Oh, this is a big topic with much controversy.
To begin with, it is just a lie to say that the Christian life is one of constant happiness and good living - it is definitely not.
Jesus Himself said:
(33) These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
In this world YE SHALL HAVE TRIBULATION - it is not all going to be roses just because you are saved.
And as you read through the book of Acts in particular you see men suffering for Christ, not having good times.
So it is plain that the Christian life is not all smooth seas and plain sailing.
That is point 1.
Secondly, this world is perpetuating the lie that if you are unhappy there must be something wrong with you.
Think about this for a minute: if your dog dies, how would you expect to feel? You would expect some level of unhappiness over it.
That is absolutely fine - but the world makes it out as though only people with depression are unhappy, and if you are "depressed" or unhappy about something then you need to be treated.
Now the Lord does want us to be happy, and the Lord does want us to be joyful, but there are specific reasons to be joyful that are not necessarily related to our daily living.
By this I mean the Bible tells us to :
(4) Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
Note that it is rejoicing in the Lord - and it is just after this that Paul speaks about his contentment in all situations.
(11) Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
I doubt very much that Paul was "happy" when he was abased (in great need), but he was contented - there is a difference between being "happy" and having godly contentment.
And in fact this is one of the keys - godly contentment comes from knowing that God is in control, and that although he may allow hard things into your life, you know that:
(28) And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Understanding this - and it is not easy to come to terms with by the way - but understanding this fact allows you to rest in Him.
So it is absolutely OK to be unhappy when sad or hard things happen in your life, as long as you keep in mind that the Lord loves you (if you are saved), and:
1 Corinthians 10:13
(13) There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
There is another thing to keep in mind through all of this, and it is another thing that the world has totally wrong.
The world says you have have drugs to stop the bad thoughts.
(Note here that I am not saying that the drugs are always wrong - I am no medical professional, and do not have the knowledge or authority to advise about that specifically, but it is my opinion that drugs are way over-prescribed, and many of these people need nothing more than to be told they are normal and feeling like normal people should feel. Also, anyone currently on drugs should not stop without talking to their doctor, because some of these drugs will cause withdrawal symptoms that can be severe.)
The world says that you cannot help the way you think.
The bible says differently - very differently.
2 Corinthians 10:5-6
(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;
(6) And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
Notice here that we are told to "bring into captivity every thought" - now it specifically relates this to Christ, so this is not in our won strength, but why would the Lord command us to take our thoughts captive if it was not possible?
Casting down imaginations? That is putting our thoughts into their proper place.
The World says you cannot control your thoughts and in fact that your thoughts control you, but the Lord says you must take your thoughts CAPTIVE!
DO NOT BUY the lie that says that you cannot control your thoughts - God says you can and should.
And the best way to do that?
Lets go right back to one of the first passages I pointed to, but lets look at more of it:
(4) Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
(5) Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
(6) Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
(7) And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
(8) Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
(9) Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
Several things here:
Rejoice IN THE LORD, not in your troubles.
Moderation, not extremes, are the way of the Christian life - including moderation in emotions. Try not to go "really high and really low". The Christian life should be one of stability.
"Be careful for nothing" means don't worry about everything all the time - instead of worrying about everything, pray about it.
Do these three and the "peace of God" can be yours, because of what Christ has done for you.
But it doesn't stop there.
Paul adds a "finally" to it, and it is an amazing addition.
He lists a bunch of things and says to us at the end of verse 8 "think on these things".
This is again an indicator that we can control our thoughts, and we should control our thoughts, and we should specifically think about the things he lists in vs 8.
Things that are:
of good report
And the thing I like to remind people of is that the highest expression of truth, honesty, justice, purity, loveliness, good report, virtue, and praise, is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ.
Think about the wonderfulness of God and what He has done for you, and what He continues to do for you every day.
Now then, whilst always keeping in mind that Jesus Christ loves you in amazing ways, if you lose your job, or you get some bad news, you are allowed to be unhappy about it - but if the unhappiness begins to overwhelm you, then you need to bring those thoughts into captivity, and make yourself think about the things of the Lord.
Then you can be unhappy, and yet still rejoicing in the Lord.
God made us with emotions - the key is to control them, not allow them to control us.
Finally, the world loves us to think we are the only one and that everyone else "has it all together" - the truth is that people only see what we let them see.
the best illustration I can think of is the wife and mother, who when she hears that someone has been invited over, goes on a massive cleaning spree. When the guest comes over they look around and see the house spotless and perfectly organised, and they think to themselves "I wish my house was as neat and clean as this".
But the house isn't always as "neat and clean as this" - it is normally pretty good, and not a mess, but it only gets perfect when people come over - but the guests don't see that - they only see the specially prepared "neat and clean" not the normal. But when the roles are reversed and the hosts become the guests the same things happens, and each wife feels as though she is not as good as the other - but they each do a fine job normally, but a special effort for guests.
Depression is exactly the same - people look at each other and only see the outside that we want to show them, which looks like we have it all together - but inside is a different story.
Outside we want everyone to think we are doing fine, and that is what we show them, and that is what they see. What they don't see is the inside, which is probably very much like their own "inside" which they don't let others see.........
I hope all of this is clear.......