Happiness Is Overrated: How to have joy in every season
Article By Dianna Hobbs // Empowering Everyday Women Ministries
Posted May 24, 2017
Credit: Getty
Happiness is fragile and fleeting, but the joy of the Lord endures.

If someone asked you to think of the most joyous time in your life, your memory would automatically
go to a happy moment, right? Likely, everything in your world was going the way you wanted it to and
you felt at peace. It was a remarkable day, week, month or year.

But in our walk of faith, the most joyous times in our lives are not always the happiest. In fact, we can
tap into authentic joy in times of adversity, because our hope and well-being is found in Christ.

A couple summers ago, my husband Kenya and I took a brisk walk to get in some exercise. While we
worked out, we also enjoyed the scenery. I especially love admiring the beautiful landscaping work
around our neighborhood. The creativity that goes into perfectly manicuring hedges, planting colorful
flowers, and enriching the beauty of each property, always fascinates me.

I don’t have a green thumb, nor do I have the gift of landscaping, so I regularly admire those who do.
Well, anyway, the architecture of the homes, serenity of the tucked away streets, romanticism of the
low-hanging trees that look like a resort getaway in the middle of the walkway, arrest my attention.  

The wonder of nature, for me, is awe-inspiring.

As Kenya and I plowed ahead, increasing our heart rates and engaging our bodies in great
cardiovascular activity, we talked, laughed and had a good time.

That didn’t mean I didn’t feel exhausted at certain points. We weren’t taking a leisurely stroll; we were
on a mission. Through laughter and admiration of the view, I felt a few cramps stab me in the ribs and
grip my gut. Periodically, I noticed tightness in my legs and a bit of achiness in my shins.

But the pain in my body did not obliterate the pleasure of the moment and vice versa. They coexisted
together, dissonantly and harmoniously.

Isn’t that just the perfect metaphor for life? Pain and pleasure go hand-in-hand. In other words, good
and bad times often take up residency in our lives at the same time. It’s not an either-or scenario.

In one area, we may be experiencing beauty, bounty and balance. In another place in our lives, we
might be dealing with struggles, setbacks and situations that greatly challenge us.  

But who told us life would be easy? The key to surviving the ups and downs, the ebbs and flows of
life, is not allowing anything to steal your joy.

I did not say your happiness. I said your joy.

Unfortunately, people often mistake joy for happiness. And happiness is way overrated because it's
so fragile and fleeting. If times are good and everything is going well, those caught up in the
happiness cycle feel gleeful. But when times get rough, all their smiles turn upside down and they slip
into depression.

Who wants that?

Not me.

You see, happiness is rooted in the abundance of things we possess. When all our bills are paid;
when we get the raise on the job; when the relationship is going the way we want it to; when all our
children are on the right track; when our goals and dreams are being achieved; when we are in good
health; when our emotions feel balanced and stable; or when it’s not raining outside… we feel happy.

But what do we do when the bills aren’t paid, our relationships don’t work out and we don’t get what
we hoped for right away?

Well, if you’re one of the people caught up inside this flimsy web of false happiness, when it breaks,
your come-down will be very hard, super swift and extremely painful. That’s why the Bible doesn’t
encourage us to seek after happiness found in temporal things, but rather, to pursue divine joy.

The joy of the Lord has nothing to do with what’s outside of us, but everything to do with who is inside
of us. Whether rich or poor, sick or well, high or low, up or down, when we have true joy, despite all
the negative things around us, we yet have peace within our hearts.

What is authentic joy?

Nehemiah told the Israelites in Nehemiah 8:10, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.”

That word joy in this scripture is the Hebrew word “chedvah” (Pronounced khed-vaw') which means
rejoicing: – gladness, joy. The root of the word is Hebrew, chadah (khaw-daw’) which means to
rejoice: – make glad, be joined, rejoice.

The idea of being joined, that this Hebrew root introduces, shows us that the kind of joy this passage
is talking about is not manufactured or artificial. It can only be experienced when we are joined with
the Lord. This joy cannot be had apart from God.

Separation from him, disconnectedness from Jesus Christ, who calls Himself the “True Vine” in John
15, causes us to lose this joy. Therefore, if we hope to have authentic joy, we must stay connected to
the vine.

So then, the key to surviving the ups and downs, ebbs and flows of life, is to realize that your
contentment is in Christ.

Your attitude should be, let it rain. Let the storms come. Let the winds rage against me, because this
joy I have, the world didn’t give it to me. And since the world didn’t give it, the world can’t take it away.


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