Dennis Prager writes, “We tend to think that it is being unhappy that leads people to complain, but it is truer to say that it is complaining that leads to people becoming unhappy. Become grateful and you will become a much happier person.”
When possible, we should take positive action to right what’s wrong. But when we complain about circumstances beyond our control, we’re telling God, “You don’t know what you’re doing; I know better than you.”
If you’ve recently faced a negative situation, write out a list of what you wish others had and hadn’t done for you. Use your list as a guideline to minister to those who need your wisdom and encouragement. Don’t grumble about others; instead, seek to change the primary life God has entrusted to you and the one you have some control over—your own.
I’ve heard many amazing stories of how hurting people have experienced love shown by God’s people. In hard times, Nanci and I have experienced the same. Imperfect as the local church is, we thank God for it, and our gratitude spills over into happiness.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18, NIV). Serving others is one of the best cures for loneliness and depression. “In humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4). Helen Keller wrote, “Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.” She also said, “Believe, when you are most unhappy, that there is something for you to do in the world. So long as you can sweeten another’s pain, life is not in vain.”
Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth says, “Undeniable guilt, plus undeserved grace, should equal unbridled gratitude.” Far too often, though, it’s our arrogance and ingratitude and complaining spirits that are unbridled. Consequently, our relationship with God and others is hindered and our happiness diminished.
Proud, presumptuous people always think they deserve better. If the day goes well, they don’t notice. If it doesn’t, it’s a great disappointment, and someone else is always to blame.
Good days pleasantly surprise the humble. Even on a difficult day, their hearts overflow with gratitude. They’re happy because they know they’ve received better than they deserve.
Excerpted from Randy’s book Happiness. Browse more resources on the topic of happiness, and see Randy’s related books.
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash