January 15, 2018

Don’t Be Happy: Here’s Why

For your consideration…

I feel like our culture places a lot of value on being happy. Happiness in itself is not a bad thing. Tons of things make me happy: food, sleep, other food, more sleep, naps, pizza….

That being said, being happy is great, but it’s just not always important. 

I have had relationships and times in life that provided me many happy moments. I connected with people that I had a good time with & had a lot in common with. They started off pleasantly enough. Problems arose, however,  because in some of these relationships I made the mistake of trying to justify red flags that popped up by thinking, “but this person/situation- makes me happy, so it must be good.” And once those red flags started blinking and glowing and waving and generally being all up in my face, I’d gotten to a point where I was so focused on the happy moments that I was scared to give them up. Or, in the event I did give them up, the pain of wanting that feeling again would lure me right back to the former situation. I was afraid to let it go in favor of a life that would perhaps find me having moments by myself, but would put me in a better space to be whole.


Happiness sometimes deceives us into thinking we’re in a healthy relationship or place. We chase the happiness high and assume that those moments mean whatever situation we find ourselves having them in must be a good one. 


I contend that being happy and being well are two totally different things.

I’ve found it more beneficial to focus on what will advance life to a place of wellness, not what to chase to keep me happy in the moment. The key, I think, is being willing to be the right kind of uncomfortable. Discomfort does not make us happy, but it can make us well. Break-ups are wildly uncomfortable, they do not make us happy. Disconnecting with people, places & things that will not promote wellness in the long run, that tear us down or that we just have the sense that they aren’t right isn’t a great feeling.  


The good news is that even in the crustiest of times, if we walk through the discomfort of the after effects of leaving the situation, we come out better, healthier, more confident, and better able to discern when it’s time to be happy and when it’s time to be uncomfortable. That knowledge is invaluable. Better will always feel uncomfortable simply because better is always unfamiliar at first. Don’t forsake a new level of being out of fear of the unfamiliar.


It is an exercise in trusting God, as many things during this time are. Proverbs 3:5-6 is a great verse to think about when facing these kinds of situations: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge Him and he will make your paths straight.”


Acknowledging God in ALL our ways means considering His ways over ours. Like, all of them, all the time. To acknowledge means to accept or admit the existence or truth of, recognize the fact or importance or quality of (#DictionaryLife). Acknowledging that our own ways & understanding can be short-sighted, wishful, or misinformed – especially if we are giving too much weight to happiness at the moment.


What would our decisions look like if we recognized the truth of God’s ways over what we want in our flesh? How does what we do measure up against God’s word? His calling on your life? What would our life look like if we recognized God’s plan for our life over what will pacify us in the moment? Who would we attach ourselves to? What kind of words would we speak? What would we engage in and what would we walk away from? These are legitimate questions to ask yourself and answer. When this becomes a consideration in everyday life – it begins to look different.


Once you acknowledge these answers, what will you do about them? You are responsible for the outcomes at this point. If you stay in a happy situation for comfort’s sake, you actively decide not to be well. But the awesome news is that no matter how far things have gone, or what other voices are telling you, you have the power to make new decisions that serve you. These decisions reach far beyond what we imagine for ourselves and set us on a course to receive God’s best for us.  To trust God with your whole heart is to trust His love over your feelings. As good as your happy is, God’s best is unimaginably better.


Don’t just be happy, be well & the right kind of happy will follow.

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