…when “it” does not make me happy.
There sure is a lot of “unhappy” out there these days! Wow. Lots of folk out there raging and rioting and looting and killing willy-nilly. I don’t go that far afield. But I do get unhappy at times.
I can always find something to make me unhappy. Never failed me yet – this unhappy thing. As they say, “If it‘s not one thing, it‘s another.” It can always make me unhappy.
The state of our fallen world is such that something will always not be up to snuff from my perspective. Especially with the world around us going stark, raving mad! If I let it, something will always take away my “happy”. 1 The key thing there: IF I let it.
But, I don’t have to “let it“. I keep unhappy away from me if at all possible.
If my happiness depended on anything but Christ, I would always find something to wallow in, like a pig mired in mud and likin’ it. I probably would have gone stark raving mad a long time ago, if not for my faith in Christ, and His forgiving, His healing and His empowering grace pouring over me.
What I am is what I make of it.
How I act towards others,
what I reflect to others
with my demeanor,
my face, my voice and inflections,
my attitude, my actions…
are all the parts of what make me who I am.
– Source: This is it
Some big thinkers developed theories for me – about what makes me happy. Isn’t that nice of them? They made lists telling me what happens “if I don’t have it“.
What makes me unhappy… if I don’t have it.
Big lists developed:
Maslow developed his theory that we have basic needs. If the basics are met, then we suddenly get higher level needs we need. Maslow came up with 5 levels of needs.
Maslow plus Evolution – 7 levels. But then other thinkers thought a bit, added evolution, and came up with two more, for 7 levels:
- Understanding and growth.
- Connection and love.
- Esteem and Identity.
- Significance and purpose.
Bottom rung, basic needs. Others also thought, the “eco” focus group, and they dwell on the bottom rung, basic needs: Clean Air, Water, Nutrients, Shelter and Sleep.
Survival mode needs. And then there’s the “How to avoid dying” survival mode needs type of focus people group: food, clothing, shelter, sleep:
- If you’re hungry enough, you die
- If you are too cold, you die
- If you have no shelter, you die
- All the above keep you from sleeping, so, you die
Quite a bleak list – focusing on how to avoid dying. I’d rather focus on what makes me happy.
But, it basically goes back to Maslow’s list of five levels of human needs:
- physiological (physical needs)
- belonging and love
- social needs or esteem
For more on Maslow and his pyramid graph… see: A Theory of Human Motivation, which is Maslow’s original 1943 article, or this very commercial site, exploringyourmind.com, or the conglomerate Wikipedia where everyone distributes their thought.
This all put me into thought. I like my short list of basic needs:
healthy, wealthy and wise
Fledglings. Many think “If you don’t have it, you’re cooked.” 3
Many unhappy folk think of themselves as luckless fledglings, un-enabled victims of a harsh, dank world, always whining for mommy to feed them. (Been there. Done that. Grew up!)
“…always learning and listening to anybody who will teach them, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. – 2 Timothy 3:7
They never figure it out: we are born responsible for what we make of our life. Each of us is responsible for our actions. Nobody else in all the world is. Just you.
It’s your life. This is it! What will you do with it?
There are varying degrees of each of those needs: how healthy, how wealthy, how wise. We need to accept our present level, not play the blame game or just “dream of better days” to come.
We are born with varying degrees of “healthy, wealthy and wise”. Our part in this world is to make something good of our life.
Change can be good. It’s our choice. Various factors can increase or decrease where we are at on that sliding scale.
What can increase or decrease our level of living:
- Me. I can… increase or decrease my level
- Circumstance… can increase or decrease my level (government policies, politicians, neighbors, rain, etc)
As life happens, I go up and down the sliding scale of basic needs. Sometimes I might think myself to be very healthy, very wealthy, very wise. When I get back from a rugged, sweaty hike – I feel VERY wealthy, fat cat rich even, when all I have in my pocket is a $20 bill – and it will cover me for a cheap burger and fries and ice water.
Other times, not so much. I may not be “happy” sometimes. A lot of it is dependent on luck and circumstance – or as the Bible indicates, a lot of life is dependent on the “providence of God”. It’s not under our control.
Each of us has a very unique “circumstance” given to us which is way beyond our control —
(1) at birth,
(2) at multiple times throughout every second of our day.
We cannot control much of life, even during times of being “healthy, wealthy, and wise”.
Life happens. Whether we like it or not, whether we work against it or not… “life” can give us quite a menu of different circumstances that we did not choose. And therein lies a problem.
Menu of different circumstances:
- If I am born into the lowest caste on a dirty alley curb in gritty Calcutta/Kolkata, or on a cush couch in the Rockefeller mansion
- If I am born good lookin’ or born “good grief!” lookin’
- If I am born healthy, or born with one of a myriad of congenital diseases
- If I am born genius, “normal” or with less “smarts” than the other guy
- If I am hit by some disease thing, whereas the other guy lived into his 90’s while smokin’ like a chimney
- If while living I am suddenly hit by a blood disease or HIV or stroke or cancer or Cystic Fibrosis or chronic Cushing syndrome or Crohn’s disease or I’m on the Autism spectrum or IBS/OCD/ADHD/etc or ABC (just joking) or dysfunctional (you can tell I’m one of those)… or hit by a Mack truck….
“I hate it when that happens.” But “that’s life” and life is gritty. We are not guaranteed anything but taxes and …death at the end, so they say (and salvation through Christ!). Some hit the jackpot, and some get smacked down… by burglary, business fail, disease, or drunk driver. So much in life is not up to us!
So how does one veritably succeed in this not-so easypeasy place (called earth)?
What Is Your Greatest Desire?
What is it that you yourself have made into what you’d call “your greatest desire”? The Bible teaches: Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires. God will satisfy them fully! (Matthew 5:6)
[joyful, nourished by God’s goodness]
are those who hunger and thirst
[those who actively seek
right standing with God],
for they will be
Keeping Happy comes with… Doing what God requires
For believers, God’s type of “happy” is not dependent on circumstance and fulfilled need. Contrary to the fake faith of empty suits, the truly born again follower of Christ matures, to where their predilections are the type of proclivities that reflect Christ and produce good fruits.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable and pleasing in Your sight,
O Lord, my [firm, immovable] rock and my Redeemer. – Psalm 19:14
There is no better way to live – than to reach towards the high levels of obedience of “nothing to be ashamed of“, putting on what is natural for us now that we are in Christ. Stay focused the way Isaiah put it:
“You will keep
in [a]perfect and constant peace
the one whose mind is steadfast
[that is, committed and focused on You
—in both [b]
Because he trusts and takes refuge in You
[with hope and confident expectation].
– Isaiah 26:3
- Isaiah 26:3 Lit peace, peace, a Hebrew idiom of emphasis.
- Isaiah 26:3 The Hebrew word for inclination became a technical term in Jewish tradition, and the rabbis frequently referred to  the “evil inclination” much in the same sense as the sin nature. They also recognized  a “good inclination,” which the righteous choose to follow, and urged people to make their good inclination king over the evil inclination.
God makes our life “brand new inside” when we confess our need for Him and accept Him as Savior. Then it is up to us to cooperate with Him, maintain, and grow in the power of His Holy Spirit, to be “steadfast… committed and focused on” on Jesus (Titus 2:14; Romans 12:2; Isaiah 26:3).
Maintain a “good inclination”
You can’t be a bump-on-a-log and bump into a blessed life. We must make our “good inclination king over the evil inclination” (quote from BibleGateway Footnotes for Isaiah 26:3).
It helps me “stay happy” and grow a blessed life – by keeping a proper perspective on life: looking at life here on earth – from the perspective God has from His Kingdom. After all, His Kingdom is our home! If I am truly born again, then I am, even now, a citizen of Heaven (“just a’ passin’ through…”).
Bad things will come for us all. We are in a fallen world, and not immune to what falls on us.
For the rain falls on the just and the unjust alike.
I refuse to live the irresponsible “fledgling” life. As to who I am in Christ – I reject the lies of Satan: I am not what he (Satan) says I am.
I will study and choose to be what God says I really really am. No matter how bad things get, I am enough, because, in that moment in time, He saved me – forever by His grace, not by my righteousness.
Every day I “git a grip”, focus for a healthy perspective: since that day He saved my soul — I am in “a body transformed by God”. God did that – He made me brand new (not me myself). I am one of His Creative designs. He is in my present life now. And I’ve got a future! Oh what a future!
Body by God
Designed by God
Created in the mind of God
Inspected personally by Holy Spirit
Size: ET – Eternal
Materials: 100% Forgiven, top-notch ready wear,
never fades, everlasting,
dies once then goes to heaven.
Does not go in Hell.
Do not fold. Keep from sinning.
Outer Shell: All weather loving.
Inner Soul: forged tough by God.
Sealed by His Holy Spirit: Genuine Eternal
Made to last.
Registered Heavenly Trademark:
Chosen In Him
No Returns – Guaranteed for eternal life
Adapted from: Jesus Saved Me
- (state of mind)
airhead, birdbrain, blockhead, bonehead, bubblehead, chowderhead, chucklehead, clodpoll (or clodpole), clot [British], cluck, clunk, cretin, cuddy (or cuddie) [British dialect], deadhead, dim bulb [slang], dimwit, dip, dodo, dolt, donkey, doofus [slang], dope, dork [slang], dullard, dumbbell, dumbhead, dum-dum, dummkopf, dummy, dunce, dunderhead, fathead, gander, golem, goof, goon, half-wit, hammerhead, hardhead, ignoramus, imbecile, jackass, know-nothing, knucklehead, lamebrain, loggerhead [chiefly dialect], loon, lump, lunkhead, meathead, mome [archaic], moron, mug [chiefly British], mutt, natural, nimrod [slang], nincompoop, ninny, ninnyhammer, nit [chiefly British], nitwit, noddy, noodle, numskull (or numbskull), oaf, pinhead, prat [British], ratbag [chiefly Australian], saphead, schlub (also shlub) [slang], schnook [slang], simpleton, stock, stupe, stupid, thickhead, turkey, woodenhead, yahoo, yo-yo.
- Definition of “cooked”: To be thoroughly or soundly defeated.