Remember that old children’s song, If You’re Happy and You Know It? I think a lot of people today are unhappy and they know it. Have you ever wondered why? Here are three possible reasons.[clear]
- We want something we don’t have. This is kind of a no-brainer. Some people suffer from unhappiness because they lack something they want. On Sept. 11 the KC Chiefs played the San Diego Chargers. At one point in the game the Chiefs were getting slaughtered 24-3 and I reacted by feeling a bit glum. Later they turned things around and Chiefs fans were treated to one of their team’s greatest comebacks ever as they won in overtime 33-27. My glumness turned into happiness! Of course, this is a superficial example, but too often we let life’s circumstances dictate how we feel. You can actually decide to be filled with joy, even if your team loses.
- We are ignoring God’s rules for living. This is the biggest underlying cause of unhappiness. Our Maker gave us an “owner’s manual.” If we’ll just read it and follow his instructions, life will go so much better for us. When we don’t follow his “rules for happy living” he allows us to suffer the consequences, just as any good parent should do. What sin do you struggle with; what consequences are you suffering now because of that sin? Just think of how much happier you’d be if you quit thinking you should be in charge and start living by the owner’s manual.
- We focus too much on ourselves. Jesus said “It is more blessed to give than to receive” Acts 20:35. That verse in the YPV (Yeakley Paraphrase Version) reads, “You’ll be a lot happier if you’ll quit thinking of yourself all the time and start doing nice things for others.” Paul instructed us in Philippians 2:3-4: “In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others, too” (ERV).
If you’re unhappy and you know it, (1) start being grateful for what you have, (2) follow God’s rules for living, and (3) focus on others.