Often, I notice in myself and others that we have a tendency to sabotage our own happiness. The expression that “We are our own worst enemy is so true.”
We don’t feel that we deserve to be happy and the way we think about ourselves prevents us from receiving God’s blessings. We’re not even sure that God wants us to be happy, because subconsciously we don’t feel like we are worthy.
Many times it has to do with how we were raised. We don’t realize it but often we are dealing with strongholds that have been passed down from generation to generation. We have blueprints that have been imprinted upon our minds from childhood.
If you grew up in an environment where it wasn’t safe to express your wants or needs, you will begin to believe you really don’t deserve anything good. If you were constantly criticized, you will struggle to feel good about yourself.
It can feel safer staying stuck in our uncomfortable old patterns than to rock the boat and feel good about ourselves. So when life is going well, almost to well, we will sometimes subconsciously sabotage our happiness.
This will show up in different ways. For example, feeling guilty about looking too nice or enjoying a particular activity.
When going through my closet to de-clutter, I often find great tops that I wore once or maybe twice as I waited for the right occasion when I could wear them without feeling like it’s too much.
It’s not about the clothes being over-the-top or the activity being too much fun, the problem is the way you feel about yourself.
This is often due to the strongholds that we have in our mind. When we are having too much fun, fear creeps in and says you don’t deserve it or that something will go wrong.
Yet this is not what God desires for us. Isaiah prophesied that God wants to give us a “crown of beauty.” Yes the Lord wants us to look good. He also wants to give us the “oil of joy” and a “garment of praise.”
“and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.” (Isaiah 61:3 NIV)
Though this is what God desires for us, we have to be willing to receive it. But many times we don’t believe we deserve it.
We find comfort in our ashes, mourning and despair, and this can be the biggest reason why we don’t embrace all that God has for us.
The Apostle Paul wrote:
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; (2 Corinthians 10:3-5 KJ)
God wants to pull down the strongholds that control us. Notice in verse 5 that God wants to “cast down imaginations,” this is a reference to the way we think. These imaginations are contrary to the knowledge of God or the truth of what the Lord desires for us.
There strongholds of “bad thinking” prevent us from receiving what God has for us. The first step in changing this is acknowledging that this is our mindset and start believing that God wants good things for us.