Recently I came across an article entitled How to be Happy at Work by Geoffrey James on Inc.com. I have no idea why I clicked on the link, because usually I don’t. I guess the title was a good one.
So was the article. It claimed that being unhappy is a choice and described a guy who was always miserable because everything mattered to him. The only time he was happy was when he won a million dollar account — which happened once a year. The rest of the time everything irritated him, and the reason he was always irritated was because he had all these rules. Or maybe just one rule, which was that for him to be happy everything had to go his way.
Or, put another way, if everything didn’t go his way he was bent out of shape. To be happy he had to win the million dollar account.
That resonated. That’s me. Well, minus the million dollar account. Maybe not “everything” has to go my way, but if a certain number of things don’t, I’m going to be upset. Mad, sad or bad, is the phrase I’m using.
When Quigley lags on the path, I get irritated, because my plan is to walk smoothly with no hitches, get the walk done so I can get on to the next thing. Also, he’s the dog and he should obey me and if he doesn’t I will get irritated because he’s not following the Rule. Finally, it starts to make my back hurt to have to keep pulling on him, and that makes me irritated too, because another Rule is that the dog should not make your back hurt.
Once I started looking out for this sort of thinking, I found it in way too many places. 😳
Going back to the article, another guy in the office was asked what made him miserable, and he said not much. What made him happy?
“Another day above ground is good,” he said.
What an attitude! This has such applications to doctrine. Another day of grace. Another day to bring glory to God. Another day to see Him work and get to know Him, and have opportunity to trust Him and thus bring glory to Him. It all has to do with choosing what your Rules are going to be.
So yeah, I have a million idiotic little rules I didn’t even know I had, and just now I came upon another one. Not only must things in my periphery do the right things and “go right,” but I must do the right things as well. I must follow the plan I have devised for myself, even if it doesn’t make sense. Even if conditions beyond my control have warped it enough that it can’t even be done any more.
And in this morning’s Sunday message, Pastor Farley cast a whole new light on this business with the rules: it’s thinking born of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
It’s thinking in terms of what is good and what is evil, what is right and what is wrong. You’re constantly seeking in your own power to determine what is right about your periphery, your actions, your viewpoint and what is wrong; you’re wanting a law that you can live by, and if you can just abide by the rules, everything will be wonderful.
The Happy at Work article advised us to make new rules. So when something happens — like you get to the store and realize you forgot something and will have to return home — instead of getting all upset, realize you’ve made a rule about how things are to be and change it. So what’s the big deal about returning home — in my case a 5 minute drive? Why is that worth getting all angry at myself? You just go home, get whatever you forgot and return. Why is that such an awful thing?
Well, I can’t think why that’s such an awful thing — at least in my life. And I’ve started to catch myself in this thinking, and realizing how absurd it is. It really is a matter of choice and for believers in Christ, whose lives are supposed to be in Christ, whose God has ordered our days and allowed every detail that appears in them, it makes even less sense to go about in bondage to a million silly little rules…
And then Pastor Farley, took it a step further. But that’s a post for another day…