I’m giddy to write this post, so I found a giddy picture to go with it, ha.
I am so excited to share this with you because, you guys, it applies to us ALL regardless of age, race, sex, education, nationality, status etc. And it hits close to home for me!
You see, this is something that turned my life right-side-up, after years and years of just barely getting by. Like totally transformed my way of thinking and as a result the way I experience life for the better. And, wow, I am so grateful.
I spent too many years looking to my circumstances and/or other people for happiness. Which, frankly, is a terrible way to live. Because how often do our circumstances or other people let us down? Pretty much on a daily basis. Right?!
During those years I allowed my circumstances and the behavior of others to rob me of joy. Which was bound to happen. Because you can’t look to those things for happiness! They will let you down every time.
The crazy thing was, as a Christian, I should have known better. But this behavior is subtle (often we don’t see it in ourselves) and common (I am convinced most people live this way—out of AND in the Church).
What it boils down to is…
We aren’t content, so we look to our circumstances and other people to make us happy—to fill us up.
Chances are, if we feel unhappy at any given moment in life, we can trace it back to a contentment issue.
Now, I am not talking about grief that results from major loss or tragedy here. Nobody should feel happy when they’ve lost a loved one or their house has burned down to the ground. I should also add here that depression is something different.
But rather, the frequently recurring and sometimes constant sense of disappointment, or frustration, or flat-out unhappiness in life that plagues SO many people. Even those of us who call ourselves Christian.
Most often, this unhappiness results from wanting certain circumstances in our life to change or improve somehow. Right? And falsely believing we will finally be happy when they do.
“I would be happier if or when ______________ happened.”
I’ve been there. Oh man have I been there, waiting for happiness to show up when my circumstances change. Like I mentioned earlier, that is how I lived most of my 20’s. But do you know what? It never does because there is always some new set of circumstances or sticky relational issue to deal with in life.
It wasn’t until I STOPPED looking to my circumstances and other people for happiness and really, truly learned contentment—regardless of my circumstances (in spite of them, even)—that I finally experienced happiness. It required that I be thankful for where I was in life at THAT EXACT moment. To be joyful in the journey, rather than constantly looking for joy in some destination. To let people off the hook when it came to my happiness.
You see, when I learned that if I couldn’t be happy smack-dab in the middle of the circumstances God had placed me (whatever they were), I would never be happy—things finally turned around for me. I finally experienced peace and joy right where I was (and often in less than ideal circumstances to boot—a chronic illness diagnosis, failure, job stress, disappointment, friend issues, etc. !!)
I am far from amazing. If I can learn contentment, any one can!!