God doesn’t want you to be happy.

Okay, that was a bit of a clickbait title. But…

1. I don’t make money off of this blog.

2. I think it might actually be true.

For real, this idea has been running through my mind for over a week now.

What I heard: A whole lot of people, myself included, have somehow convinced ourselves that God wants us to be happy. This idea allows us to bend rules or take shortcuts or make poor decisions that we think might result in our own happiness. After all, if God wants us to be happy, shouldn’t He be okay with us doing what it takes to get there?

Where I landed: I cannot find anything in the Bible that says God wants us to be happy. I cannot find any wise counsel that says God wants us to be happy. I think Andy was right on in that message. I think we might have made it up.

It might be true! Maybe He does want us to be happy. And I think it’s certainly true God doesn’t want us to live unhappy lives. But in the end, I think we might have missed the mark a bit. I don’t think God necessarily cares about our happiness like we want Him to or like we think He does.

If I have learned anything over the last few years, it’s that God is out for one thing and one thing alone – His glory. I think it’s hard for us to swallow and digest that fully, because we associate glory with things like pride and selfishness. I think it’s also hard because we’ve never seen a perfect love lived out in an earthly person. But it doesn’t make the characteristics of the Father any less true.

God pursues us with a wild, relentless, miraculous, gracious love because it brings Him glory. He wants our hearts all to Himself because it brings Him glory. He wants us whole and healthy and wise because it brings Him glory. He wants us to love well and generously because it brings Him glory.

And y’all? When God gets His glory, His people reap the benefits. We stay healthy and whole, in our bodies and in our relationships with people. We make wise decisions, in our families and friendships and workplaces. We remain humble and honest, in our conversations and in our lifestyles. As a result, we live content and happy lives. We get happy when God gets His glory. And maybe, just maybe, that was His goal all along. Because He knows better.

11 thoughts on “God doesn’t want you to be happy.”

  1. When you say “We stay healthy and whole…”, I’m reminded of all those people who suffer mental illness (or any illness really) who are being told they just aren’t faithful enough. People who are told they would get better if they would just get right with God. I’m sure you didn’t mean it this way but I’ve been bumping into on the net a lot lately.

    I don’t disagree with your main point – I just think we need to be careful. Job gave God glory and lost everything.

    1. FANTASTIC point, Katie! I feel like that’s a totally separate discussion in a way, but definitely not unrelated. Job gave God glory and still lost everything, but God got the glory. And God never told Job that His plan for Job’s life was to happy. I don’t have any good answers for this right now, but it’s something I’m tossing around inside. Thanks for making me think further!

  2. Loving your words and the depths of God. So thankful for you sending this out to women. I have spent a lot of time thinking the same thing. Right now I am believing – as you do – that God doesn’t really care about our earthly happiness. He loves to bring good things to us, but it’s not His end all be all – His glory is. I think He begins to redefine our happiness as we get to know Him better. As we walk closer and closer to Him, He gives us the true treasure. More of Him. That’s the good stuff, right? So ultimately we get to be the happiest (purest kind of joyful) because we know Him. “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires (((Him!!!))) of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 What do you think?

    1. I love this! It certainly made me think. Especially because the desires of my heart are very often NOT Him, and my flesh doesn’t even WANT to desire Him on a regular basis. But what would it look like if I let Him take me to that place?

  3. I read a marriage book once which had the tagline “Marriage isn’t supposed to make us happy, it’s supposed to make us holy.” or something like that. I felt this enormous guilt for wanting to leave my abusive husband in light of this. I think we need to be REALLY careful when we talk about what God wants for our lives.

    1. I’ve heard about that book! I certainly don’t think it endorses staying in abusive relationships. I’ve never been in a marriage like that, but I can’t picture God desiring us to stay in harmful, dangerous situations. It just doesn’t line up with anything I’ve ever read about His character. So while yes, we DO need to be careful when we talk about what God wants for our lives, I feel like simpler is better. Maybe less talking about specific situations and more praying for God to line our hearts up with what He wants. Bringing me back to the idea that maybe He doesn’t see our happiness in the same way we do. Which is why I wrote this… to think about it a little harder. Thanks for making me think, Audrey!

  4. Great discussion! I like to remind myself that God gets the glory whether or not I give it. We GET to give him glory when we’re happy and when we’re sad because of His grace.

  5. Amen and amen! I feel like the Lord is continually bringing me to a place where I learn this truth over and over. No – the Lord does NOT want his children to be miserable. But in His presence is fullness of JOY – not happiness. It’s different and it’s better. In my life, I think the Lord leads me to places where I feel an ache of unhappiness, which makes me long for Him more! If I never felt that ache or longing, I’d forget about my need for Jesus entirely. Happiness isn’t everything. Jesus is!

  6. Thank you! I often tell people that I feel the same way and get a ton of eye rolling. When I lost my son I realized this one thing, I wasn’t happy. And that was okay, but I was filled with Joy based on His promises.

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