Unhappy? What's Next?
There seem to be themes to my conversations. Maybe I'm just tuned into different emotions at different times of my life. But over the past weeks, I've heard about and from people who are unhappy. The reasons vary and are the same. Things are not turning out the right way, or as they expected. Things are taking twists and turns due to the economy, relationships, health, and job satisfaction. People have disappointed them. Institutions have been both overly demanding and under supportive. Leaders let them down and co-workers bailed. I've heard from single people, long married people, fairly newly married people, retired people, wealthy people and poor people.
The question I'm beginning to ask more deeply (of myself and others) is, who is responsible for your happiness? Can a spouse or job or friend or church be saddled with making a person happy? Will a sports team (Lakers for California), purchased item, anticipated trip or vacation, or anything else actually be given the power by you to make you happy or sad? Isn't that both unrealistic and dangerous?
Can anyone but me be responsible for my happiness? Can I blame Martha (my wife) if I'm unhappy? Can I actually blame the weather or geography for happiness or sadness? Isn't that relinquishing a responsibility that belongs to me and God? Years ago Martha had an older student who was wise in the ways of life. After suffering much of her own self-destructive behavior she became a believer and became wise. When anyone began to intrude into her inner life, she would hold up her hand like a policeman at a stop sign and say "I will not receive that!" and walk away. She was in charge of her happiness.