Others would describe me as “joyful,” and most times “happy.”
I would agree.
I am not “happy” because my life is always sunshine and rainbows. At times, it is quite the opposite. In the past six years, I have battled postpartum depression, lost two jobs (and as a result, my home and two cars), had my heart devastated by church and ministry, lost my mom to lung cancer, and wondered if I would ever amount to this bigger-than-life person God was calling me to be. I have not come by “happiness” easily.
But being “joyful” and “happy” are not the same thing. “Joy” is having peace despite the pain you are experiencing. God promises joy in our circumstances when we become followers of Christ. Bad things will happen to us, but we will have an internal stability that will steady us. It has nothing to do with feelings or emotions. “Happiness,” conversely, is the literal feeling you receive as a result of something good; something wonderful. It is a state of contentment and delight. The times you laugh to the point of tears and can’t help but smile- THAT is happiness.
Often when we should be experiencing happiness, we don’t. Sometimes when good things come our way, we sit back and wait for the bad to follow, never fully soaking up all the “happy.”
We lay aside our happiness for the worry of someday losing it.
Do you find yourself anxious about the good things? When you catch wind of something less-than-perfect on the horizon, do you throw your happiness out the window? We want to be happy- really, we do- but we are so scared of losing the things that make us happy that we never fully enjoy the gift itself.
We just bought a new home. My heart should be elated and filled with “happy!” Instead, I can see no further than the day we will have to move. That could be a year or decades from now, but I am letting that future possibility taint my happiness in the present. Oh, how quickly we turn a new position at work into sleepless nights and new friend into a burden. We are talented at transforming a blessing into a curse, aren’t we?
I know from experience that the heart of a woman has no extra space to warrant carrying worry in to each new blessing.
We need to receive what God gives us in the good times and enjoy it. We need to fill our spaces with beauty and bright light and sugary cupcakes, not worry and darkness and, God forbid, celery! Let GO of your bad expectations and embrace the promise that God has for you:
“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
– Matthew 7:11
He is the greatest gift giver and when he gives you the good stuff, he wants you to be happy! Happiness is a gift and we need to celebrate with a gracious and indulgent heart.
What are you experiencing right now that makes you happy? What is keeping you from enjoying it?
*Follow me on Twitter today @BelieveBoldly and join others in a chance to win a Target gift card… for temporary happiness, of course…