Points to Ponder:Are you unhappy?

Points to Ponder
Are you unhappy?

"I am not happy." Perhaps you have said that yourself. Maybe you're not telling anyone; you just consider your situation in life. Is it your job? Making it from Monday to Friday is a marathon. How many ways can you describe what makes your work drudgery?
Is it your marriage? What you had expected it to be is not what it is; where is the "lived happily ever after" part? Do you find yourself envying other couples whose relationships seem filled with what yours seems to lack?
Some who are childless feel unfulfilled. The extra room, the quiet of the house, is an echoing reminder of what you longed to have, but cannot. And you are unhappy.
Those who have children may feel a constant longing for solitude. Free time. The dedicated parent gives and gives, and sacrifices, and sets aside their own needs for their children. But who will take care of them? "When do I get to do what I want to do?" You feel guilt for thinking that. Being in that self-sacrificing mode, you feel you have no right to say you are not happy.
How about care givers? So many are foregoing their dreams and pursuits in order to care for aging parents, or special needs children. Some will be children (unable to be self-sufficient) for the rest of their lives. Care givers burn the candle at both ends, doing their best to replenish what is left of the candle. How many feel unhappy?
The problem with happiness is that it depends upon what is happening. So much of life is beyond our control. Things happen. Life goes on. Decisions are made. Consequences come. Even the most honorable decisions, and dreams pursued with the best of intentions, can bring into your path a series of happenings you would not choose. A lot of it is beyond your control.
And you are not happy. What then can you do? At least two things.
You can direct your mind. Give your entire life to God and allow Him to give you the peace that has eluded you at every turn.
"You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You. Because he trusts in You" (Isaiah 26:3).
Where has your mind been staying lately? Should you move it, change your focus?
The second thing is to manage your perspective. Nothing changes by wishing it was not so; sometimes it won't change even if you take action. Then what?
"A sound heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones" (Proverb 14:30).
Having a sound heart is to honestly acknowledge your lot in life; in the core of your being to embrace your place with an attitude of gratitude. Yes, that is hard to do. But unless you purposefully decide that God is sovereign over your life and the world in which you find yourself, you will expend time and energy in futility. Envy is rottenness to the bones because your attitude is literally eating up the structural framing of your being. You become unstable and there can be a perpetual "throbbing" in your heart because your thoughts drift into areas where you know your mind should not dwell. You can succumb to temptations that good sense tells you are self-destruction.
When you consider how "unhappy" you may be at this time, ask a challenging question of your soul: "So what?" Do you have to be happy before you can move forward in your life? Why?
If happiness depends largely on what's happening, what has to change to make you better? If you can't control the happenings or those involved in them, what can you control?
Answer: Your own response.
Your emotional reaction to your circumstance may be "I'm not happy." But by your decisive response you can bypass how you feel and go to your heart. You can focus your mind. Then respond to the matter by doing the next right thing.
Will that make you happy? Maybe not. We don't always do what we should because it feels good. We do what is right because it is good. There is a deeper satisfaction to pleasing the Lord than there is in pleasing oneself. And somehow, it all works in you something deeper than mere happiness; even if it may take a while to go there.
"Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm 37:4).

Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship, 12624 Trinity Church Drive, Clear Spring, MD (1/4 mile east of Clear Spring on Rt. 40). Listen to Pastor Dennis on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs, at 10:45am and 7:50pm, both days. www.hilltopchristianfellowship.com.