We aren’t promised happiness.
There’s no “happy wand” or incantation, no law or happiness legislation. The authors of the Declaration of Independence knew we ought to be free to pursue happiness, but stopped short of guaranteeing its acquisition. Even the living God “who has given us all things to richly enjoy,” (1 Tim 6:17b) doesn’t promise that we will be happy. He has made available through Christ all the tools we need to be happy, but He doesn’t force us to implement them.
Happiness is a choice. It’s a conscious decision to be content, regardless of the internal or external forces pressing in on us. I hate that.
When I’m being a whiny-baby, it’s no one’s fault but my own. When we catch ourselves singing along with Mick, “I can’t get no satisfaction,” not only are we guilty of using poor grammar, we’re guilty of choosing to be miserable.
Ask yourself this question: What would it take to make you happy, right now?
The answer, more often than not, involves a change in some external situation. Usually it’s something we either don’t have the authority to control (how people treat us, for example) or something we could do something about, but we’re unwilling to begin the process (like getting out of debt, or getting in shape).
It’s easier to be inactive or reactive than it is to become proactive.
Ever catch yourself thinking along these lines?
I’ll be happy when I weigh _____.
I’ll be happy when I get a newer/better/bigger/smaller ________.
I’ll be happy when I’m in a relationship/out of a relationship.
…when I find a job. A better job. A different job. The job I really want.
…when I finish school/college/work.
…when I get married.
…when my marriage is better.
…when I get out of debt.
…when I have kids.
…when the kids move out.
…when I’m old enough to… /have enough money to… /have enough time to…
Do you see the key word in all these statements? It’s when. When you get the when you’re waiting for, a new when appears.
|Wikipedia via Flickr|
It’s like the Whac-A-Mole game at the carnival. Just when you think you got ’em all, a new one pops up. We spend a great deal of our lives frantically whacking at the gophers, trying to meet a set of conditions and expectations to achieve happiness.
Conditional happiness is not true happiness.
If you beat the gopher game, some well-meaning friend or family member will be sure to direct you toward the duck shoot, and you’ll be right back where you started, just with a different set of conditions.
We’re headed into the season that should be the happiest season of all… at least, that’s what the songs and cards tell us. But for many, the holidays end up tainted by a sense of having failed to grab the proverbial gold ring. Our gifts (given or received) never seem quite “good” enough. We can’t spend enough time with friends and family to make them happy. (News flash: If folks are looking to you to make them happy, you are nothing more than a gopher in their game of life.)
What would it take to make you happy? The answer may be the most difficult and most simple thing in the world. All it takes is a choice. My choice. Your choice.We CAN do it!