The Herald Bulletin
---- — A friend of mine was going through a divorce. There had been no infidelity or abuse, no mid-life crisis, no traumatic event in their marriage. My friend's marriage was over, because, as she said, "I'm just not happy."
Another friend surprised us all after church one Sunday, announcing she was no longer going to be teaching her Sunday School class or doing any thing else in our church, for she had decided she could no longer be part of our congregation. She had no idea where she was going to worship; she just knew it would not be with us. Her reason, she said was, "I'm just not happy."
Those events happened decades ago. But last week, a teenage friend of mine told me she was doing poorly in school because things were not going well for her. With tears flowing down her face, she said, "I'm just not happy."
I may not be the saltiest fry in the box, but I think I see a trend here.
Why is it that we are so fixated on being happy? Why do we think we should be happy all the time? Why is it that we are unhappy more often than we are happy? I am positive I don't have all the answers to such complex questions. After all, each person we meet is fighting a battle we know nothing about. I know all that.
But I also know that there are some simple answers to why we are not happy.
As a general rule, unhappy people are usually preoccupied by too many things. They are too ungrateful, never offering thanks to God for what He has provided. (Do any of us have anything that was not provided by God? Even the air we breathe is a gift from the Almighty!) Unhappy people are too critical. (Ever notice that an unhappy person never has anything good to say about anyone? Or anything?) Unhappy people are too prideful, never learning how to humbly depend on God's power, not their own, and never learning to say thank you to waiters, cashiers, or their spouses who put up with their unhappiness day after day!
As another general rule, happiness comes from unlikely sources. For instance, happiness can come from being generous. I know that I find happiness in giving a really good waiter a really good tip. Happy people are also encouraging to other people. Happy people don't criticize; they build others up with positive words. Happy people know that God is awesome and that every good and perfect gift is from God.
Happy people know that happiness does not come from relationships, for people are always changing. Happy people know that happiness does not depend on successes or failures or events or how much money is in the bank.
Psalm 43:5 says, "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God."
Happy people know whose they are, and they happily praise Him. All day. Every day.
Verna Davis, author and speaker, writes in Frankton. She can be reahed at Vrdspeaks@yahoo.com.