More and more, I see people—old and young—beginning to feel like they can't allow themselves to be happy, and it breaks my heart. God loves you more than you can know, and as Jesus said, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they might have life and have it abundantly" (John 10:10).
Jesus didn't promise that our lives would be easy, but He did create us for joy. The earth was ours to protect, defend, and enjoy. He made us beautiful and good, but we too often believe the lies that Satan and the world tell us. The world tells us that we are not good enough, that we lack something. That we are unworthy of happiness, love, or joy. Satan loves to take the things most beautiful and make us feel guilty for having them.
Sometimes, our unhappiness is not a direct spiritual attack but one of the results of a fallen world and an anxiety that lingers in our hearts. Some people do have a genuine, biological, irrational fear of happiness, and that is a psychological disorder that must be addressed from a psychological standpoint as well as a spiritual one.
But more often than not, it's our fallen nature being fed by Satan's lies. To combat these lies, we must remind ourselves of who we are. We go back to Scripture and find where God gives us our identity. We are God's children (Galatians 3:26), His Beloved (Colossians 3:12), the one Jesus came and died for (John 3:16; 1 John 3:16). The Psalms are full of beautiful songs that tell us who we are and who God is.
We have so much to be happy about—we are alive, we have the grace of God (if we ask for it; John 1:17; Titus 3:5; 2 Corinthians 5:21), we know the story of Salvation (John 3:16), we get to share that story, and we have so many other things. How could we not be joyful? Is our faith something that brings us joy or makes us sad? How can we claim to be Christians if we do not share the Joy of the Lord?
Have you heard of Mother Teresa? She was among the world's most famous and beloved religious humanitarians of the 20th century. But what a lot of people don't know about her is that she struggled a lot with being unable to feel Christ next to her. She knew He was, but she didn't always feel it. Yet regardless of that feeling, she was still one of the most genuinely joyful souls you would ever meet. She said, "Joy is prayer. Joy is strength. Joy is love. Joy is the net by which we catch souls." Paul alludes to this same truth when he says we should do everything with joy and prayer—not with anxiety or fear (Ephesians 5:19-20; Philippians 4:6-7).
I challenge you to do some soul searching. Remind yourself of who you are (God's child), of how much He loves you (enough to die for you), and what He hopes for you (eternal joy). Don't mistake temporary fun with happiness, but realize that God made you for a heavenly joy, for true happiness. Sorrows will come, yes, but you shouldn't be afraid of experiencing happiness. A great first step for when you feel this way is to remind Satan that God and you are in charge of your happiness—not him and not the world.
Brianna is a manager at her favorite childhood bookstore. She is likely to be found curled up with a book and her black cat, Bear, talking to a stranger, dancing outside in a thunderstorm, singing Disney songs while making cookies, or snuggling her best friend's baby while drinking coffee. Her heart is fueled by the desire to help people find their unique wings and use them in whatever capacity God has created them for. She is passionate about seeing and finding Christ in the secular world wherever she can.