God is Teaching Me About… Circumstantial Happiness

From giving Him my all to giving up control, join me this week as I share some things God has been teaching me lately.


Circumstantial Happiness


“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

Philippians 4:12, NIV


Throughout most of my life, I’ve struggled with what I call circumstantial happiness. I’ve been happy a lot of the time. But things have gone well a lot of the time, too. And when those circumstances came along that weren’t so great, I became anxious, discontent, or grumpy. For the most part, this is our sinful human nature (or maybe I’m just trying to make myself feel better).

When I became a Christian, I didn’t suddenly become someone who could look past dire circumstances and have a rosy outlook because I rested in Christ. I wanted it to be that way. I sang the hymn, He Leadeth Me, and desperately wanted to be “content, whatever lot I see,” as the lyrics say. Alas, I’ve always been more of a “murmur and repine” gal.

Recently, though, I’ve noticed a basic level of happiness and contentment that’s present in my life, even when circumstances aren’t particularly going my way. It feels much better when I don’t allow circumstances to give me mood whiplash. I hope it’s a positive trend. I know there will be discouraging times in the future and God doesn’t promise us a life without painful circumstances. However, God does promise to lead us through the difficult times (see Deuteronomy 31:8, Isaiah 43:2, John 14:15-17).

I believe it’s possible to have an inner contentment, even during the tough times. God gives us peace that resides in us regardless of circumstances. I see God’s fingerprints all over this gradual change in my attitude. It has opened up room for a deeper relationship with my heavenly Father, one where I can be centered on God and truly appreciate how Joseph H. Gilmore wrote such beautiful words:

Lord, I would place my hand in Thine,

Nor ever murmur nor repine;
Content, whatever lot I see,
Since ’tis my God that leadeth me.  

(He Leadeth Me, Joseph H. Gilmore, 1862, Copyright: Public Domain)

Humbly learning these lessons,


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