July 13, 2009

We used to sing this song when I was a child: “It’s a happy day, and I thank God for the weather.” We sang it rain or shine, and as children do, we sang it with a strong belief that it was true, even in the midst of the worst of storms. Somewhere along the way between childhood and adulthood, we questioned the truth of the song and began to doubt whether we were really very happy at all. Look at this list of reasons we often give for our discontent, and see if you find yourself in any of these:

I’m Not Happy With Myself:
I feel like a failure as a wife, mother, teacher, you name it.
I cannot live up to the demands or expectations of others or myself. 
I don’t know where I’m going—I have no direction. 
I am not where I want to be spiritually.

I’m Not Happy With My Husband: 
He doesn’t meet my needs. 
He doesn’t help me with my work load/burdens. 
He doesn’t make me feel loved. 
He’s too critical or too distant.

I’m Not Happy With My Children: 
They take after their dad, whom I’m not happy with. 
They take after me, whom I’m not happy with. 
They embarrass me or don’t make me look good. 
They lack productivity or diligence or kindness. 
They are lacking in their spiritual lives.

I’m Not Happy With My Physical Surroundings:
My house is too small or is not in the right location. 
I don’t have enough land or garden space. 
I can’t keep up with the neighbors. 
I have too much clutter.  

I’m Not Happy With My Finances or Work: 
It’s unfair that my budget is so tight. 
My budget is too loose; no one stays on it. 
My husband’s job is not providing (satisfaction, benefits, security). 
He is overworked or under-worked.  

I’m Not Happy With My Friends and Family: 
We lack like-minded friends. 
We lack support from friends/family. 
We have no church support. 
People have negative, critical comments.

And that probably doesn’t even cover it all. It seems like the human soul is bent toward unhappiness. Our natural man is chiefly selfish. No man ever hated his own flesh; rather, he nourishes and cherishes it. We want comfort. We want love. We want security and significance.

Looking back on my life, I can identify seemingly valid reasons for unhappiness in numerous periods of time. As I share with you, I think you might even be able to find yourself amidst my discontent and hopefully also find some reasons to rejoice and be happy in God’s idea of happiness.

I don’t know of any time in my life that I have really ever been happy with myself. For one reason or another, I just don’t live up to my own expectations. I have felt like a failure in every area of life. Sometimes I feel like I am not a good wife; other times like I am not a good mother; at certain times every year, I feel like I am not a good homeschool teacher; and during especially busy times I feel like I am not a good friend. Lack of contact on my part makes me feel I am not a good daughter, and because of all these feelings, I feel like I am not a good Christian.

Why do we feel this way? Why is failure our motto? I believe it is because we are focusing on the dust we call ourselves and wishing it were more than just dust. If we could gaze past the hazy dust and look on the glorious face of Christ, I believe our outlook of unhappiness would change in all of these areas. Because of Christ, we have reason beyond ourselves to rejoice and become happy and blessed. Am I a failure, or am I a new creature in Christ with His new mercies every morning? I need to stop listening to the accuser and start searching God’s Word for wisdom. 

Searching for Wisdom Brings Happiness