"It takes no courage, effort or achievement to be unhappy - rather, being unhappy is choosing the easy way out." -C.S. Lewis
My pastor recently did a two-part sermon on happiness, and it got me thinking a lot! How often are we wrapped up in the circumstances of our every day life and allow them to control our emotions and our moods? For me, this is something that I've been working on for quite awhile - yes, that's right, I have a goal not to be moody! What kind of woman can accomplish a goal like that - aren't all women moody?! I'll tell you this: a woman who's life is driven by Christ can accomplish that goal. We are equipped in happiness! Philippians 4:4 says, "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" Galatians 5:22-23 says, "But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." If we are walking with the Holy Spirit within us, we should be living out these fruits! So how do we battle unhappiness when it comes lurking around? There are a few steps that Pastor Joel touched on that I think are great points:
1. Beware of human nature.
Human nature causes the insatiable desire for more. We need more of everything and aren't happy and aren't satisfied without MORE! This is a huge area of work in many people's lives (mine included!) - we need to learn to be content in where we are with what we have! I truly believe that God will not bless us with MORE if we are constantly longing and lusting for more material things.
2. Watch out for comparisons.
Let's face it, comparisons kill. They kill your heart, they kill your joy, they kill your feeling of adequacy. One thing that really stuck out to me in the message is that God is most glorified in us when we are satisfied in Him. How amazing that God shines through us even more brightly when He truly is ALL that we need!
3. Adjust expectations.
Expectations can undermine gratitude - gratitude is the KEY to happiness. We need to be thankful for where we are in life and the blessings that God has given us! Rarely do our expectations get met the way that we want them to. Rarely. Think about it. :)
4. Look out for the missing tile.
Imagine you have just redone your bathroom and it is beautiful. The finishing of it is just amazing. Unfortunately, in one tiny spot there is a missing tile, yet to be put in place. If we fixate on the missing element of our lives, we will totally miss the greatness around us! We need to realign our focus to see what we DO have instead of what we don't have!
5. Know your genes and biochemistry.
Yes, depression is something that is hereditary. No, that doesn't mean that you have to suffer from it. Understand the areas that you may be affected due to your biochemistry. If your family has suffered from depression, instead of falling into it yourself - FIGHT your way to happiness! Don't settle for what the world expects you to be, but fight with everything in you for who God has made you to be!
By no means am I saying that you should never be unhappy! Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 says: "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace." There is always a time for mourning and healing, but those should be just that: times - moments - seasons. They should not be something that overcomes us and becomes us.
Nehemiah 8:10b says, "Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." It's time for us to take up that joy and truly walk and live in the joy of the Lord.