ARE YOU HAPPY? ARE YOU REALLY HAPPY?
While scrolling through Facebook today I came upon an article that touched my imagination. I want to share it with you, with one caveat—it comes from a secular point of view, and I don’t accept that POV for myself or for you, my readers. So.o.o… the secular common sense I agreed with is followed up with God’s Word that I rely upon. Enjoy!
“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be, ” said Abraham Lincoln. You may see the truth in this quote – but do you live your life by it? Many people ache for happiness while unwittingly holding onto beliefs that keep them bitter and dissatisfied.
HERE ARE SIX OF THE MOST COMMON ONES:
I CAN CHANGE MY HUSBAND/DAUGHTER/MOTHER/CO-WORKER.
You can’t. You can only change yourself. Believing that you are responsible for another person’s behavior puts an unfair burden on your own shoulders. A person’s capacity for change is completely internal. Trying to change them from the outside will only breed frustration and contempt. You will grow to resent one another, and they may even begin to intentionally oppose your efforts. You can not change any of the people in your life, any more than they could change you. You can only change the way you respond to their actions.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13
I’LL BE HAPPY WHEN…
Many people choose to put their happiness on hold. They decline to work on it in the present, thinking that doing so is too difficult, too frivolous, or altogether futile. They attach it to a future event, accomplishment, or life change. For example, “I’ll be happy when I graduate from law school.” “I’ll be happy once I get married and have children.” “I’ll be happy when we can afford to buy our own home.” Although it is admirable to have a goal, attaching your capacity for happiness to it is unwise. This strategy breeds disappointment, since once you reach your goal there will just be another one to go after. Strive for an internal sense of happiness that accompanies you during the journey rather than waiting for you at the destination.
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life?[a] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear? For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day. Matthew 6:26-35
PEOPLE SHOULD UNDERSTAND ME.
You are not entitled to be easily understood, and expecting others to read your mind will breed frustration and dissatisfaction. Good communication is difficult, and it requires hard work. To be understood, you must first understand the person you are speaking with. This will help you to communicate your ideas in a way that speaks to them. This requires patience and good listening skills. No matter how clear you are, however, some people will simply not be receptive to your point of view. This brings us to our next dangerous belief…
EVERYONE SHOULD AGREE WITH ME.
Most people realize this sounds silly, but unconsciously buy into it every day. It is natural to feel irritated when someone disagrees with an idea that you feel passionately about – especially when it comes to politics, religion, and parenting. However, your ideas come from a very unique place. Someone who does not share your experiences and education might not understand why you feel the way that you do. In fact, they have likely lived a life filled with an entirely different set of experiences and educational theories that might conflict with your perspective. Open your mind. An honest opinion should not be offensive to you, even when it is at odds with your own. Lose the idea that your answer is the only correct one.
For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another take heed that you are not consumed by one another. Galatians 5:13-15
I’M GOING TO FAIL.
Your expectations shape your reality. If you expect to fail, you are much more likely to do so. You are also much less likely to challenge yourself and try new things. This is a shame, since trying something new often opens the door to a new set of experiences and possibilities for happiness. Give yourself some credit, and believe you can do great things. You just might surprise yourself.
And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts, living within you as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love; and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high his love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves, though it is so great that you will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it. And so at last you will be filled up with God himself.
Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes. May he be given glory forever and ever through endless ages because of his master plan of salvation for the Church through Jesus Christ. Ephesians 3:17-21
LIFE SHOULD BE FAIR.
If you are an adult, you know very well by now that life is tremendously unfair – but have you accepted this? Many people subconsciously expect fairness, and become bitter and enraged when they do not find it in everyday life. It would be wonderful if life were fair. It would also be wonderful if dogs could talk and chocolate had no calories. Fairness is a beautiful thing to strive for, but expecting it from the world will leave you disappointed. You will not get every advantage your neighbor does. She will not get to enjoy every advantage that you do, either. Feeling angry at this will accomplish nothing. You each just need to do the best with what you have.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own insight.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
“I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself,” said Martha Washington, “for I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition.” Our very first First Lady understood the internal nature of happiness, and likely used this knowledge to make it through the tumultuous early days of our nation. Be like Martha. Take responsibility for your own happiness, and don’t let external events get in the way.
Original by ROBYN REISCH - Scripture added by me...