We all have those things that we know will make us laugh harder than anything else. Maybe it’s a certain movie scene. Just hearing a quote from a particular movie will make some people laugh over and over. Then, there are those rare-gift-of-laughter people. You know the ones. They are blessed with “contagious” laughter. They are the ones you want to sit by in a movie, because once they start laughing, the whole room starts laughing. For about 99% of human beings today, it’s a favorite meme, YouTube video or a fail video that will make them pee their pants, no matter how many times they have seen it.

One of the funniest things in the world to me is when little kids try to smile. Literally, as I am typing this, I am shaking from laughing because I’m picturing my little cousin’s face with a painfully awkward smile on it as we try to take his picture.  Just keeping it real here–I’m not the one to talk about awkward little kid smiles.  For some reason the lip curl was my staple move when someone said, “smile” to me. I am here to tell you that the lip curl is NOT the move, but it does make for some hilarious pictures.

When I was going through my “awkward smile” stage, I do remember getting frustrated with my smile.  So frustrated that I decided, as I think other kids must do, that I just wasn’t going to smile anymore. Nope. Done. I simply would refuse to smile. This is when my parents would resort to the famous reverse psychology move.  Once that move was in play, and it would work every single time, the lip curl would begin. I’m sure some of you were victims of this technique too. It goes like this:

Parents say, “Don’t you dare smile”

My brain:

Don’t do it

Don’t do it

Don’t do it

Don’t do it

Don’t do it

Don’t do it

Don’t do it

Don’t do it

Me: (lip curl) “CHEEEEEEESSSE!!!!”

As I was thinking about sharing a message to encourage people to be happy in today’s world, I couldn’t help but think of my “smiling” frustrations.  It’s silly, I know, but I felt some serious pressure to have a good smile. When it wasn’t happening, I made up my mind to not smile at all.  At least I tried not to until my parents used that reverse psychology stuff on me. And I’m glad they did. Because, I didn’t and don’t want the world to see me as a person who doesn’t smile.

Sadly, there are a million reasons to not smile. A million life stories that are sad. A million world events screaming at us, causing us to see the bad in the world and not smile. Just reading the news could cause us to stubbornly refuse to ever smile again, and I understand that I am probably writing to so many of you right now who have decided to stop smiling. But, don’t give in.  I think we need to let that childlike instinct to “smile” when we’re challenged to “not smile” kick in every time the world sends us the message “don’t smile.” That’s the time to press past the awkwardness, curl our lips (or not), show the world what Jesus did for us, and belt out a loud “cheese.”

I’ve been talking about smiling and laughing, but my topic today really is happiness and joy. Of course, I wanted to go to the bible to see what scripture says about it. Happiness and joy are two words that get thrown around a lot, but what do they really mean? They seem like the same thing, but they aren’t. They are connected though, or at least, they should be. One way I like to look at is this–happiness is a mood and joy is a fruit. Think about it this way. A mood is a temporary state of mind. Usually it is the result of a circumstance–what is going on around you. It’s like when your best friend says she’s coming over for a movie night. That’s an instant happy mood. But, a fruit, like joy, is the result of the work going on inside of you to see Jesus in His word and the world around you.  So, happiness, being a mood, is shown in your behavior. Joy, being a fruit, is sown in your heart, but it should also be shown in your behavior. If you have joy (like the down-in-your heart kind of joy) you will want to show it in your actions, attitudes, and behaviors.

Read these scriptures that talk about joy:

Proverbs 10:28 AMP

“The HOPE of the righteous [those of honorable character and integrity] IS JOY, but the expectation of the wicked [those who oppose God and ignore His wisdom] comes to nothing.”

Proverbs 16:20 AMP

“He who pays attention to the word [of God] will find good, And blessed (HAPPY, prosperous, to be admired) is he who TRUSTS [confidently] in the Lord.”

Romans 15:13 AMP

“May the God of HOPE fill you with all JOY and peace in BELIEVING [through the experience of your FAITH] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you will abound in hope and overflow with confidence in His promises.”

John 15:11 AMP

“I have told you these things so that MY JOY and delight may be in you, and that your joy may be made full and complete and overflowing.”

Joy is all about your hope, faith, expectations and trust, rather than your present circumstance or even your own reasoning.  While happiness is about what is going on around you, joy is about the state of mind within you.

Over the past ten years of traveling, I have noticed that the people in the poorest of the poor countries, with nothing to their name are, most of the time, happier than people who live in wealthier places and have everything. As fascinating as this has always been to me, reading these scriptures lets me see why this is true.  If joy is more about what you are hoping for than what you have, everyone has the same opportunity for joy. I love how in Proverbs it says that the HOPE of the righteous is JOY, but the expectation of the wicked is nothing. If we spend our days hoping for things to make us happy instead of being content in our hope for the righteous, we will not be happy people.

What are you hoping for? Where are your expectations? Answer that and you are on the right path to finding joy. The definition of hope is: a feeling of expectation and a desire for a certain thing to happen. This verse tells me that I will have joy, not when I GET certain things, but when I HOPE for and desire certain things.  This is the same for you. When you begin to fill your mind with the word of God, the promises of God, and the presence of God, then you will be filled with joy. They go hand and hand because joy is a fruit of who He is. And that is something to smile about.

Now that we know how we can fill ourselves with joy, let’s look at when, where, and why we should be happy based on scripture and plug this into our 24/7.

Psalm 16:11 AMP “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.”

This verse knocks out “where” and “when” by telling us that joy is in the presence of God. It is not at the end of the path; it is on the path following the guidance of His right hand.

Philippians 4:4 AMP “Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, take pleasure in Him] again I will say, rejoice!”

This verse also gives us the “when,” and it says ALWAYS. I know what you’re thinking… (Eye roll) how is it even possible to rejoice always? I believe this has a lot to do with contentment. The bible says in 1stTimothy that godliness and contentment are great gain. When the things of God are the things you delight in and take pleasure in, you can rest knowing you have all you need all the time. Resting in a place of contentment assures a state of happiness and an internal feeling of joy. I also love how the writer of Philippians repeats the word rejoice at the end of the verse. Sometimes we just need to tell ourselves to rejoice, and if you find yourself not listening to yourself, say it again!

In spite of everything you have read and heard, you may be asking why does it even matter if I am happy or have joy?  In today’s world, moodiness seems to be an accepted mindset or attitude, so why be happy when being happy would take more effort? I think, and it’s been my experience, being happy is a more enjoyable way to live; it’s a better way to spend your 24/7, and it makes life more enjoyable for those around you. Besides all of that, I believe there are legitimate biblical reasons to have joy and show happiness. Some of them we have already read about. Here is another:

Nehemiah 8:10 say, “…And do not be worried, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and your stronghold.”

I love that Nehemiah reminds us, “Do not be worried.” He basically says to replace worry with joy. The truth is, the choice between worriedness and happiness are like two roads you come upon. Both roads come with expectations and trust for what is to come. Both require a certain state of mind that allows you to pick one over the other.  But the road to worry and the road to happiness are as different as one road going left and one going right. Worry produces fear; happiness produces faith. Worry travels with a heavy heart; happiness travels with a light spirit. Each way depends on trust and an expectancy of the future.  Not one of us can predict the future, but we can control the state of mind we face it with.

We all have a 24/7, how do you want to live in yours?

Sadie Robertson

Author Sadie Robertson

More posts by Sadie Robertson

Join the discussion 49 Comments

  • Chad Rushing says:

    Thanks for sharing this story and encouraging blog post today, Sadie! I am going to use this to help me increase my happiness by working to keep my mind focused on what is going right in my life instead of what is going wrong. Thanks again!

  • Courtney Conley says:

    Sadie I have watched your family and you since the beginning of Duck Dynasty, my stepdad looks like Uncle Si honestly he does. But ive been through so so so much and its hard for me to smile but I smile anyways when im around people cause a smile can change someones day. Even though its a fake smile it helps others I laugh when really I want to cry cause I dont others to be let in. I think youve met Alexandria Cooper? John and Korey Cooper from skillet thier daughter Alex,well shes became one of my best friends shes always encouraging me. But shes not let in all the way cause I dont want to loose her. I just hate myself and my life. I look at my self and all I feel is hate of my self and idk why. And I dont want to keep going to Alex cause I dont want to be a burden to anyone. Im scared Sadie like really scared of where my life will go. Ik what God calls me to do but all the doors are closed and locked. And they cant open. Even though ik its what im called to do. I cant see anything. Help? Can you email me? Or DM me on instagram? Or something. Probably not. Oh well I thought id share nvm forget I said anything. Im a nobody

  • Lizzie says:

    When you truly stop and look around how people can you count that have a smile on their face. I’m pretty sure all you need is one hand, sad when you think about it. We should be smiling every day for the breath that fills our lungs and each day that we wake. I’m sure there is a lot to be sad about in the world we live in today but like the message says let’s not let all the bad that is happening win. Let us smile and know that tomorrow is a new day. let us live where our feet are planted at this very moment. Let us take a few minutes a day and think of all the Good things that God has provided us and smile because that is just the start.

  • Graci says:

    this is amazing! you’re such a great role model and I will definitely use this in my everyday life💓

  • Emmalee parnell says:

    I love your blog, lately I have been through a very hard time with guys and I was finding my identity in them and not who I am in Gods eyes and on how He sees me. With this blog it made me laugh and smile something I haven’t done in a long time.

  • Sadie says:

    SO SO GOOD!! 💓💓

  • Thanks Sadie! Your smile is awesome by the way!

  • Emily says:

    Love this. I have often heard that expectations ruin many things in life…which I tend to agree with. But hope is what makes all things better. Hope involves trusting in God, and having confidence He’ll work all things together for our good. Expectations put the focus on us and what we want/think we deserve. I really appreciate this post, so thank you 🙂 this past year, I have focused on not letting my circumstances define my mood, and this was a good reminder that moods come and go, but joy can last forever.

  • Kelley says:

    Joy is such a gift. Thank you for your words reminding us to recognize it when we see it in our lives and in others. I Love everything you do and wish you the very best in 2019!

  • I REALLY needed this today! it hasn’t been the most happy day and I needed to be reminded of the unending joy God gives us. thank you, Sadie! beautiful.

  • Megan L. says:

    Love this! Thank you so much for sharing Sadie. I’m so glad the blog is back!

  • Leah says:

    This is so encouraging! I’ve been needing to hear this for a while. I love all of the verses so much. Thank you!

  • Lauren says:

    I think this is really encouraging and helped me find my word I need to live by for this year. Enough! Enough sadnes. Enough hate. Enough arguing. Try this, I am happy and joyful with just enough.

  • Karen says:

    Love this! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • Alan Hafer says:

    Thank you! I needed this for encouragement today. Thanks too your grandfather, I am now back to the word of God! I too got caught up in today’s world and not of what JESUS did for my sins !! Now I can’t get enough of the word of God. Be it may Reading the bible or listening to POSITIVE Christian music !! Now I hunger for it , I need it . Thank you for all you do and say . God bless ❤

  • Val Matos says:

    This is AMAZING Sadie! You are so blessed by the Lord, and in return you bless others like myself with your kind, uplifting, and wise words! Keep it up girl, we love you! 💕

  • Lisa Cope says:

    I am the mom of a 19 year old daughter and I want to let you know you are a blessing for ALL ages!!

    Blessings

  • Meredith says:

    Sadie, just wanted to say how much this really did encourage me and also challenges me to evaluate my mindset each day. I’ve been struggling with contentment lately. School has been so busy, and I don’t always feel like I enjoy each moment. I want to have my focus be more on the Lord, and loving Him and His people no matter how busy I am. Thank you for the wisdom you shared!!

  • Becca K. says:

    This is Beautiful Sadie ♥️ & currently in the season I’m in, the Lord keeps telling me to Smile 😁 in times I just don’t feel like it. So at least for me, this post is pretty timely 😊 Keep up the awesome work you’re doing with the Lord 🤙 TBH can’t thank you enough for all the Lord has done using Your influence in my Life 💓💓 Love Ya girl

  • Leon says:

    right on, hitting home with this one. Really is a gift when your in the middle of a storm that would normally break you but the Spirit speaks, all the heaviness falls and your smiling again.Keep Up!

  • Meladi Roberts says:

    Hey Sadie! I loved reading this message from you! This reminded that I need to choose JOY and HAPPINESS every day with my walk with God! I’ve also been reading your Fearless book. It is amazing! It has help me so much. My walk is better with God because through your book I have learned to trust God in everything; to be FEARLESS!

  • Madie Murray says:

    I’ve been struggling a lot lately with worry and have been walking around with a heavy heart and it’s hard. This post has made me feel much better. Do you suggest a book of the Bible for me to read to help me more with this?

  • Nicole Silliman says:

    This is so encouraging & such a great way to look at life & situations that come our way. Thx Sadie for this insight <3

  • Sarah Pickering says:

    That is such amazing encouraging blog about joy. Thank you Sadie for the wonderful blog about joy!!

  • Tammy Spears says:

    A happy heart is a heart full of love & joy–and the word of God says the greatest is “Love” I choose “Love” 🙂

  • carol says:

    I always have hope but there was a couple of years where I didn’t have any hope at all. But I got through it. I keep my bible close and pray often. It is amazing how I got my prayers answered as I exactly asked for. It took time, God has his time to do things and a time to wait and let him work it for the best.

  • Renae says:

    I love this Sadie!! Thank you!

  • Kylie says:

    That ending paragraph…. woah that’s good!!!

  • alex wilson says:

    our hope is our joy! been feeling that lately, but forgot it today. thank you for the reminder. much needed.

  • Tisha says:

    Powerful, and perfectly said. God richly bless you Sadie.

  • Hey says:

    Happiness is a noun and Joy can be both a verb and a noun. Both are conditional when describing a state of emotion.

    Happy – is an adjective
    Joyful – is an adverb

    One describing the noun and the other the verb form

    ex : she felt a happy with him. (Describing noun happiness with the adjective happy as an Emotional state of being) conditional

    Ex:she felt joyful with him (Describing the verb form of joy ; action / Joyful; adverb; to be full of joy: verb form to mean the act for being happy, pleaure, or to express joy)

  • Sami says:

    Thank you! I needed to read these words. It came at the right time and filled my heart with faith, hope and happiness ♡

  • Savannah-Rose says:

    Totally eye opening
    Ready to live confidently in the Lord and happily in doing so

  • Payton McNabb says:

    This was SO GOOD!! This was very powerful and made me smile and want to be the happiest person ever! Reading this made me see that everyone should be happy and kind because why wouldn’t you be? I mean everyone is so blessed and everyone is SOOOO very loved! I absolutely loved this! So much that it made my lip curl!

  • ellie says:

    i have been really wondering what joy is because i had the wrong idea about it for a long time and this really helped me to understand what it is. i love this post and i hope others will benefit from it as well.

  • Amanda says:

    This made me tear up. I needed it at exactly this moment. Thank you. I am 10 years older than you, yet you possess a wisdom that transcends all ages and I know this is the gift God gave you. You are so good at it, please never stop teaching us, I learn so much from you, especially because you explain things in such a clear, understandable way, that the message reaches straight in to my heart. God Bless you!

  • Madison says:

    This quote right here, “Not one of us can predict the future, but we can control the state of mind we face it with.” is exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you so, so much.

  • Katelyn says:

    I love this! Sadie is so inspirational. Everyone should read this!

  • Trinity says:

    I love this post! It is so uplifting! And Sadie I completely understand the whole thing of little kids smiles being pretty cute and funny at the same time!!!!

  • alison barnett says:

    Wow!!! So encouraging, thank you so much Sadie!!

  • Dakotah Cecil says:

    Amen. God is our source of happiness.

  • Victoria says:

    Thank you! This, for me, is just a great reminder that I cause my own happiness. With God and Jesus that can be all the time. I have trouble constantly thinking of what others think…especially my family. I have those that support and those that are happy not to give any to me (as we all do). I continued reading on in Proverbs (Prov. 10: 31 & 32). Those two really hit me. Especially at the end of verse 32 where it basically says that the mouth of the righteous know what’s pleasing but the wicked is perversed. Obviously we all know what is right and wrong to say but there is always going to be that person (or multiple of) that has something else to say. I can’t let myself continue to be bothered by that. Let’s be honest here, the more I focus on that the less time I have to focus and learn what the Bible has to teach me on the matter. Like you said “Worry produces fear; happiness produces faith.” That couldn’t be more true. I need to turn to God every single time. How else am I supposed to get my strength to ignore and move on POSITIVELY? Let alone moving throughout the day with a positive mindset. We’ve all heard the phrase that “when you force a smile it actually makes you smile for real”, or however it goes. So thank you for the reminder Sadie. It’s something to continue to work on but I know I will eventually get there!

  • Kelsey D says:

    This is so true. I have gone through this journey and still am. Choosing happiness was the best thing I could have done. I found joy by having a hope for a certain future and having that hope gives me something to get out of bed for every day. This joy shows me that God loves me and has a plan. That the things that He has put in my life are the things that are meant to be in my life. This post is so true and beautiful!

  • Vilas Jeevanathan says:

    Fulfilling the will of LIVING GOD in each and every circumstances , with all our heart, mind soul, spirit and strength is the ” JOY OF THE LORD ”
    When our GOD joy in us , we receive his power and smile and become salt of the earth and light of the world as he is.
    CHeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeS

  • skyla hoyle says:

    this is so amazing!!! I love how beautifully you can write and talk about things!

  • Kathryn Mader says:

    Very good, Sadie. Wise words. Thank you!

  • Douglas W Fisher says:

    Smiling

  • Lydia says:

    Thank you soooo much Sadie!!! This topic has been on my heart and this was exactly what I needed to read. Here’s to happiness 24/7 because of hope in the Lord! 🙂

  • Ireland Kost says:

    This is EXACTLY what I needed. Thanks for letting the Lord use you to teach and help me!

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