I was recently talking with a friend. It was obvious to me that she was upset, and I began to see if it was something she felt like talking about.
“I can tell you’re upset,” I said. “What would make you happy right now?”
She seemed to ponder, and then her answer took me a little by surprise.
“It would make me happy if he was happy,” she answered.
I looked at her long and hard, finally replying, “You can’t put that on yourself. You can’t be responsible for the happiness of someone else. That’s on them.”
It was true. Her narrow shoulders could only handle so much weight, but I knew this was a burden many of us carried in our relationships.
If I was a better wife he wouldn’t have cheated.
If I was a better mother she wouldn’t have started using drugs.
If I was a better friend she wouldn’t have tried to kill herself.
If I was a better daughter maybe mom wouldn’t drink so much.
Or maybe dad wouldn’t have left.
If I can be a more attentive girlfriend maybe things will get better.
And on, and on, and on.
So many of us take the responsibility of others happiness, but the fact is we have no control over most situations at all. You can’t make the drug addict stop shooting up, and you can’t make someone stay who wants to go. You can’t cure depression with cookies, or think if you can only be a better ______ that the person you love so much will suddenly be happy, or healed, or even thankful of your efforts. The truth is they have their own thing going on, and you can’t carry the burden of their life and your own.
When it comes right down to it we are all children of a mighty Creator who loves us dearly, and who created us with a yearning to share with Him in that love relationship. A large majority of us don’t enter into that open door, so then we’re left feeling empty. We have an empty hole in our soul, and only Jesus can fill it. Most of us don’t even realize that’s what we need, but it is. And when you consider that you’ll realize that you can never fill that hole for someone else.
More importantly, they can never fill it for you.
So while we cannot allow ourselves to be wholly responsible for someone else’s fulfillment and happiness in life, we too cannot let our happiness rest on another human being. You gotta fill yourself up with the Holy Spirit, or nothing else quite fits right.
My husband does not complete me. He compliments an already happy soul.
My children aren’t my reason for breathing. They just make the air I breathe more pleasant with their presence.
My job doesn’t define me. It’s simply a place where I can pour out what God pours in.
My happiness doesn’t rest on my relationships. My joy if found in the Lord.
I told my friend, “You cannot make someone happy all on your own. You can love them, pray for them, and show them that you care. But only God can fix some things.”