You’ve never met a woman quite like the one & only Alli Worthington. She’s vivacious, a flaming match, like a bit of light contained, and you can’t help but absolutely love her and want more of her brilliance. Alli and I go way back…she was one of my first friends & biggest encouragers in this out-of-the-way corner of the internet. Alli is a dear friend who bears the scars of battle. She knows the fight for our faith and the fight for our freedom well. God placed the word “happy” on her heart after a long season of battling fear that led her on an amazing journey of discovering God’s desire for us to live a life of holy happiness in Him. It’s a grace to welcome Alli to the farm’s front porch today…
Growing up, I remember being told that joy was spelled, “J-O-Y”— Jesus, others, and you.
It was supposed to be a reminder that joy comes from having the right priorities, and that’s certainly true.
But it seemed as if joy were always pitted against happiness.
While joy was godly and spiritual, happiness was shallow and selfish.
But as I kept walking with Jesus, I came to understand that seeking to follow God and seeking to be happy weren’t mutually exclusive.
I used to believe the search for happiness was a superficial pursuit, that happiness and holiness have nothing to do with each other.
But now I see that they go hand in hand.
This work of seeking authentic happiness is important, and it is holy. As we seek after the things that create real happiness in us, we find God. And when we live the life God has created us to live, securely and obediently trusting Him in all areas, we are happier.
As I pursued this topic of holy happiness, I learned that the concept that happiness is fleeting and of the world, and joy is somehow more holy, is an idea that only became popular a little over a hundred years ago. All throughout church history this concept was unknown until very recently.
There’s nothing in the Bible that separates the concept of joy and happiness. They have the same meaning according to the original languages of Scripture. So many of the words our English bibles use like ‘delight,’ ‘joy’, and ‘gladness’ are actually synonyms for the original Hebrew and Greek words that mean happiness.
God tells us repeatedly to be happy in Scripture. Commands such as “rejoice,” “be of good cheer,” “do not be afraid,” “give thanks,” these are all ways of telling us to be happy!
Our happiness (and our joy) are tied to what we desire most. We go off-track seeking happiness when we try to find it in things of this world.But when we desire to find our happiness in God, we access a well of joy that won’t run dry.
Scripture tells us, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). I used to think that meant God would give me whatever I wanted if I seemed happy enough to Him. Now I’ve come to see that when my happiness is placed securely in God, He will be the desire of my heart.
And when He’s the desire of my heart, my happiness isn’t going anywhere.
God designed us to seek happiness in Him and to want to have the source of our happiness be in Him. As John Piper said, “God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in him.”
I discovered that by adding in small, simple habits in my day I became a little happier every day.
Here are three things that will build your happiness:
- Focus on Gratitude
At the end of the day, I ask my boys what their three wins for the day are. I ask them in this way because when I tried to ask my sons what they were grateful each day, they looked at me like I had three heads.
But when I ask them what their wins are I trick them into practicing the discipline of gratitude with me! By looking for the wins, they are identifying the things that are good, and those are the things they are grateful for!
This is a practice of gratitude is not just for the boys, but for their momma, too!
- Find your Battle Buddies
A friend told me that in the Army they have something called battle buddies. A battle buddy is someone who supports you and looks out for you in and out of battle.
Don’t we all need a couple of great battle buddies on our journey with us?
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17) Just as a blacksmith will use metal on metal to form it for its intended purpose, God will use certain people in our lives to sharpen and mold us into who he is making us to be.
Identify your battle buddies who look out for you, encourage you, and are there for you when life looks more like a battlefield than we’d like!
- Talk to yourself in a manner worthy of you
Jesus says our mouths speak from the overflow of our hearts. If we truly believe we are His workmanship and are loved by our Father, our words will reflect that truth, both to ourselves and others.
The Lord has done a great work in you. Don’t let your own mouth be a tool that the enemy can use against you to steal your happiness and confidence. You are fearfully and wonderfully made-created in God’s image!
Make a promise to God and to yourself that you will only speak to yourself in a manner worthy of you.
As women of God, let’s be the ones who do the Kingdom work of fighting for authentic, holy happiness and teach our families, our friends, and our communities by our example.
Alli Worthington co-founded multiple companies and has helped individuals, small business owners, and Fortune 500 companies be more successful. Alli’s no-nonsense, guilt-free take on business, family, and balance lead to appearances on The Today Show and Good Morning America. You can tune in every week to her podcast, The Alli Worthington Show. She is the author of Fierce Faith: A Woman’s Guide to Fighting Fear, Wrestling Worry and Overcoming Anxiety and Breaking Busy: Finding Peace and Purpose in a World of Crazy.
Alli Worthington gets it. As a wife, mother of five boys, author, speaker, and entrepreneur, she knows a thing or two about being busy, stressed, and happy in the midst of a crazy world! Over the years, she’s seen how happiness gets a bad rap in Christian circles, and now she is standing up to shout the good news from the roof (or the internet, as the case may be): You are allowed to be happy! Yes, you! You can be happy right now!
Join Alli for The Year of Living Happy: Finding Contentment and Connection in a Crazy World and find the roots of your happiest life yet! With 100 inspirational devotions, beautiful art, and journaling pages throughout, this gorgeous devotional offers practical ways to make your life happier day by day.
When you order your copy of The Year of Living Happy, you will receive a free 30 Days of Happiness guided journal experience and access to her free training – Happier Every Day: 10 Simple Things That Will Make Your Life a Little Happier Every Day. Click here for more info.
[ Our humble thanks to Zondervan for their partnership in today’s devotion ]