“Christians should always be happy. If you’re not, something’s obviously not right with your soul. You better change your attitude and put on a smile quick.”
This is an attitude I’ve occasionally seen in Christianity that needs to be transformed. I've personally felt the weight of this many times. Even if something is really bothering me, I feel this pressure to put on a happy face to the world- they can't see a Christian who isn't perfect and beautifully content! I've also thought this lack of unwavering happiness pointed to something that was wrong with me.
“What's going on? Why I do feel so dull? I shouldn’t be struggling with these thoughts. I should be automatically, overwhelmingly joyful, right? This shouldn’t be so
I get it. Sometimes the simplest things of daily life can make me giddy. Fog-pressed orbs of dew on the bare branches outside the library window. Blank fingernails and cuffed jeans. A small latte with too much milk foam.
But other days, I don’t even know what’s wrong. Something is agitated in my unmotivated soul. I feel distanced from God, even with my Bible lying open in front of me. My day is either too mundanely slow or too flustered and hectic.
I don’t think days like that can be avoided—not even for the most devout, exemplary Christians. Life gets messy. There’s no need to cover it up or berate yourself for feeling the effects.
So don’t look back on happier times and inwardly howl at yourself to “get it together already.” Don’t fake it through the day, smiling and blatantly lying to everyone who asks “how are you?” We weren’t made to be mindless and phony. Be honest with yourself, God, and others- and soon you'll probably find that people are more willing to open up to you as well.
Ultimately, though, God gives us something that holds together in hard circumstances- and something we can offer others when they're going through a bad day or a heartbreak. It isn't happiness. God doesn’t offer an ecstatic emotion with a guarantee of never fading. Rather, he offers us the deepest, most enduring truth, love, and patience that will hold quietly steady even through the worst circumstances. This is where we find our solace when we're less than happy. It's not a quick-fix solution to any situation, but it is an assurance that we have someone with us through everything. It is far more dependable and beautiful than happiness- and personally, I'm extremely grateful that I don't have to hang my hat on an emotion.
Hello! I'm Anna, a college student living in the Midwest. I'm a strong believer in uncontrollable laughter, powerful words, and a morning cup of coffee. I pray these posts will encourage you to live a full life with and for God: unhindered. Look forward to new posts every Monday morning!