I’ve been in a slump lately. Sometimes I just start going through the motions of life and don’t really care about any of the excitement and beauty that God has blessed me with. I start looking at others’ lives and I get jealous of how good they have it. Other people seem to be much happier than me (this thinking is a result of social media. The superficiality of social media drives me insane because people often live a totally different life than what they portray on Instagram or facebook …but that’s a rant for another time).
My mind is usually stuck in the “I’ll be happy when” position:
- I’ll be happy when I graduate college.
- I’ll be happy when I get my next paycheck.
- I’ll be happy when I get married.
- I’ll be happy when the weekend gets here.
or the big one….
- I’ll be happy when my life begins.
This is exactly how to be unhappy. I won’t be happy when I reach these things, because I’ll start looking for the next thing to make me happy. I’ll constantly be looking for momentary fulfilment. We can’t wait around to be happy. Paul tells us in Philippians 4:11-13, to be content with our lives right now.
“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil 4:11-13
This means that you can find joy in every situation, no matter where you are or what you have. Contentment and joy come from God alone, not money or clothes or success.
Unhappy people wait for the future and worry about it. They look at what others have and wish they had it too. They live in the past or the future, not in the present. I heard a pretty smart friend recently say, “life doesn’t happen in the future, it happens now”. We have no proof that tomorrow will actually exist, so why not be happy with the moment we are in right now? Unhappy people don’t enjoy the things that God has blessed them with in this moment. Unhappy people are constantly wanting more.
Being content doesn’t have anything to do with your life, but it has everything to do with the joy that God has placed within your heart. They say to count your blessings, and although this is a cliche, it couldn’t be more important to finding joy in your life. Usually, making a mental list of my blessings is the best way to pull me back out of my “slump”. We need to be counting our blessings, not someone else’s.
“Contentment does not mean that I desire nothing, but rather, it’s the simple decision to be happy with what I have.” –Paula Rollo
I know how to be unhappy. I know how to want for more and to never feel satisfied. I know what it feels like to wait around for happiness. What I want to learn is how to find joy in the circumstance I’m currently in, with the people I’m surrounded with, and with the things I have (and when I say things, I don’t necessarily mean material possessions).
I pray that God will teach me to enjoy His blessings and focus on the things I do have, instead of the things I don’t. Contentment is a constant attitude, and I pray that God will work on my heart and teach me to find joy everyday.