Circumstances: The Harsh Dictator of Our Emotions

This post is a part of my 10-Minute Tuesday series. I take a one-word prompt and write, unedited, for 10 minutes and see what happens. Today’s prompt is the word “unhappy.”

A quick Google search of “God wants me to be happy” yielded several articles—more than I wanted to take the time to read—about how God really does want us to be happy. But one interesting thing I came away with in my perusal is that holiness and happiness aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, the closer to God you become, the happier you will be.

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Now, the problem with many is that how they are defining “happy” seems to put it on a very temporary or shallow level. The Bible doesn’t seem to differentiate. Gladness, laughter, singing, they all seem to be wrapped up together. We rejoice in the Lord always.

So what’s going on when we feel unhappy? Are we disappointed in God, or are we disappointed in our circumstances? I can be unhappy that the store I traveled to was out of the item I wanted. (Should have called first. Always. Should have called.) I can be unhappy that someone ate the last piece of chocolate cake, even if I had called it, albeit not within the hearing of everyone in the room.

Those are circumstances that I can easily get over. But what happens when I find myself in a place I really don’t want to be? What if a job change causes me to have to live far away from everyone I know and love? What if the only job I could get is one of drudgery and stress?

If I suffer from clinical depression, does that put me out of God’s will since He commands us to “rejoice in the Lord always”? (Philippians 4:4).

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Being unhappy with our circumstances is a normal experience. Denying that we feel unhappy is simply sweeping our emotions under the rug. The key is not living in that state of unhappiness. I acknowledge that a particular situation is not what I wanted or expected, but I trust that God was not taken by surprise. He will use my circumstances for my good and His glory. But I need to let Him work.

I’m grateful that I have not suffered from clinical depression, but I know that those who do are helped by medication, and that they can find that the joy of the Lord is their strength. He holds them up, He never leaves them, He understands.

Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, which in this season leading up to Easter will be examined by many a preacher, was not “happy,” but His relationship with the Father meant that He was loved and not abandoned. He was about to face a cruel and agonizing death. But He also knew that Resurrection would follow.

 

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