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Despite the humor intended with the title, you would think that being a Christian and trusting God means automatic happiness for believers. This is unfortunately hardly the case, and there are reasons for this. For one, increased expectations can breed a lot of discontents. Christians pray for everything, many times with expectations, and many times with little or no proof of an answered prayer. Then they rationalize, certain about some greater purpose. They pray again and again are disillusioned. Since hope deferred makes the heart sick, a state of happiness becomes difficult and almost impossible.
Picture this: it is time for prayer. Actually, it is time to whine and remember everything that’s wrong about you and your life. You do this at least twice a day, one in the morning, which in turn sets the tone of your day. Of course, it has to be depressing over time. You recount all your problems and those of your friends and relatives. The more focus you give it, the more it eclipses every other thing that’s right in your life. then you have to deal with the confusion from the plight that you have so diligently sought out on your own, and the supposed goodness you believe about God. Quite a place. Dismay has to be inevitable.
Think of the time you found new love in a person and how you both spent a great while talking and acknowledging one another. The setbacks of your life were discussed so colorfully that even the most unfortunate incidents in your life only brought a good aura of humanness to your recount. Remember how special and understood those conversations made you feel, and the happiness that came from your sense of rest in being with this person. It inspired love in you: the deep feeling of peace and contentment for who and where you are in spite of the present. Similarly, remember your early days of loving God and appreciating your newly found faith. Recall that same feeling of joyful contentment from being acknowledged and accepted by the biggest influence in the universe. You were happy. You were satisfied… and it didn’t matter if the boat was sinking.
If you have an unhappy marriage, when was the last time you both talked about everything else but what is wrong; just like in those early love days. The same applies to happiness with kids, co-workers, anyone, yourself – how often do you mull over the things you did right? The principle also applies to faith and our relationship with God. When was the last time you prayed to only count your blessings and acknowledge your trust and audience with God and the relentless love you both share?
Just like no relationship will survive if every conversation is about predicaments, no more will your relationship with God be happier for all the problems that must be discussed and attended to now or never. We have to learn to appreciate what we already have, talk about it, and show it off in prayers and intimate times. Being content is something that you learn – something that you teach yourself. It’s a choice. It’s a decision. It is not a result of circumstances. We have to learn the discipline of cherishing and sharing good times with God without an agenda or note of reminder. We have to learn to rejoice in Him, and be satisfied. We have to learn to be joyful. Personally, I see the waves and life’s petty annoyances and occasionally get prickly with the noises, but I have also picked my gaze and are staying with it. I have learned in all things to be content and thankful. Every day is a new day. I am happy for it.
Funny, though, it seems that great things happen when you are proactively happy. Still, happiness should be the end, not the means to an end.