How is it that we just cannot keep the people in our lives happy? I have spent many hours, weeks, months and years, trying to be the best person, wife, mother, friend, all in an attempt to keep the people in my life happy. Yet at the same time I also know that no matter how hard I try, how perfect I am…
I cannot make them happy.
This happens when we take on the responsibility for how our loved ones are experiencing life. We feel responsible for their happiness and take the responsibility for that happiness into our lives.
For example the happiness of our spouse – you and I both know that you can do all you want to make a spouse happy – but if they decide not to be happy, there is nothing that you can do about it. Another area is our parenting, we can teach and do all we can to raise good kids, but we have no control over the decisions they make and the actions they take in their lives. We parents often judge ourselves harshly and take on major guilt because of negative feedback from our adult children or the mistakes they make. When in truth, it is our responsibility to teach, to guide, to give input, all in an atmosphere of loving, well established home, but ultimately we have no control over their actions, for their decisions, for their feelings.
Here is a good principle to remember: if we have no control over a situation, a decision, an action, we cannot be held responsible for it.
NO Control, NO Responsibility
Rom 14:12 tells us that “each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.” We will not give account for the actions of our parents, spouse, children, friends, family etc. We will give an account of ONLY ourselves before God, because our own behaviour, attitudes and life decisions are what we can control.
So too, our loved ones, much as we would like it, will not be held responsible for our lives, how happy we felt, or the decision we made, or how our lives turned out. They have no control over that and cannot therefore be held responsible before God.
Each of us is responsible for our own lives and with that, our own happiness and experience of life.
WE hold the key to our own happiness and ONLY our own.
- Be responsible for your own happiness and stop trying to get other people to do this for you.
- Stop being responsible for the happiness of others. Give that responsibility back to them and don’t allow them to make you responsible for it again.
- Focus on that which you can control, that which you have the power to change. Your life, your decisions, your attitudes.
- Clarify responsibility. Your responsibility is to do certain things TO them (like teach, influence, guide, encourage, call up higher, build up, be kind, be gentle, love etc) and don’t take responsibility FOR what they do with that or how they may respond.
- Tell them to stop! If someone has decided that they know exactly what you need, to make you happy, and as a result try to talk, manipulate, influence and control you. Tell them to stop! It is only you and Jesus that have the right to direct and control your life.
Gal 1:10 “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.:
Our lives are about pleasing God, not pleasing men. If we spend our lives trying to please everyone around us, we will find that we are no longer serving Christ, but serving man. Our job is not to keep the people happy, that is something we cannot and may not do.
There is great satisfaction in trying to make people around us happy, it is an admirable quality and for many people is can be really satisfying. As long as one remembers that the responsibility to be happy falls on the people you are caring for and not yourself. Further, it is wise to remember that if you cannot control all things, like only God can, it is impossible to keep people happy. We are not to take on the responsibility for making sure people are happy. There is a big difference. Hope today has helped you.
Father, thank you that you love me and care for me. Thank you that in relationship with You, I can experience happiness. Help me not to become so focused on the happiness of people around me that I forget to live my own life right before You. Help me to surrender the happiness of my loved ones into Your hands so that You can work in their lives.
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