HAPPINESS DEPENDS ON CIRCUMSTANCES ALL BEING JUST RIGHT
I used to think that for me to be happy, other people and circumstances must all be perfect. That’s not going to happen very often in life – leaving me helpless and unable to be happy except very rarely. Then I am a victim of circumstances. When I focus on everything being perfect, my true focus is on the small things that are preventing total perfection. So my focus is on the 1% that is wrong instead of the 99% that is right. That is a recipe for a miserable life!
Life isn’t going to meet my expectations. Life isn’t going to fit my definition of “perfection.” I can’t control circumstances and other people. I can only control the way I look at things and my behavior! But I can decide to live with a spirit of gratitude, cooperation, peace and joy.
JOY COMES FROM CHRIST LIVING IN ME.
JOY is not about what is happening around me, it is about Who is empowering me on the inside and about my focus on the good things He is doing and that He has done and the amazing surprises He still has in store for my future – knowing He is working all things for my good because I love Him and am called according to His purpose! (Romans 8:28) Joy is a gift and result of God’s Spirit in me. GOD’S JOY IN ME IS UNSHAKABLE!
THE BEAUTIFUL DAY AT THE RIVER OR THE WORST DAY EVER? IT’S ALL IN MY FOCUS!
My 5 year old daughter and I were at the river last week one day, enjoying a perfect day. We were talking, savoring being together and holding hands. We found the tiniest baby turtle! My daughter was delighted! Then… she slipped in the mud and got a LOT of mud all over one foot and leg up to her knee. Suddenly – it was the worst day ever for her.
Being 5, all my sweet little girl could think about was the mud that had ruined her day – her WHOLE ENTIRE DAY. The sun was still shining. The scenery was still beautiful. There were still interesting people and adorable dogs walking by to be enjoyed. There were gorgeous homes along the river to imagine stories about. We were both still healthy and uninjured. There were beautiful, tropical looking flowers lining the path. We were still together, holding hands and walking. We could still have an adventure. The mud was a temporary condition that would soon be remedied.
She wasn’t able to get past the mud. We could have laughed about it and continued enjoying our time with each other, but sadly, she missed out on any joy or happiness from that moment on. I couldn’t help but think about myself with God. How many times did I allow a little “mud” to keep me from appreciating all the good things God had given to me? OUCH!
GOD DOES NOT WANT ME TO COMPLAIN OR ARGUE – EVER. NOT WITH HIM AND NOT WITH OTHERS.
I can’t have arguing and/or complaining and have gratitude, praise and joy in my soul at the same time. I cannot shine for God when I have a negative attitude.
Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the Word of Life . Philippians 2:14-16a
MY FOCUS IN MARRIAGE
If I complain about my marriage and my husband – I am revealing my own ungodly character – a lack of gratitude and thanksgiving. And I am saying I don’t think my husband is doing a good job, or that he is a failure. That is what he hears and that is what other people hear.
If I argue with my husband, I am also revealing my own ungodly character – I may be trying to take over control or may think pridefully that I know better than he does or that I know better than God does. No one wins in a heated argument. Even if I “win” and get my way about one particular issue – if I had to argue to get there – our relationship will pay a heavy price in lost unity and intimacy. It’s not worth it! We can have calm, loving, respectful discussions. But there really is no place for angry, nasty, hateful arguing in a godly relationship. Our marriage is to represent the relationship between Christ and His bride, the church. They are one in spirit – and we are to be one in spirit, too!
My focus as a wife is POWERFUL! When I focus on the negative things in my husband, they will grow like weeds. Or, I can focus on the good in my husband, and CHOOSE to forgive and extend mercy and grace – then the good will grow exponentially! I HAVE THAT MUCH POWER IN MY MARRIAGE! My perspective determines what grows in my husband’s character and soul and in our marriage. My focus as a wife determines our reality.
My attitude as a wife and mother is contagious! My negative, resentful, bitter, complaining, contentious attitude will spread like gangrene to EVERYONE in my family! Or, my beautiful, peaceful, thankful, joyful, godly attitude will spread and flourish and alter the attitude of everyone in my family.
MY FOCUS WITH GOD
If I complain and argue about my life and circumstances with God – I am revealing my own ungodly character. I am saying to the world that I don’t trust God – that I don’t think He is good. My arguing/complaining will NEVER draw people to Christ. A Christian with a negative attitude will repel people away from Jesus and His gospel. THIS CAN NEVER BE!!!!!!!
My contentment, joy, praise and gratitude reflect Christ and His power to the world and point many people to Him even when I am suffering, even when I am in pain, even when I don’t understand and am going through a dark valley. I can only do this through the power of God’s Spirit working in me. But what a BEAUTIFUL, GLORIOUS thing to witness.
When one of God’s children suffers, but continues to blaze and shine brightly for Christ – our mighty God will use that precious believer to bring many to Himself!
Cleanse us of our filthy, sinful arguing and complaining! Let us be people of joy, peace and gratitude. Let us be able to roll with changing circumstances gracefully, with flexibility, poise, calmness, strength and the power of Your Spirit! Help us to get rid of our own expectations and allow You to work in us and our circumstances however You think is best.