How To Be Happy
Updated: Sep 1, 2020
For the past few days, I’ve been spending a lot of time talking to God. I’ll be very honest with you, for most of that time, I was curled up on the floor in tears. Everything in my life just began to feel like it was too much. I felt very weary--tired of hoping and waiting and hoping again. It seemed like God was nowhere to be found. I know that He promises that He is always with me, and will never forsake me (Hebrews 13:5), but it was still hard. One day in particular, as I spent time talking to Him, I asked, “Why do I feel so unhappy, Lord?”
Have you ever felt that way? Unhappy? If so, I know what it’s like. In those moments, it’s very hard to find any joy or feel even a glimmer of happiness. That was me this week. Most days, I would wake up and continue on in my daily routine with spending time with God, but I still felt unhappy. Thinking back, I know that I did because I had spent that time with God wallowing in self-pity, rather than declaring His promises over my life. Day after day, I felt myself falling deeper and deeper into a pit of unhappiness, and I knew that if I didn't get myself together, things would continue to spiral out of control. So, I went to God and I was honest with Him about how I was feeling. I poured over the Psalms--those that were severely honest with God, and they became my prayers. I told God how unhappy I felt because of all the hard things in my life, and I cried out to Him for help. Like the good Father He is, God responded. He taught me three simple truths that helped me to overcome all of the unhappiness and despair that I had been wrestling with, and I want to share them with you:
1. Focus on God and not your problems. Now, I can be honest with you and tell you that this is not always easy. It’s really difficult to push your problems to the back of your mind, especially when it’s something that you have to confront everyday, but with God, nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37). I began to focus on God, no matter how challenging things became. I would remind myself of His promise that says those whose minds are stayed on Him, He will keep in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). The more time I spent thinking about God and not obsessing over my problems, the more peace and contentment I felt in my heart. I found myself smiling more and feeling more hopeful, because my mind was filled with thoughts about my Saviour, not about what was wrong in my life.
2. Trust in God, completely. Jeremiah 17:7 (CEB) says, “Happy are those who trust in the Lord, who rely on the Lord.” As I meditated on that verse, I realized that I had been so unhappy because I was trusting in myself. I had been trying to figure things out on my own, and come up with my own solutions to cure the unhappiness I was feeling. However, God reminded me that all I needed was to make the decision to trust Him and to believe His word, which promises that all things will work together for my good (Romans 8:28).
3. Think happy thoughts. Now, this may seem very cliché, but it has worked wonders in my life. Philippians 4:8 (NIV) says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Lately, I have been taking that verse to heart. No matter how challenging things may seem, I would choose to think happy thoughts and focus on the good. The more time that I spent doing this, the less daunting my problems felt. In fact, my problems seemed more and more insignificant as I chose to think about the good and the power of God.
Happiness is attainable, no matter what it is that you are walking through. I can say with all assurance that once you follow these three principles that God has taught me, unhappiness, discouragement and despair will no longer be able to thrive in your life. Of course, change will not miraculously happen overnight, but the more time that you spend practicing these principles, the change that you want to see will surely come.