I don’t know about everyone out there but I know the struggle I have with happiness – that it isn’t okay. I have heard for years that it is about being joyful instead of happy. The joy of The Lord is our strength. And this is so very true! When we know that we have made the choice to keep the Lord as LORD in every part of our lives then we can be joyful because He is in control, not us! That is amazing because we don’t have to worry about keeping anything up because we didn’t start it. Praise God for He keeps us!
But beyond this amazing and praise inducing statement, there was the idea that happiness is fleeting and therefore not necessary. Which is honestly truly miserable. “Well the Lord is In control so I don’t have to worry but I can’t be happy about it either” I can totally see why when that message is presented it isn’t entirely appealing.
In my own life, I LOVE the Lord. My life is centered around Him but I was so miserable because I felt like I wasn’t allowed to be happy. “God isn’t a feeling” “it isn’t about being happy, it’s about doing the Lord’s work” “happiness is momentary while joy is everlasting”
So in all these sentiments preached by so many voices, I was miserable. I had become the miserable Christian that I claimed I couldn’t understand. How they could be miserable with Jesus in their life? And yet here I was…bitter, cynical, judgemental, and faking my smile and laughter so well I almost fooled myself.
I can’t fool God though, and neither can you.
God exposed my bitterness root that had sprung up about so many things in my life and the different plants it was sprouting. Doubt in God’s faithfulness, hopelessness, cynicism, judging people based on their double standards, and a servant mentality instead of a daughter mentality. All these weeds or plants that choke out thriving plants.
He showed me how far it had spread. He showed me that He wanted to take it away and REPLACE it with his roots. So I began to look up the opposite of bitterness and came upon sweetness, contentment delight, and happiness.
At happiness I wept. Because once the problem was exposed it also showed what had been missing from me. Not my behavior but IN ME! I was not happy. But by the empowering grace of God I can be happy instead of bitter! I can be content instead of cynical! I can be delighted in my circumstances and situations instead of doubtful that they will ever change!
He wants to take our bitterness away and REPLACE it with Happiness! That and the sweetness of His love! Psalm 34:8, Psalm 119:103, Provebs 24:13 all describe the sweetness of the Lord! He wants that to be the root that grows in the garden of your heart, not the root of bitterness.
Happiness is okay to feel! It is biblical to say I am happy! Psalm 144:15 Happy are the people who are in such a state; happy are the people whose God is Lord! Psalm 146:5 Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose help is in the Lord His God!
When we keep God as the center of our lives, keep our hope in Him, look for our help in God only, then we can be both joyful AND happy!
Happiness is okay! Happiness is meant for us!
If you’re one of those people who needs permission (I am) then let me help you.
You have permission from God to be happy! You are allowed to enjoy life!
If you only see the parts you think you’re missing, I encourage you to look at the Shunamite women in 2 Kings 4:8-34. She has no son and yet she lavishes love and hospitality on Elisha because she found that she enjoyed the presence of God that the prophet brought with him. She found happiness in the midst of otherwise hopeless circumstances and you can too. I can too.
I am happy because the Lord wants me to be happy. My circumstances may not change. My situations may stay the same. But Jesus wants me to be happy in the midst of the trial. Lord replace our roots of bitterness with your garden of Happiness and sweetness and contentment!