A few weeks ago I read this quote by an unknown writer: “Waiting around for someone else to make you happy is the best way to be sad.” Not only is this true, but it opens the door for us to look at the word “happy.” Some think that being happy and having joy are synonyms, but in fact, they are quite different. Happiness is based on circumstances. If everything is going great, then it is easy to be happy. But when things go wrong, it doesn’t take much to lose that happiness, which is what the word “unhappiness” actually means – you are un-happy; you’ve lost your happiness. So it is clear, happiness and unhappiness cannot exist together at the same time. Either you’re happy or you’re are not.

But joy is based on love that is filled with excitement, not circumstances. Therefore, although circumstances may change, as long as you have love that is excited about something that will not change, you will always have joy. This then, allows joy and sorrow to exist at the same time. For instance, you may have sorrow that someone you loved has died, but at the same time have joy because they are now out of their pain and misery and resting peace with God. So if you are waiting for someone or something to make you happy, you are really waiting for circumstances to change.

I like the thoughts shared by Zach Sokolow in his article, “You Can’t Wait For Happiness To Find You.1 He said, that when you wait for time to heal your pain it is just delaying your potential for happiness. One reason is that you let your conscience become attached to your negative feelings. Unhappiness can become addictive since it wants more and more unhappiness to cover the pain of the feeling that comes from disappointment in a variety of ways. When you wait for happiness, it is like a pause in time; you freeze your emotions and live only for the moment. It’s a shame because you can’t relive your past, and while you’re focused on that you’re missing out on what’s available right now. Zach suggests that you quit waiting for life and time to work things out. Make a change, take charge of your conscience so you can control what makes you happy. Stop sitting around waiting for some emotional Santa Claus to hang something exciting on your happiness-tree.

But if you want joy, the Word of God gives us plenty of guidelines. We are told that the joy of the Lord is our strength (Neh. 8:10). That’s because those who put their trust in the Lord will find that although circumstances may change, He never changes. So when you know that He will always love you in spite of how disappointing things may be, that assurance alone is enough to keep joy alive in our heart. Take it from Jesus Himself. He told His disciples that if we followed what He taught them, that the joy it brings and the joy He gives will not only remain, but they will have it to the fullest (Jn. 15:11). – Dr. Robert R Seyda

1 You Can’t Wait For Happiness To Find You: by Zach Sokolow, March 7, 2014, at – https://thoughtcatalog.com/zach-sokolow/2014/03/you-cant-wait-for-happiness-to-find-you/

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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