Do we always have to be happy?

fake smileHere’s what being a Christian does mean:

  • We can have joy because we have much to celebrate.
  • We have hope that our present circumstances are nothing compared to the reward our God has promised us.
  • In all circumstances we can give thanks because of what God has saved us from.

Here’s what it doesn’t mean:

  • We have to wear a constant smile.
  • Life will always be butterflies and roses.
  • Depression will never knock on the door of our hearts.

Sometimes we get the message that because we have tremendous hope in Christ, we should never allow ourselves to feel emotions like sadness, anger, fear, or even depression. But this isn’t what the Bible teaches. Check out the raw emotions of some of these Bible heroes.

But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry (Jonah 4:1).

Elijah was afraid and ran for his life…. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors” (1 Kings 19:3–4).

I am bowed down and brought very low; all day long I go about mourning. My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body. I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart (King David in Psalm 38:6–8).

He looked around them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand” (Jesus in Mark 3:5).

The bottom line is that we live fractured lives in a broken world. We often face difficult circumstances that can cause us to feel things like anger, sadness, and anxiety. God never asks us to stuff those feelings or to sweep them under the rug. It doesn’t make you a better Christian to always have a smile on your face.

The Bible doesn’t give us a green light to allow our emotions to run amuck. But we don’t have to wear a mask of fake happiness either. No matter what you’re feeling, give yourself permission to be honest about it with your Savior. I know for a fact He’d love to hear about it.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).

About Author

Erin Davis

Erin is passionate about pointing young women toward God's Truth. She is the author of several books and a frequent speaker and blogger to women of all ages. Erin lives on a small farm in the midwest with her husband and kids. When she's not writing, you can find her herding goats, chickens, and children.

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  • Liz

    I’m one of those people who is normally happy. At least that’s what people say when they talk to me. My friends, co-workers, etc. It’s not usually hard for me to be happy. But lately a lot of things have caused me to become depressed. I used to hate that word and think people had issues when they said they were depressed. I’d just think “get with it!” But lately I’ve just been…depressed. Partly because struggles in life (there’s a guy I like who I think likes me…but over year it has gone nowhere) and the weather here is gloomy (gotta love Ohio…weather can affect your mood!) and I just turned 18 and I feel like I’m growing up too fast and I don’t want to. I almost don’t want to grow old and sometimes I wonder what’s the point in life. This has been pretty recent. I am a Christian, and I’m mad at myself because I know God has a plan for my life, and life isn’t really that short (well, I don’t don’t when I’ll die…but you know what I mean. It is worth living.) But all of these things added up have affected me. Advice? Prayer? Thanks!

    • I’m sorry that you are going through a hard time right now, Liz. I’d like to recommend a couple of things for you to do in the days ahead. I encourage you to get into the Word on a consistent basis. You may already be doing this, but I’ve found that when I’m struggling with depression, I often pull away from God and spend less time in prayer and the study of His Word. I encourage you to begin to journal a letter to God each day as a part of your prayers. Be honest with Him and share your hopes, your hurts, your disappointments and your fears. He can handle your honesty and you may find (as I did) that journaling honestly is a great way to process your thoughts and bring them back in line with God’s Word.

      I’ve found that one of the best things I can do during a downtime in life is to find things to be thankful for. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, focus on the things that you do have and express your thankfulness for them to the Lord and to others. Revive Our Hearts has a 30-Day Choosing Gratitude Challenge that will help you. You can sign up for it at this link: ttp://tinyurl.com/pa49xnd

      The last thing I want to encourage you to do is to find an older godly woman that you can transparently share your heart. It would be such an encouragement to you to have someone to listen to you, encourage you, pray for you and hold you accountable to walking forward with the Lord rather than floundering in your emotions.

      You might also find some encouragement in the series Nancy Leigh DeMoss did on Dealing with Depression and Doubt: http://tinyurl.com/m86zn49

      God has a way through this, Liz. While our enemy wants to use these challenging times to destroy us, God wants to use them to strengthen you and to glorify Him (Gen. 50:20). I’ve paused and prayed for you this morning asking God to lift your eyes to Him and to give you the desire and strength to persevere and trust Him in this battle. Stay in the Word, my friend! It will keep you anchored to the heart of God.