fragile happiness/tenacious happiness

Posted: July 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

Happiness that is conditioned on circumstance is a fragile thing.

It’s easy to get stuck in a place of conditional waiting:

I will be happy as soon as I get what I want, or what I think I need.

I will be happy as soon as I’m in a new location.

I will be happy as soon as I have “enough” (whatever THAT is!)

I will be happy as soon as a difficulty is lifted out of my life.

Or perhaps it is stated in an inverse fashion:

I can’t be happy until I understand what happened.

I can’t be happy until I have the answer.

I can’t be happy until someone apologizes, or returns, or admits I am right.

I can’t be as long as I am enduring pain, or inconvenience, or frustration.

There are problems with these conditions.

We get the thing we wanted or thought we needed so desperately, only to discover it does NOT heal our gaping wound. 

We arrive at the new location, only to discover the frustrating truth that “wherever you go, there you are” – in other words, all of the inner angst just changes addresses with us. 

We accumulate more and more, and never understand that there is no such thing as “enough” to fill the sucking vacuum within. 

The difficulty is lifted out of our life, and then a new difficulty steps in to replace the old one.

Our long-sought answer comes, and we suddenly see our own culpability – the blame doesn’t lie only on someone else..

We receive the apology we demanded, and we don’t believe it, or it feels like too little, too late – empty and unhelpful, a joyless victory.

The person we “needed” returns, and is not the fountain of joy that we thought they would be. 

The other party admits we were right, but a friendship is ended in the midst.

A source of pain is eliminated, and we discover that life is happy to continue supplying fresh sources of pain, frustration, and/or inconvenience.

As long as my happiness is conditioned on my circumstances, happiness will be elusive, fleeting, fragile.  I fail to find it, more often than not, and even when I do find it, soon enough it will slip out of my grasp again.

Tenacious happiness is a whole other deal. 

It involves trust that where I am is enough,for as long as is required. 

It includes a settled understanding that most hardships aren’t a “forever” deal – either the circumstance will change, or I will be changed to better fit it, and in the end, either way works. 

It necessarily contains my willingness to surrender control, or any illusion thereof. 

It is based on a CHOICE – one that no one can take from me, period.  

It grasps the truth that “my rights” are not the point of my story. 

It embraces unknowing, and discovers beautiful mysteries therein. 

It chooses peace rather than clutching the role of the victim. 

This kind of happiness is not cheap.  It often comes at a heavy price – the training of pain.  Such training is, in the end, a gift whose price is beyond measure.

If you’re being trained by pain right now, let me urge you:  give up any and all conditions for happiness.  Lean into the pain, lean into the experience, lean into God.  Know that He is working all things for good. 

No matter how much that seems not to be true. 

 

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