at

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Beyond Happiness Is A Choice - Beau Abernathy

Table of Contents



Chapter 1 – What Is Happiness?

Chapter 2 – Is God to Thank for Happiness?

Chapter 3 – Is Mother to Thank for Happiness?

Chapter 4 – Is Grandmother to Thank for Happiness?

Chapter 5 – Is Calmness to Thank for Happiness?

Chapter 6 – Is a Nuance to Thank for Happiness?

Chapter 7 – Is a Natural Product to Thank for Happiness?

Chapter 8 – Is Pleasure to Thank for Happiness?

Chapter 9 – Is a Synthetic Medicine to Thank for Happiness?

Chapter 10 – The Number-One Cause of Both Happiness and Unhappiness

Chapter 11 – The Illimitable Brain and Happiness

Chapter 12 – What Is Depression?

Chapter 13 – Do Antidepressants Work?

Chapter 14 – Happiness: Why?

Chapter 15 – Your Epilogue on Happiness

Appendix A – Depression: General Questions

Appendix B – Depression: Specific Questions

Appendix C – Depression: Other Nuance Questions

Appendix D – Antidepressant Questions

Appendix E – Bipolar Disorder and Bipolar Disorder Questions

Appendix F – Mood Disorder Questions

Appendix G – Stress/Depression Questions


About the Authors

About Frank Minirth

About Beau Abernathy

Connect With Beau Abernathy

Other books by Beau Abernathy



Is A Choice

Copyright 2020


Beau Abernathy

& Frank Minirth

Published by Beau Abernathy & Frank Minirth at Smashwords

Smashwords Edition License Notes

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This eBook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your enjoyment only, then please return to or your favorite retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture references are from the New King James Version of the Bible (NKJV registered trademark), copyright 1979, 1980, 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc., Publishers.

Scripture references marked NIV are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

Scripture references marked MSG are taken from The Message, copyright 1993. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Scripture references marked NASB are taken from the New American Standard Bible, copyright 1960, 1977 by the Lockman Foundation.

Scripture references marked KJV are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible.

Scripture references marked NLT are from the New Living Translation, copyright 2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.


I am well acquainted with happiness. I have lived with happiness and am a happy man in spite of obstacles. I have learned how to be happy, so I am passing on those tools to you. Oh, should you wonder, although I have had hindrances — arduous hours of work, physical illness as a youth — happiness has not been an altogether difficult choice for me. God has also been good to me — a happy life with my wife, Mary Alice, for more then forty years, fun with our five daughters and two granddaughters.

I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. (Philippians 4:11)

Over thirty years ago my colleague, Paul Meier, and I wrote perhaps the best-selling book of all time on happiness — Happiness Is a Choice. I have lived that book for decades, but times have changed. Scientific knowledge is now well over 50 percent new, and my theological and psychological knowledge have greatly expanded. I have seen perhaps more clients with depression than any man in history. This is due in part to my age and in part to my efficiency in time usage. I also teach on happiness to Christian executives at a ranch in the central United States. I say all of the above not to brag, but to simply say I know happiness, have taught it, and can teach you if you desire.

What are the secrets of happiness?

This book will explore the questions: What is happiness?

What produces it?

What increases it?

What is happiness?

Read this book and you may find concepts never before elucidated — hidden paradoxes with both exoteric and esoteric meaning. The knowledge in this book goes from simple to very deep — scientifically, theologically, and psychologically. Read this book and you will gain the tools that produce happiness. They are yours for the taking.

Incidentally, several chapters take a different stand than others usually present, or than you might expect, so please read the entire book before you judge.

I hope you will find happiness.

Frank Minirth

June 12, 2010



The very word evokes different images to different people. To some, happiness is relaxing in a lounge chair by the ocean. To many, happiness is family. For still others, it is closing the big deal, getting a good grade, receiving affirmation from a significant other, or finding peace in the midst of challenges.

To most people, though, happiness is like an inflated balloon flying around without the end tied. As soon as you reach for it, it turns in another erratic direction and is just beyond reach. As you watch the twists and turns of the elusive balloon called happiness, you may begin to wonder if happiness was ever meant for you.

This book helps explain the principles of happiness and the elements that produce it. Read slowly. Mark up the pages and make this book your own. Put your fingerprints all over its pages so that it becomes part of the way you think.

God wants your happiness. As C. S. Lewis wrote in The Great Divorce, ‘I wish I had never been born,’ she said. ‘What are we born for?’ ‘For infinite happiness,’ said the Spirit. ‘You can step out into it at any moment.’

*C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce ( ), p.*

You may think that happiness is not something God desires or intended for you. Hear C. S. Lewis again: "Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. *Ibid, p.*

Step into the deep sense of happiness and wholeness God has for you!

Beau Abernathy

August 20, 2010

Chapter 1

What is Happiness?

Happy is the man that findeth wisdom. (Proverbs 3:13)

Jim was atypical; he was happy. Various synonyms of happiness would describe him — contented, cheerful, lighthearted, exuberant, euphoric, pleased.

These terms all fit Jim, but why?

Perhaps with the above brief description in your mind, you see a gifted, handsome young man raised in an upper-class family, jubilant and on top of the world.

On the other hand, perhaps you see a young man born to indigent parents who fought his way to happiness through education and sheer willpower.

Perhaps you picture a young man disabled from cerebral palsy with an inexplicable wonderful attitude and radiating happiness.

Which image is correct?

What exactly is happiness, and what are the keys to happiness?

If we can answer this question, we will solve one of the great conundrums of the ages. I believe we are close.

Does the answer lie in our genes, personality, brain chemistry, hormones, environment?

Does it lie in our past, our choices, a gift, sex, riches, or circumstances? Or is happiness found in a deep complexity? This book will attempt to find the answers and point to specifics on how to move toward happiness no matter what your state of mind.

What is happiness?

Read the synonyms again in the first paragraph and you’ll find the list is almost exhausted. If, however, we stretch the meaning of happiness a bit, we could include such additional synonyms as exhilarated, thrilled, overjoyed, and ecstatic. On the other hand, many more synonyms exist for sadness, the antonym of happiness. It seems that sadness has been more popular through the years than happiness. Indeed, lexicons often list a plethora of synonyms for sadness, but a paucity of synonyms for happiness.

Data verifies the above:

- In their lifetime, 20 percent of people will experience a major medical depression (a severe depression).

- Each year, 16–17 million new cases of major medical depression occur.

- Each year, one million people worldwide commit suicide.

- More than 50 percent of the population has depression currently, if the term is used in a broad sense.

Yet some people are undeniably happy.


One inscrutable Bible verse gives some insight.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22–23).

Purely speaking, for the Christian a better term than happiness is joy. Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, not from self-effort. It comes from submitting oneself to the Holy Spirit; He can give joy. Christ makes everything possible, even happiness, or better yet, joy.

Many nuances hold valuable keys to the complex term we call happiness. Read on and enjoy the nuances; some will be simple and some recondite. The ultimate key is indeed Christ, but He can use nuances from theology, psychology, and physiology to expand our understanding as we seek happiness.

Finally, the mystery in the Bible verse — the meaning of joy (and happiness) can be understood as follows:

- Joy is not an exact synonym of happiness; strictly speaking, one can have joy without happiness and happiness without joy.

- Joy is a theological term; happiness is a psychological term.

- Joy has a deeper meaning than happiness; happiness has a broader meaning than joy.

- Joy is a fruit of the Spirit; happiness is not necessarily. Joy is a gift, but it does increase with growth in the Lord; happiness is often learned, at least to some degree.

Now, in reality, the terms joy and happiness are often used interchangeably. This book will give you the ingredients and choices for both.

Chapter 2

Is God to Thank for Happiness?

And whoever trusts in the LORD, happy is he. (Proverbs 16:20, NKJV)

Is God to thank for happiness?

The answer to this rhetorical question is yes, of course. But the details of this answer can be interesting.

In psychiatric research, we often study groups that possess an element of a certain trait. If I had to pick a group in the Bible that teaches happiness, I would pick the Nazarites. Incidentally, they were not perfect; in fact, one was just plain selfish much of the time, pursuing pleasure for pleasure’s sake. So if you initially felt you couldn’t relate to this godly bunch then read on.

Happiness is a gift from God, so He is to thank ultimately for happiness, but lessons are seldom so overt as with the Nazarites.

We are introduced to the Nazarites in Numbers 6. The book was probably written in the final year of Moses’ life. Nazarites are found in Numbers 6, Judges 13–16, 1 Samuel 1, Luke 1, and Acts 12:20–26. Nazarites were:

- called by the Lord, but they also chose to follow Him.

- told to be dedicated in specific ways.

- blessed by God with unusual abilities.

Happiness may seem initially like the wrong word to describe this group, but they teach us more than perhaps any other about the true source of happiness.

Four Nazarites are mentioned by name in the Bible — Samson, Samuel, John, and Paul.

Let’s see what pearls of knowledge we can learn from this elite group regarding happiness.

Samson was the first named in the Bible, and what an odd choice he seemed to be. He did almost everything wrong. He was a maverick. He was extraordinarily strong and had long hair.

Yet he was mostly unhappy. He pursued happiness in ways destined to prevent it; he was driven by sex. He fell in love with three women during his lifetime — a betraying Philistine wife, a prostitute, and Delilah. Shall I say more? He was aggressive — caught three hundred foxes, set their tails on fire, and ruined the Philistines grain fields, vineyards, and olive groves; killed many Philistines, a thousand in one setting with a donkey’s jawbone.

So why did God choose Samson, and why do I choose Samson to teach a lesson on happiness?

Consider the following reasons.

God can make good come out of bad. God can take bad decisions — decisions made only for pleasure and inappropriate happiness — and bring good out of them. God answered Samson’s last prayer (after his eyes had been gouged out) and he killed more Philistines in his death than he had in his life. Perhaps you are like Samson — gifted — but also like Samson, you have made some bad choices. God can still use and restore you. Romans 8:28 is so clear: And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (NASB). Like Samson you can still be a hero for Christ for generations to come. In Hebrews 11, in God’s hall of fame, Samson is included in an elite list with such people as Gideon, Samuel, and David.

I would be remiss if I did not point out that God sometimes just chooses people for special purposes. Concerning Samson, it was prophesied, For the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb (Judges 13:5). Perhaps you too were chosen and now need to come back.

Samuel was also a Nazarite. An excellent description of his Nazarite birth and early life is found in 1 Samuel 1–3. Samuel is known for his dedication to the Lord, his wisdom, and his apparent contentment. Contentment is often listed as a synonym for happiness. Samuel’s happiness came from his dedication to the Lord. He may best be known for these famous words:

Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth. (1 Samuel 3:9)

If that is not happiness, I don’t know what is. Can you imagine God talking to you?

Can you imagine the happiness?

Times have not changed. God still wants to talk with you.

John the Baptist must have been a rugged man. He was surely a Nazarite. (Luke 1:15)

The Bible states that no man born among women was greater than John the Baptist. He died a martyr’s death. He was bold for Christ and without regret.

John’s lesson for us on happiness might be that some pursuits are above happiness (if happiness is used in the wrong sense). Pyro thought pleasure was the highest of all pursuits; he was wrong. This last century has brought a drift toward pleasure being the main objective of pursuit of life. John rose above this and so can we. John knew true happiness.

The apostle Paul was a Nazarite (see Acts 21:26). More than any other human who ever lived, except Christ, he depicted happiness. He taught us grace — God’s undeserved favor given to us simply by grace through faith in Christ. This is indeed happiness — joy now and heaven in the future. Now you have the overview of four Nazarites; four of the most remarkable men that ever lived; four men whose lives taught us happiness:


The strongest man that ever lived. He taught us happiness by being chosen, though he didn’t deserve it, and by pursuing the wrong means to happiness. God must have had twenty-first-century Christians in mind.


One of the wisest men who ever lived, he taught us happiness through his dedication. Incidentally, Samuel’s children did not turn out well. The same is sometimes true of God’s leaders today, but they are to remain dedicated and content — a lesson on happiness.

John the Baptist:

One of the greatest men that ever lived. Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist (Matthew 11:11). He also had unparalleled zeal and purpose. Ultimately, happiness is not found in pleasure but rather in purpose. Forty percent of men die within two years of retirement; they lose their purpose. Purpose for Christ gives happiness.

The apostle Paul:

One of the best teachers that ever lived. He taught us grace, and in so doing, he gave us joy and happiness. He was of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee (Philippians 3:5). He even had tremendous zeal along with his high education, but he counted all of

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