What makes you Happy?

Happiness isn’t as overrated as you might think.  Christians have given it a bad rap and have chosen to set their sights on joy.  Don’t get me wrong joy is great but there is much to be said about happiness also.

Do you know what makes you happy?

You might be wondering what’s the difference between joy and happiness anyway.

(pulling out dictionary)

Happiness and joy are both positive emotions which elicit pleasure, in fact they trigger the pleasure centres and reward pathways in our brain.  If you like me believe that God doesn’t make mistakes and that you are fearfully and wonderfully made then you will also accept that you were designed to feel happiness as well as joy.

So why is happiness frowned upon?

The reason why most Believers frown upon happiness is based on the fact that happiness is a fickle friend, it’s based on the presence of often earthly experiences however joy is much deeper, spiritual and internal emotion that doesn’t need anything particular to exist.

I like this quote by J.D. Salinger, the author of Catcher in the Rye: 

“The fact is always obvious much too late, but the most singular difference between happiness and joy is that happiness is a solid and joy a liquid.”

But if you understand the nature of happiness and don’t make the pursuit of it your be and end all there is absolutely nothing wrong with it at all.

Let me explain why.

Think of happiness and joy as two parts of the same feeling, that differ in value.  Happiness is at the lower end of the scale and joy at the higher end.  Where joy connects the soul to the spiritual, happiness connects the body to the soul.

what makes you happy?

A life without happiness is really a life without any joy at all.  In other words how can you truly experience joy and pleasure without experiencing happiness?

Many people have no idea what makes them happy, simple things that elicit pleasure like a favourite colour, song or dish.  Does it matter that these moments are only fleeting?  Should they be avoided because they are based on earthly delights and are temporary?

To say yes would mean that God surely wasted His time to create beauty at all or give us the capacity to appreciate beauty through our senses.  It would make this scripture and others like it a nonsense:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  Philippians 4:8

There is a lot of research showing the benefits of happiness, what I mean by this is the ability to take time to experience pleasure in the moment and even the smallest things of this earthly life – it’s good for your soul.  In fact the more you practice this appreciation of ‘all that is lovely, noble and pure’ the more you open yourself to delight in YHWH not neglecting or even forgetting to give Him praise for all he things He has created for our pleasure.

Yes, life can be hard and circumstances outside of our control.  Yes we should pursue the higher things that are eternal, but don’t forget to live in the moment and allow yourself to experience pleasure of the beauty both inside and around you – it’s there for a reason.

What makes you happy?

Isn’t it time to allow your body and soul to re-experience what it means to be happy?  It’s good for you, promise.

Sharing with you something that makes me really, really happy – praising and worshiping my Papa.  Come join me 😉

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  1. says

    Love this! I so agree! Happiness is a choice. Joy is deep and a fruit of the Holy Spirit. It’s something God provides even during difficulties.

  2. says

    Certainly then, “happiness” and “joy” comes from our enjoyment of some stimulus. When it comes to our spiritual lives, all of the above comes from God. Maybe that’s why my favorite verse in the New Testament is from John 10:10 in the Amplified Bible:

    “I came that they may have and enjoy life,” Jesus speaking to the “they”; that’s us–“and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).”
    Mel Thompson recently posted…BEING “SOLD OUT” to God’s Character in SONGMy Profile

    • says

      So true Mel, both of these emotions are pure when we realise the source and the Giver of the Good Gifts. When we take time to notice we can choose to enjoy the things that have been given to us for our benefit and pleasure.

  3. says

    I have always loved your writing Florence and today is no exception. Happiness is so good for the soul. We laugh when we are happy and a merry heart doeth good like medicine. God has blessed us so much with the simplicity of a happy heart and I am forever grateful, glad and happy!
    Jeannie Pallett recently posted…When the King BeckonsMy Profile

    • says

      That’s such a lovely and eloquent way to put it Jeannie – yes happiness and having a merry heart is so good for the soul and it does good just like medicine – ie. it heals.

  4. says

    Everyone wants to be happy, and I couldn’t agree more that happiness has great benefits. The only problem comes when we pursue it at all costs, and allow the moments when it is absent to color everything, even our faith in God. As we all know, difficulty, pain and sorrow rarely make us happy, but they are tools through which we can know God better. So as the verse from Philippians you quoted here reminds us… we must choose HOW we think about even painful things… then I suppose, we can even be happy when our circumstances don’t seem to warrant it. Thanks Florence!

    • says

      Hi Karen, thank you for your words, they are something to think about. My definition of happiness isn’t necessarily about hedonistic pleasure but more about being able to experience pleasure even in those hard and difficult times e.g. being able to appreciate the evening breeze or the song of a bird, or the smell of a rose – yes we go through trials but that doesn’t mean there is nothing to give us pleasure or happiness even within those time. 😀

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