“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
If I were to write a transcript from what women have shared with me over the last four-years, it would read something like this;
“What is my purpose? Why am I often unhappy? How do I find the answers, unscramble the confusion and discover the secret to real happiness? So much of my life is made up me feeling defeated in my goals, dissatisfied with my self-imposed limits and very frustrated with my lack of wisdom and understanding. What will enable me to see clearly what the world makes plainly unclear? Why can I know so much and yet understand so little of myself?”
Somehow, throughout our various generations and the changing times, for the most part, women have either lost their purpose, or have confused their purpose.
Without much thought, I could name ten reasons why none of us should be happy. Without much thought, anyone can name a reason not to be happy. Have you ever asked these questions? Are you truly happy with yourself and your life? Would you like the clear answers?
“For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” Psalm 30:5
Everyone wants to be happy. Jesus Christ wants you to be happy. No one wants to live a wasted, unhappy life. No one wants to be depressed. No one wants to be miserable. No one wants a nervous breakdown.
We can learn to open our spiritual ears. We can unlock the mystery behind real happiness and we can make a choice to turn away from our distress. We must never confuse long-term unhappiness with grieving over the poor-health or death of a loved one. There is a time for everything!
Jesus was just a few hours away from going to Calvary and preparing His disciples from the inevitable. In John 16 we read of Him preparing His disciples for their unavoidable sorrow. The reason for the world’s happiness during Christ’s death was the very reason for the disciples’ unhappiness. At times, our sorrow is unavoidable. There are circumstances that ARE out of our control, but what IS in our control, is the way we respond to our sorrow.
“Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness” Psalm 30:11
There are several profound statements that I purpose to use when I write; it’s reaffirming and perhaps for some women, a learning of those fundamentals for the very first time. Understanding the purpose of us coming into this world will turn our sorrow into joy.
Reasons we never get past our sorrow?
- Nurturing or giving attention to old wounds that were never allowed to heal properly - We cultivate problems and never let them go. It’s time for that sorrow to bring forth fruit. We need to deal with old wounds.
I learned of a young man who went to our preacher, Pastor Jack Schaap, at Hyles-Anderson College. He had no arms and no legs. He was asked, “How are you going to walk up and down the steps?” To which he replied, “I roll up the steps using my head and shoulders. My mouth is phenomenally talented and I never have to worry about buying, cleaning or walking in shoes”. Preacher called the boy’s pastor because he was concerned with his ability to cope in the college. The boy’s pastor replied – “He is the happiest human being I have ever met”
- Most of our afflictions are wrapped up in self-pity – I have had my share of pity-parties. Self- pity measures life experiences against personal desires rather than the spiritual truths. God is working on me and trying to do something in me and when I refuse to allow my sorrow to produce fruit, I push away my joy. Joy comes from inside no matter what’s happening to us. Wherever we go we have joy with us or, as with most women, the potential for joy. I want to bring joy wherever I go. This miserable sorrowful world brings not one ounce of lasting joy for me. There are unhappy customers, unhappy people, unhappy families’ – unhappy lives!
As a Christian, you CAN be happy - SO HOW?
Find God’s will and do it – None of us will ever be happy until we fulfill God’s purpose for our lives.
We need to get over it – whatever “it” is. If you encompass the same unhappiness you experienced ten years ago, wouldn’t you like to move on? All our wounds of sorrow turn into self- pity – wounds eventually heal (if you don’t keep adding salt). You can have joy!
I have embraced this philosophy for my life. I copied it from my Father; “Every bad thing that comes into my life is an opportunity for rejoicing.”
What keeps us from a life of joy?
There are many reasons in this life for us to be unhappy. There are many pressures, problems, disappointments, failures, struggles, trials, difficulties and losses that can all contribute to us being unhappy. We are the sum total of our thoughts!
Give up the grudge
Women are good at this one (no thanks to Eve). We so easily carry a chip on our shoulders for past hurts that have been rooted in PRIDE. Our grudge is a pride-problem. I ensure that I surrender this to God. Wouldn’t you rather run a marathon without the lead weights on your shoulders?
Surrender the struggles
Jesus Christ had to contest His deity. He tried so hard to get the Pharisees to accept Him. Have you noticed what’s around your personal world? Have you seen those miracles big and small? The Pharisees refused to see. Are you still refusing to see because of the scales on your eyes you wear in the form of self-pity?
LIFE IS BIGGER THAN OUR SORROW
I encourage you to find God’s will and do it. Get over those grudges, give birth to your sorrow and you will experience joy. Make peace. We have too much baloney going on. We will die of old age before we get over it. We are sabotaging our joy because we won’t deal with our sorrow. Perpetual sorrow magnifies sins and feeds our regret. We have failed God so many times and we have no idea how much God loves us. God’s mercies endure forever. We can’t sin beyond the mercies or the love of our gracious God. You can fail yet not be a failure. One person fails and continues to fail yet another fails and says, “I’m learning from my failure” - Build a foundation from the bricks people throw at you.
My God is greater than any sin. My God is greater than any addiction.
“Every one hates me, nobody loves me…" Yes, God loves you!
God’s mercies endure forever. You ask, “How can I overcome my depression?” Welcome to the Human Race. God says, “I know - and I have what you need to conquer your heavy spirit!”
So many women fail to see the purpose of their trials. There IS a purpose for the cross we bare – it’s not about us---IT’S ABOUT HIM!
“Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others” Philippians 2:4
I now look at all the trials that come my way as evidences that I am bothering someone in the kingdom of darkness. It bothers Satan when we succeed in God’s purpose. Paul was casting out demons; “And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.” Acts 19:14
Testing is your testimony. I’m going to make sure the devil knows who I am. I want to be an offense to him. “And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?” Acts 19:15 Here we see the demon actually talking back to those he did not know, then he beats them up.
“And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.” Acts 10:16
I expect difficulties to come. Our testimony is our crown of glory. Don’t let the judgement of another defeat your spirit. God gets involved therefore, we must make our sorrow grow and produce – be patient with your sadness.
I’m going to make sure that the Devil knows who I am.
The testimony of the Kingdom of Light is a threat to the testimony of the kingdom of darkness. He’ll go after you. I want to be a threat to him. I’m bullet proof; I have the Holy Ghost of God protecting me. I have Jesus' sword and the devil has nothing on me.
Self-pity is fueled when we allow the judgment of others to defeat our spirit. We must stop chasing rumors and go on living. We may experience disappointments from our children, irregular times that represent change in our lives, constant financial burdens, and continuous grief---but there is a solution. The secret to our happiness is found in one word
What great lessons have I learned through my own trials?
- Stop looking for happiness
“Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied” Proverbs 27:20
When we look for happiness we are being self-centered and self-absorption never leads to real happiness;
- Looking for money will never make you happy
- Looking for prestige will never make you happy
- Looking for power will never make you happy
- Looking for possessions will never make you happy
- Looking for position will never make you happy
- Looking for what the world has to offer will never make you happy
Solomon spent his life LOOKING for happiness. He gained great wealth and power; he had more beautiful women than his heart could desire. He was the wisest man in the world. He was famous. He was well respected however, did he find happiness by looking for it?
”The words of the Preacher, the son of David, King of Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?” Ecclesiastes 1:1-13
A self-centered or selfish person will never be a truly happy person.
The first step to real happiness is to STOP looking for happiness.
- Forget Your Need for Perceived Happiness
We are all selfish by nature. We always look out for No.1. The happiest people are those who forget their own personal need for happiness. In the Bible the word backslider is used once and it is used in the context of selfishness:
“The backslider in heart shall be filled with his OWN ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.” Proverbs 14:14
It’s not enough to stop looking for our own happiness. We must forget our own need for happiness. How can we forget our own need for happiness? WE MUST!
- Live Only To Make OTHERS Happy
“Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40
“We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.” Romans 15:1-3
As I have studied the lives of some of the greatest preachers, I have found one character trait; they were selfless men and THEY LIVED FOR OTHERS; they prayed for others, gave generously to others, wept for others, encouraged others, taught others, and helped others. They never considered their own needs. They were constantly looking out for others and they were genuinely happy. None had a nervous breakdown!
- As You Live For Others, You Will Stumble Upon Happiness
“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” Matthew 16:25
Happiness is like a Butterfly. The more you chase it directly – the more it eludes you. But, if you sit down quietly and turn your attention to other things, then it comes and softly sits on your shoulder.
Jesus’ whole life was to live for others. When He was dying on the cross, what did He think of? SELF? NO!
“When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.”
“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.”
“And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
Even his accusers said of him - “He saved OTHERS; himself he cannot save.” Matthew 27:42
God gets involved; our lives and our afflictions are divinely designed by God. There is sad commentary everywhere. Everyone has something to say or another solution to offer. If you don’t have the strength to work through your sorrow, don’t confuse your depression anymore with the world’s solutions.
We hang on, we hang on, and we hang on. Let it go---let it go---let it go! Our sorrow is always a seed that will bring forth joy if we follow these principles. Jesus Christ is the miracle worker!
The secrets to real happiness:
1. Stop looking for happiness
2. Forget your own need for happiness
3. Live only to make others happy
4. As you live for others, you will stumble upon happiness
Lord; help me live from day to day
In such a self-forgetful way.
That even when I kneel to pray
My prayer shall be for others
Let self be crucified and slain,
And buried deep and all in vain
May efforts be to rise again,
Unless to live for others
And when my work on earth is done,
And my new work in Heaven begun,
May I forget the crown I won
While thinking still of others
Others, Lord, yes others,
Let this my motto be
Help me to live for others
That I may live like Thee
There is always going to be a trial - There is always going to be a valley - There is always going to be a victory - with God!
The cross was Jesus’ goal all along. The cross redefines God as one who was willing to relinquish power for the sake of love. Legions of angels awaited his command. One word and the ordeal could end. As always, Jesus was thinking about others. He forgave the men who had done the deed. He arranged care for his mother. He welcomed a thief into paradise.
Just like Mary Magdalene, the Jesus I know changed history. And, just like He has changed history, He has changed me. No one who meets Jesus ever stays the same.
I Love You,