How Miserable Are You? — Are You Happy?

The world seeks happiness. Recently I saw a wife, who was pursuing a divorce. She lounged on a chair with a drink.
The caption was “my happy place.” It was not in her house.
Where were her children or husband? 
Not there.
I cried. 
By excluding them from her life, she became happy. How?
This was a “Christian.”
How do Christians get to that point?

We’ve been talking about taking every thought captive to the will of God, by saturating our minds with His Word, and not allowing our self-talk to tell us lies. (See: Who Are You Watching?, What Were You Thinking? )
I’ve recommended the book, Telling Yourself the Truth, by William Backus and Marie Chaplian. They deal with lies we tell ourselves.
One is our happiness. 
When we are not happy, we blame our spouse or family. 
We create in our minds how awful or destructive they are to our happiness. 
Soon we justify divorce. After all, shouldn’t we be happy? Don't we deserve it?

One of the authors’ final chapters presented a moving illustration that shows how Christians can find happiness in spite of dire circumstances. I’ve included it in its entirety as motivation for you to get the book, read it and work through your lies you tell yourself.

During the years when World War II was raging in Europe, the small villages of Yugoslavia were hard hit with bombs, gun-fire, reprisals, and hardships of every kind. The Nazis dropped bombs from overhead, the Partisan army fired the guns, the Italians fired the guns, the Ustase army fired the guns, the Cetniks fired the guns­—the villagers hardly knew which flag to wave when soldiers marched down their battleworn roads. But there was one family by the name of Kovac who clung to their faith in God even though it looked as though the whole world was going to pieces. Death and destruction were everywhere with no end in sight.

Jozeca Kovac was a young wife and mother who had made a commitment to Jesus with her whole heart, and she and her husband gave their lives to Him for better or worse. It certainly looked as though this war was the worst, even worse than the one preceding, World War I. One day Jozeca was thrown into jail with several other women. The following is a portion from the book about the Kovac family, Of Whom the World Was Not Worthy:

“The cells, which were hardly big enough for one person, held eight women in each. There were two pallets to sleep on and two blankets. There was a drain in the middle of the floor and one window near the ceiling with bars across it.
‘I shall not shed another tear,’ she vowed, and she kept that vow for the next thirty days spent in that cell.
They received their first meal the next afternoon. The guard threw it on the floor by the drain which also served as their toilet. The pot of gray liquid had fish scales floating in it.
‘Ah, stew!’ exclaimed Jozeca. ‘Come on, girls, let us eat.’
But the smell was so pungent they could not lift the cup to the chin without wincing.
‘Rotten fish!’ one of the girls wept. ‘They are feeding us rotten fish!’
‘Do they call this food! This is food for the pigs!’
‘It is garbage.’
Jozeca’s eyes flashed. ‘And we will get down on our knees and thank God for it!’

Jozeca held the cup in front of her mouth and kissed it. ‘Thank you, Lord,’ she prayed, ‘for this food which will keep us alive.’ The others got on their knees also and they ate the stinking soup without another word.”

Later Jozeca prays and tells the girls that the Holy Book says if God’s people will obey His commandments and follow His ways, He will pour out His blessings upon them. A thin, gray-haired woman winces angrily, 
“What means this, 
blessing? She asks incredulously.
Jozeca answers with assurance, ‘Why, to know Him,’ she says, ‘There is only one blessing—the blessing of knowing Him!’

Jozeca’s joy did not depend on happy circumstances, did not depend upon the approval of others, did not depend upon pleasant surroundings, comfort, personal advantages, salubrious conditions or even answered prayer!
Happy is something you teach yourself to be.
You teach yourself to be happy no matter what circumstances, events or situations you face. (pp. 181-183)

The words you tell yourself have power over your life.
If you tell yourself something often enough, you believe it.
Those lies become a conviction.
That’s why Jesus tells us His truth will make you free.
We must know the truth. And tell it to ourselves often.
This is not positive thinking—I can be strong, I can do it…
Positive thinking is all about me, to the exclusion of God.
It’s another lie that keeps us in bondage.
I’ve written about being strong enough. What if you aren’t? (See Are You Strong Enough?)
Who is strong enough for all that the world can throw at you?
You aren’t. No one is.

But we do not crumble and cave into the world because of our inadequacies.
We have a God Who promised to be our strength and redeemer.
We must identify our lies, replace them with the truth of the Word and repeat that truth to ourselves as if that is all we have to live for—for it is. 

God’s truth does give us the power to live a happy life. And keeps us from being the miserable people we would be otherwise!

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I write about what you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what Him.
               Sonya Contreras

Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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