Your day is going along great, you think you’re in a good mood, having victory over temptation, being kind to your toddler. And then your kids get home from school. And then your husband gets home from work. And sometimes it feels like your smile just merges into a frown within two hours and you wonder, “How did I get this way? I felt so happy earlier?” And the sad thing is how familiar this situation is. Please tell me I’m not alone in this.
But I think I know, deep down, what’s going on here. So I’m going to try to pull the dark truth from the depths of my soul and bring it to light:
My happiness is based on the behavior of my children.
My happiness is based on how well my plans are going
and if I’m getting my way today.
My happiness is based on whether or not
my husband notices all the details of my life
that I’ve slaved over today.
It looks so ugly on paper. Because it is. It’s all a lie, and I’m believing it every day. What about you, friend? Are you believing these lies? You can pretty much fill in the blanks with anything here. You don’t have to be a mom or be married to relate. It could go something like this:
My happiness is based on if my friends comment about my new outfit.
My happiness is based on if my boss pays attention to my work today.
My happiness is based on whether or not the neighbors leash their dog today.
My happiness is based on how beautiful my house looks
and how vacuumed my car is.
The thing about knowing and loving Jesus is that we know better than this! These lies are the lies the world believes and functions by, every single day! How tiring and exhausted the world is. And if we fall into the same trap we are basically denying that Christ ever did anything good for us. It’s like I “know” the truth in my mind and of course I would never admit and say, “What Christ did isn’t the source of my happiness,” but how am I living?
It really makes me desperately sad when I fall into this–when my children get home and their disrespectful attitude or fretting about homework or complaining about dinner truly truly affects my countenance and my mood. I mean, I can go from chipper to groucho in about 10 seconds, so much that one child was heard saying, “Gosh, everyone was so happy a few minutes ago.” And it’s true.
And the old adage that says,
“If momma aint happy, aint nobody happy,”
comes true once again.
There was a time when I remember even asking my women’s Bible study group to pray for me that I would have joy, and I would try and try to put on joy, think joyful thoughts, try not to complain. But I think that was all wrong. I’m learning now that it isn’t all about disciplining yourself to be joyful, although that is part of it–self discipline comes into play in most everything.
But it’s more than that, and simpler than that. It’s about resting on the person of Jesus Christ and the truth of Scripture, and remaining steadfast in it, without wavering. Our circumstances will always, always change, and usually always be different than how we planned it. But Christ never changes–the reason I can have hope and joy in the midst of children who are still learning to be kind, is because my joy is found in Christ and not in my children.
Of course it doesn’t mean I’m going to put on a silly happy face and never be saddened by sin or be hurt by ugly words, but if it changes me in an instant, I’m putting my hope in my children (or my husband, or my boss, or myself) instead of in the only sure thing I have, Jesus Christ.
And when I’m believing in His goodness and love, it so frees me up to be happy even when something tempts me to grumble and complain.
1) Stop believing the lies that anything but Christ will make you happy.
2) Be happy, because Christ can make you happy, and nobody else.
3) Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray that God will open your eyes when you are putting too much stock in other things and attempting to draw your happiness from them instead of God. Lay it out there, bear your soul to God, tell Him the ugly truth. He cares and He will restore your soul.
“But let those rejoice who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;
Let those also who love Your name be joyful in You.
For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; with favor