I have struggled throughout most of my 33 years with what I will label circumstantial happiness. Sure, I have been happy a lot of the time. But things have gone well a lot of the time, too. And when circumstances came along that weren’t so great, I became anxious, discontent, grumpy, etc. For the most part, I think this is our sinful human nature (or maybe I’m just trying to make myself feel better). When I became a Christian, however, I didn’t suddenly become someone who could look past dire circumstances and have a rosy outlook because I was resting in Christ. I wanted to be that way. I sang the hymn He Leadeth Me and desperately wanted to be “content, whatever lot I see,” as the lyrics say. Alas, I’ve always been more of a “murmur and repine” gal.
So recently, I find myself a bit amazed. I have noticed a basic level of happiness and contentment that is present in my life, even when circumstances aren’t particularly going my way. It feels much better when I do not allow circumstances to give me mood whiplash. And I hope that this is a positive trend that remains. I realize that there will be discouraging times in the future and that God doesn’t promise us a life without painful circumstances. However, God does promise to lead us through the difficult times (Deuteronomy 31:8, Isaiah 43:2, John 14:15-17). And I believe it’s possible to have an inner contentment during these times – a peace that resides in me regardless of circumstances.
I see God’s fingerprints all over this gradual change in my attitude. I’ve done some really hard work over the past two years to deal with my “stuff” – with the help of a Christian counselor who is truly one of God’s greatest miracles in my life. We have done a lot of work together to improve my self worth, to heal some pretty deep wounds, and to deal with my fears and anxieties. This healing has opened up room for a deeper relationship with my heavenly Father…one where I can be centered on God and can truly appreciate how Joseph H. Gilmore wrote such beautiful words:
Lord, I would place my hand in Thine,
Nor ever murmur nor repine;
Content, whatever lot I see,
Since ’tis my God that leadeth me.
2 responses to “Circumstantial Happiness”
I think that the sort of inner peace and joy you’re describing can only come from the Lord. The more we rest in Him, the more we can experience it.
It’s so nice to not ride the inevitable roller coaster of emotions that comes with the self-centered way of thinking I embraced before I knew Christ.
That is a great report my friend! I would like to think I have grown in this area as well, and it really has everything to do with constantly placing your eyes on Him, and receiving His love and grace no matter what is going on around you. I’m definitely learning that this week!