The Happy Trap

I can’t remember her name, but I can still picture her smile. She was a lady in my home church who sang in the choir. She seemed to have a perpetual smile on her face; so much so, that some obviously grumpy person in the church accused her of being too happy.

Is that even a thing?

It’s funny that I remember that woman and the general reaction to her demeanor all these years later. You see, I’m not like that — no happy, carefree smile pasted on my face. My mother would tell me the importance of smiling and the effects on my face. Sorry, Mom, it didn’t take.

Does that mean I’m not happy? No, but it’s not because I can’t smile. I can, and I do. It’s just because happiness isn’t that important to me.

20190515_131728Happiness comes and goes. It’s superficial and selfish in nature.

  • I’m happy when things go my way. I’m sad when they don’t.
  • I’m happy when I’m eating a meal I enjoy. I’m sad when I have to skip dessert.
  • I’m happy when my sons call me. I’m sad when they don’t.
  • I’m happy when I get a gift. I’m sad when people forget my birthday.

It’s impossible to stay perpetually happy, because of the nature of the emotion.

That’s why I prefer joy.

Joy is the deep, abiding delight that flows from a relationship with Christ. 

  • Joy is everlasting and constant.
  • Joy does not depend on circumstances.
  • Joy is about the other not self.
  • Joy is a fruit of the Spirit — something he instills in us.
  • Joy comes when we see God’s hand at work in others and creation.

When we experience the salvation of God through Christ, we are filled with both peace and joy. They go hand-in-hand, as sin is wiped away. It’s a clear sign of his favor.

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor, a lifetime.
Weeping may stay overnight, but there is joy in the morning.*

Circumstances can’t rob me of the joy I receive in Christ.

Beware of the trap of happiness the world seeks to offer — it’s a short-lived prize that leaves you unsatisfied and disappointed. Let the joy of the Lord be your strength, no matter the trials of this life, for there is still more to come!

Grace and Peace


*Psalm 30:5 (CSB)

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