How to be Happy | How to Be Joyful

I don’t believe this is an easy question to answer because it isn’t easy to simply BE happy and/or joyful. I’m also not a licensed guru or professional qualified to make all-knowing claims, which is not what I am doing. 

We had a guest pastor at our church yesterday who was so down-to-Earth and family oriented. His preaching was simple yet wise. 

His relationship with his daughters and wife (from what he shared) was a rollercoaster of positives and negatives – just like all of us. Yet, he shared bible inspired thoughts on How To Be Happy / How To Be Joyful – these are the top 10 tips.

I know you may not agree with the following…

While these two feelings (happiness and joy) are pleasant, I don’t believe they are the same thing.

I remember when I was in middle or high school, I would go to the Wednesday youth programs at church. One session consisted of us having a debate about these two feelings. (It’s amazing how we remember debates easier than a casual conversation!)

Some of us felt that joy and happiness were different, while others felt that they were synonyms. I don’t think there is a clear line between the two so if you feel contrary to me, I understand.

How I see it is that happiness is a time-sensitive pleasant satisfaction which can be triggered by something that happens (memory, seeing, touching, experiencing, being or going somewhere, etc.).

Joy is deeper, produced by the Holy Spirit, and is unshaken despite the circumstances around.

For me to come up with that definition, I went to the Source.

I read in Galatians 5:22-23 that

“the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”

Together with Isaiah 65:18, Romans 12:12 and James 1:2 (and many others!), I understood that joy has more depth than happiness.

            “Be glad; rejoice forever in my creation! And look! I will create. Jerusalem as a place of happiness.Her people will be a source of joy.

            “Rejoicein our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.”

            “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.”

The numbers don’t lie

People are searching more for happiness than joy.

Believe it or not, the questions how to be happy, how to be happy again, how to be happy in life, or how to be happy alone get close to 50,000 searches each month!

In comparison, the questions how to be joyful, how to be more joyful, how to be joyful no matter what, or how to become a joyful person get about 200 searches per month.

Can you imagine what would happen if instead of searching online for happiness, we would search the Scriptures for the true source of joy (aka Jesus Christ)?

I think it is expected that we won’t always be happy, but we can remain with a joy inside of us because we have a God who works for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

Flawed & Faithful - A Faith and Lifestyle Blog. 10 Tips on How to be happy | How to be joyful.

10 Tips on How to be Happy | How to be Joyful

Tip 1: Pray. Pray because…

It brings us closer to God, our Provider (of all things, especially happiness/joy. (Genesis 22:14)

He willingly listens and pays attention to our prayers! (Psalms 66:19; Jeremiah 29:12)

God never ignores our prayers! (Psalms 66:20)

And He delights in answering them, too (Psalms 118:21)! We have countless examples of God answering the prayers of many bible characters. (Rachel’s in Genesis 30:22; Elijah’s in 1 Kings 17:22; Hezekiah’s in 2 Chronicles 30:20; and many others!)

Jesus prayed (which is an example of what we should do). He prayed plenty of times to His Father (Luke 5:16; Hebrews 5:7). It helped Him draw closer to the Father.

He told us to pray (Luke 18:1).

Prayer is key during times of distress, fear, trouble and temptation. (James 5:13; Psalms 34:5-6; Matthew 6:41; Psalm 4:1)

True Prayer Warrior

Not sure if you’ve heard of Herry Mhando, but he is a preacher and evangelist who wakes up earlier than most and prays for HOURS. This man has brought thousands to the Lord. He takes no credit, but his continual dependence on Christ.

Q: How to be happy; How to be joyful?
A: Pray!

Tip 2: Laugh!

Laughter is contagious! According to many reliable health articles, laughter relieves stress. 

Also, the Bible says in Psalms 126:2 “We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy. And the other nations said, “What amazing things the Lord has done for them.””

See what’s going on here: not only did their own laughter bring about joy, but it also caused those around them to see the goodness of God in their lives.

Our joy should be contagious – we should be spreading God’s message with our joy. How will non-believers know about the good news of our Heavenly Father if we are not spreading His joy wherever we go? What, then, sets us apart from nonbelievers?

I think this is possibly the most shared verse in the Christian women community, but it furthers the point: “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31:25.

Q: How to be happy? How to be joyful?
A: Laugh plenty!

Tip 3: Express Love.

I understand that expressing love can be challenging when there is no love felt or received. God calls us to show love, especially to those who use you or mistreat you (Luke 6:28). 

I think the people that hurt us most are our closest, sometimes. They are the people who we live with or spend the most time with, such as a family member, best friend in school or at church, or a significant other. 

(The Bible says in Matthew 10:36 that our enemies will be right in our own household. I know the term enemy comes off a bit strong, but according to Google dictionary, enemy is defined as “a person who is actively opposed or hostile to someone or something.” Sometimes we “actively oppose” or are “hostile to” our classmates, parents or siblings, for example.)

What causes you the most hurt?

I don’t know who or what causes you the most hurt, but I think my parents cause me the most hurt. It bothers me when they argue or have fights. And I don’t like it when they give their opinions in my relationship and then, their opinion sometimes causes my fiancé and I have to have an issue. It also bothers me when they try to control my life despite me being old enough to have control over my own decisions and things.

I know they mean well…

They love me more than anything and are always trying to protect me (they have always been overprotective parents); I know they love my fiancé. It is hard to express love to my parents when I am hurt by something they said.

When that happens, I tell them (and sometimes not in the nicest way). I think when I am closer to God and pray before reacting, stay quiet instead of replying in a rude tone, and leave the situation, is when I express love towards them. Arguing or being rude only escalates the problem and Jesus asks us to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9).

It isn’t easy, but with time, I have gotten better. I have more patience with them now, and God has taught me when to stay quiet to avoid further issues. (Thank you, God!)

Express Love By…
  • Listening
  • Staying silent
  • Being patient
  • Giving of your time or resources
  • A kind gesture
  • Avoiding gossip
  • Being fair
  • Not judging
  • Praying for and with others
  • Encouraging others

Another tip: Figure out the love language of your loved ones, children, and even your coworkers! You’ll be surprised how great things will become with all of your relationships!

Q: How to be happy? How to be joyful?
A: Give love!

Tip 4: Be Thankful.

Being thankful not just when things are turning out amazing, but in all circumstances (1 Thes. 5:18).

Giving thanks to God ALWAYS because He is ALWAYS good (Ephesians 5:20).

Not only giving thanks to God, but to those around us.

Maybe a spouse needs to hear a thank you? Maybe it’s mom or dad? I think my sibling and I don’t say thank you to each other. It’s not that we are rude to one another; it’s just that we leave the formalities aside, but once in a while when we do something big for each other, we definitely say thank you!

Without a doubt, my fiancé and I always say thank you to one another. It feels nice and makes us feel appreciated! I think it encourages us to keep doing nice things!

Q: How to be happy | How to be joyful?
A: Be grateful!

Tip 5: Embrace One Another.

And by embrace, I mean to hug one another! This is another way of expressing love, but it needs its own section.

How often do you hug your parents? Your sibling? Your significant other? I would bet that we hug our significant others WAY MORE than we hug our parents and siblings. And I hear that once we have children, we hug our children more than we hug our spouses!

I don’t want to regret not showing love to my parents or family members. One day I may not have them by my side – I better enjoy them while I can!

choose joy. Flawed & Faithful - A Faith and Lifestyle Blog. How to be happy | How to be joyful

Q: How to be happy | How to be joyful?
A: Hug others!

Tip 6: Stop Trying to be Right!

I think this is all of us at one point or another.

We use these common phrases to prove our point: 

  • “This should be done like this …”
  • “I just did that the other day, let me …”
  • “I’ve experienced that so it must be …”
  • “I have a degree in this so …” – this one happens a lot in the workplace or in school!

Or sometimes we speak, and we think it’s word of God – authoritative and definitive. When in reality, it’s simply us speaking – imperfect us.

Other times, we can be downright controlling. We have a vision with how things SHOULD be and if it isn’t so, we turn into angry individuals or act like the world has turned against us (then, the pity party commences).

In short, what I have learned is that it’s not worth it. It isn’t worth our time or energy to try to be right or try to be in control. In the end, God has the final say and we don’t ever want to usurp God’s authority.

“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.” Proverbs 3:7.

Q: How to be happy | How to be joyful?
A: Don’t try to always be right!

Tip 7: Listen to Wise Counsel.

Wise counsel can come from a mentor in the faith, from parents, a pastor, or another believer or friend who knows us personally.

Their words will be in line with the Word of God and we should feel peace after speaking to them.

Today, I met with two friends at Starbucks who are my mom’s age. Together, we plan the teen small group bible study gatherings for our church. And for most of our meeting, they shared advice on the future that is to come for my fiancé and I as we begin making wedding decisions to eventually moving in together and building our family. 

There is so much to think about! I take notes because I love learning from others, especially those who I know are connected with God and have gone through similar experiences.

If you don’t have a mentor who’s a believer, start praying for one! God will bring someone. Be open to whom it may be! It may be someone close; it may be someone new. Whoever it is, make sure you get confirmation from God.

Once you receive wise counsel, listen to it and pray about it! 

Results of listening to wise counsel:

Remember Moses’ father-in-law telling him that he needed to appoint judges for the people because he saw that Moses would eventually end up worn out and tired from all the cases brought before him? (Exodus 18: 14-23)

Moses heard his counsel and agreed! He took action immediately: 

“Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said. He chose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.”(Exodus 18: 24, 25)

How about the story of Naaman washing himself in the Jordan to be cleansed of his leprosy? (2 Kings 5: 1-14)

Naaman did it! Reluctantly, but he followed the advice of Elijah and his servants. In the end, he was cleansed!

Results of ignoring wise counsel and not seeking wise counsel:

This scares me. I never want to ignore godly wisdom because the repercussions are serious.

At the start of creation, Adam and Eve disregarded God’s counsel or direction to not eat the fruit, initiating the biggest domino effect in our history.

How about the people that lived during Noah’s time who failed to heed Noah’s counsel?

And let’s not forget the sad death of (King) Saul who “did not keep the word of the Lord and even consulted a medium for guidance, and he failed to inquire of the Lord” (1 Chron. 10:13, 14).

In his desperate attempt to keep His reign, he lost it by forgetting the God who had placed him there from the beginning.

These are just a FEW of the many examples we have in the bible. (Let me know in the comments below if you can think of any others!)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5, 6

My beloved brothers, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger… James 1:19

Q: How to be happy? How to be joyful?
A: Accept godly wisdom!

Tip 8:  Hate the Immoral and Live with Integrity.

Lately, I haven’t been watching movies or shows that go against my beliefs. Those include any movies/shows with drugs, killing, nudity, or violence. (Or anything else that is harmful)

If I am against those things, how can I ‘accept’ it by watching it?

Same goes for doing anything I feel is against God. What comes to mind is 

  • false witnessing,
  • gossiping,
  • saying hateful comments
  • judging, and
  • putting words into someone’s mouth.

It doesn’t mean I am perfect – far from it! It’s hard, but I avoid this as much as possible. (Now, if I feel I have sinned against God in anyway, I talk to Him in prayer and I repent.)

In the end, it feels much better to avoid doing things that God is displeased with and keep a pleasant conversation with others.

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Colossians 4:6

Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Romans 12:9

O you who love the Lord, hate evil! Psalm 97:10

Living with Integrity

To me, this means being honest in ALL my doings. Not cutting corners or taking advantage of a situation.

For example, not starting my break while on the clock. Acknowledging to the cashier when she’s given me more change than was due. Being honest with someone who I see has something in their teeth be it food or lipstick, or an eyelash on their cheek. – This is something I always do!

During my seasonal job at Macy’s, one of my coworkers in a different department (who I had never spoken to before) had a pretty large ball of lint on the back of her pants, which I noticed while walking behind her. How could anyone not notice it! Once I caught up to her, I told her and she was so grateful. I wondered how many people had seen her and had not told her…

This reminds me of the “Golden Rule”“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:12).

If you say it, mean it

Another biblical aspect of integrity that comes to mind is committing to that which I said I would do. 

If I say I am going to be a part of that ministry or volunteer project, I make sure to be a proactive member.

If I say I am going to donate an amount or purchase something, I make sure to take care of it.

In the end, not completing tasks we say we will do, harms us: it makes us feel bad and guilty. Why not avoid these issues and stick to what we said we would do in the first place? 

And while we are doing it, we should be committed wholeheartedly. Jesus led by example and everything He did was “wonderful.” Others recognized it.

They were completely amazed and said again and again, “Everything he does is wonderful.” Mark 7:37

Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil. Matthew 5:37

Q: How to be happy | How to be joyful?
A: Have nothing to do with immoral things!

Tip 9: Be Patient. 

Being patient doesn’t come easy. It takes a lot of prayer and going through various circumstances and trials to eventually develop our patience muscle.

One of the hardest things we can be impatient about is waiting for the person God has for us. It becomes even more challenging when many of your friends are in a steady relationship.

While I was single, I would include prayers for my future husband. I wouldn’t just pray that God would bring him my way, but that God would bless and protect him, and make him a true man of God. God answered all of my prayers. (Thank you, God!)

Currently, I am waiting for two things: waiting to hear back on a medical school acceptance and waiting to hear back from a job.

group of happy and joyful friends Flawed and Faithful
Only one interview…

After applying to over 100 jobs and praying for one of them to work out, God has not allowed any. The only one that came through was the Macy’s seasonal job (1 month long), and I praise God for it because I was able to give one of my coworker’s a set of MCAT books (study material to get into medical school) and a few pages with tips. She is younger than I am with a 3 or 4-year-old and her dream has always been to become a doctor. Now, she’s one step closer to achieving this dream! God does everything in His time and for us to bless others!

And I haven’t heard back from all the schools I have applied. Only two out of the 5 have replied with a hold and the other with the reply: “You won’t be rejected because you meet the requirements and we have rolling admissions.” – But that doesn’t tell me if it is a yes or a no. I pray that it will be a YES for at least one of the schools. His will be done over mine.

It’s a challenging time because I am planning to get married this year and need money to pay for it. And I would like to know if I am accepted into school or not so I can start taking my next steps.

(Read how I said yes to the dress with God’s help!)

Uncertainty can be a blessing

Despite not knowing what the future will hold and not being able to plan ahead, I continue to pray. I continue to be patient because God is safeguarding my life. I have entrusted all these plans to Him and I know He will take care of them for my good. He loves me and won’t let me down regardless of the way the pendulum swings.

I am thankful for this time because I started my blog and this is something I had been wanting to do.

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! Psalm 27:14

Q: How to be happy | How to be joyful?
A: Have patience! Don’t give up!

Tip 10: Construct Your Home (or Life) Over the Rock, who is Jesus Christ.

Saving the best and most important tip on how to be happy how to be joyful for last!

To have a solid foundation, we need to search for Christ daily by reading the Word of God and establishing a relationship with Him. Eventually, the desire to obey Him will grow. It takes time because we may not always have the desire to spend time with God, but in those moments, we need to spend the most time with Him! Praying for God to give us the desire to read His Word will help!

Our life won’t need anything else when we have a solid foundation in Christ. We’ll have inner peace and joy through the good and the bad. Life isn’t all rainbows and butterflies, despite how others on social media make it out to be. Living in Christ removes the pressures of this world, leading to a fuller and joyful life.

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:24-27

Q: How to be happy | How to be joyful?
A: Prioritize your relationship with Christ!

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  1. These are awesome tips Lily. Joyfulness is truly a guft from God and a fruit if the Spirit as you mentioned. I laughEd as I read the part about not always Having to be right, and i smiled wheb you spoke of sHowing love, giving hugs, and laughing. Thanks so much for sharing how to be joyful!

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