“Well of course it is!” you might be saying incredulously. “What kind of a question is that?”
It’s an honest one. I know that there are reams of Bible verses about joy and rejoicing; some of them are even commands. So why, then, is there often a reluctance to jump off into outright happiness?
I don’t know about you, but I sometimes feel guilty about being happy around other people. I sometimes feel like to be a part of the conversation I need to have my share of woes to contribute. If I’m a chipper in my conversations, I feel brushed aside for not really understanding what life is all about it. That’s one reason I pause before entering into happiness.
Another inhibitor to a lighter spirit is ME. I find that if I simply allow myself the freedom to be happy in spite of my circumstances, it means I’m not fully invested in what’s going on or that I’m being naive about the seriousness of life: the level of my sorrow is an indicator of how much I care.
What is a heart to do? Persist in positivity no matter what vibes are given off by others? Laugh instead of cry when there’s the urge to do both? Jump off the cliff of melancholy into the sea of joy, ignoring all reasons for hesitation? It’s hard to make that leap at times; the conflicting emotions are real.
I wonder if that’s why God made it a command to rejoice: “Rejoice always…” “Count it all joy…” “In everything give thanks…” and we are even reminded of the benefits of happiness: “A cheerful heart is good medicine!” In those times when we step forward, then step back, then timidly step forward again, it is nice to have the authority of God’s Word behind us, urging us on and assuring us that, yes, it is, indeed, ok to be happy.