It is not happy people who are thankful, it is thankful people who are happy. —Unknown
I recently saw that quote while browsing Facebook. I “liked” it immediately, but it’s been simmering inside of me since then, attempting to make its way into my heart. I haven’t been happy lately; I’ve been waiting for happiness to come.
I have every reason to be happy: My life is full of blessings, and I am a child of God. But I’ve found myself feeling discontent the last few months. My new husband and I are so busy. I suppose everyone is, but I don’t like it. Maybe I envisioned marriage as sitting around eating bonbons, never leaving each other’s company. Strangely enough, life’s craziness just keeps going, even with a ring on it.
And some days, I can’t seem to raise my thoughts above the “waves” of a duplex that needs fixing, figuring out new jobs, and never having enough time to do fun things. It’s a season, but I miss the down time, and I’m sick of being worn out.
These stresses cause me to feel unhappy, and my unbelieving brain seems to get stuck there. That’s why that Facebook post was a good reminder that thankfulness brings joy in the midst of trying circumstances. I’ve discovered that I can’t just be thankful, though. God doesn’t ask me to be fake and act as if I’m thankful when there’s a slimy bug squirming in my soup. I’m not going to fool anyone. But He does ask us me to trust Him.
I have a box on my desk at work with Scripture cards I can change out. The one that’s been sitting there this week is Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (NASB).
If that’s true, then this bug in my soup — or the thing I wish would just “go away” in my life — is actually doing something good that couldn’t have happened otherwise. I can’t explain it, but the Bible is clear that He uses uncomfortable situations to His glory.
Happiness — or even its more spiritual expression of joy — shouldn’t be our goal in life, but it is a great perk of a thankful heart. Being thankful for how my Heavenly Father cares for me, not only honors Him, but also reminds me of the many blessings in my life — a home to live in, a job, a husband.
And as I dwell on those things, it helps the more unhappy realities of life fade into the background. When I set my mind on being thankful for the things God has already done in my life, I may discover that I’m no longer waiting — happiness is here.
Melissa DeBruin lives in Colorado with husband, Aaron. They enjoy hiking, biking, and just generally being outside. Melissa works as an Administrative Assistant.