The source of my unhappiness

Dayne Massey's picture

Proverbs 13:12 in the New King James version of the Bible says “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” I love the Message Bible’s version of this scripture. It says “unrelenting disappointment makes you heartsick.” We have all had them. Things that we thought would happen that never happened. In fact, the greatest source of pain in our life comes from expectations that we have that we never see come to pass.

In our nation today an estimated 55 percent of couples that marry will end up in divorce. More people walk away from jobs, relationships and even churches than ever before. I read a statistic that the average person will stay in a local church for only two years. We live in a society that seems to become more and more unhappy. What could the source of all this unhappiness be?

First, let me say that people that don’t know Jesus as Lord and Savior have a big reason to be miserable. They’re dead. They are separated from God because of their sin. Unless they come to God and receive the forgiveness that is in Christ, then misery is a part of their life. My focus in this article is not to solve all the world’s problems, but I do think I have stumbled on a major reason why people that are Christians are unhappy. It’s one word ... hope!

Hope is an internal picture of what you think the future will look like. When those hopes are deferred, the heart gets sick and life becomes an unhappy place. Let me give you an example. Has someone ever told you about a great restaurant that you should try, and you plan the event with great expectations, only to be let down by the service or the quality of food? That’s what Proverbs is talking about. Your hopes didn’t pan out so now you’re unhappy.

Millions of people end up in divorce for the same reason. They go into the marriage with a picture of what life will be like. Usually they are romantically intoxicated and haven’t even considered reality. When I counsel new couples, I tell them to take all their expectations about marriage, wrap them up in a piece of toilet paper, flush them down and they will go where they need to go. Seriously, people’s expectations are usually what make them unhappy.

What about church? People go to a church with an expectation of how people will treat them, how long the service will be, how loud the music will be, and so on. When their experience doesn’t match their expectations, they’re unhappy.

The same thing is true about people and God. Many people get saved and become a Christian thinking that all problems will go away, every prayer will get answered and God will rescue them out of every unpleasant circumstance. It’s not long before they become disillusioned and offended at the Master Himself. I meet people all the time that have the attitude that “life just dealt me a bad hand.” Nothing could be further from the truth, and here’s the good news ... you can change your unhappiness today.

When people and circumstances are the source of your happiness, then you have to become a subtle controller of people to get the happiness you need. It’s like an addict. You need a fix and you’ll do anything to get it — even leave!

Here are a few simple steps to help you release people and circumstances and allow God to be the source of your happiness. He is the God of hope!

First, release any unrealistic expectations that you are putting on people. Realize that if you are depending on people to make you happy, that is codependency. You are setting yourself up for failure.

Realize also that you see things entirely from your perspective, and that perspective may not always be right. When God is the source of your happiness, it’s amazing how other people tend to add happiness to you.

Forget about the way you think things need to be. As long as you continue to be dogmatic about it being a certain way, unhappiness is always your destination. Let God be your hope and trust Him to bring things to pass the way He thinks they need to be.

Second, Pray. Now that’s a novel idea, right? This should be the first thing we do, but it usually is the last. When your hopes and expectations aren’t coming to pass, ask God for understanding. James 1:5 says “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally.” Pray, and believe that He will answer you. Once you have prayed, cast the care of the situation over on Him according to 1 Peter 5:7.

If your expectations are the source of your unhappiness, your life can easily change today.

Dayne Massey is pastor of Gracepointe Church, 665 Ga. Hwy. 74 South in Peachtree City. Gracepointe is a non-denominational church with a vision to equip people to fulfill the destiny God has for them. The church’s website is For more information, call 770-631-9880 or email

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