Even when we are going through difficult life circumstances, there is still a way to experience happiness. God’s truth can redefine happiness in our lives.

Lisa Harper reminds us that happiness doesn’t have to do with life’s circumstances, it’s more about the posture of our heart.

“The way I define happiness is not the absence of sadness or badness. Rather, it is hanging onto the truth of God’s sovereign goodness, regardless of what’s going on within or around us.”

“When you’re going through a difficult season, or you’re just exacerbated by what you’re seeing constantly on FOX or CNN, I think the best thing to do is to back up and recognize that this is not all there is; this is not our forever home. We are aliens and strangers in this place.”

Lisa explains how being grateful, regardless of our circumstances, is the best way to experience true happiness.

“What I do, practically, is I make up a gratitude list because gratitude is really the fuel that keeps us going on that journey. I say, let me remember: God loves me, my God is good, He does good. Let me keep going on the path He has and front of me, instead of being distracted by what I just saw on CNN. Let me do what I can do to love Jesus and help those around me know Jesus.”

What are you grateful for today? If you don’t know exactly where to start, Lisa shares a few helpful tips from her gratitude list.

“Sometimes it will start out macro: I’m grateful that I can breathe. I had a bad respiratory infection so I’m grateful that I can actually breathe through my nose.”

“Then sometimes it goes really deep, really fast: I’m glad I reconciled with my step father before he died. He became a believer eight weeks before he died. I still can’t believe God did that! I’m still just undone by God’s mercy.”

It doesn’t take long, if we focus on what God has done for us, to just totally arrest our hearts. In the sacrament of gratitude I feel like through the Holy Spirit, God puts his hands on the side of my face and He tilts it back toward him and He says, ‘Look at me, honey. I want you to focus on me.’

Being grateful on a daily basis will bring contentment and happiness into our lives. Lisa says it may even change the world around us.

“As they see contentment in us, even when maybe we’re in a chapter in our lives when things aren’t going so great, they see that there’s still a joy, a delight, and a contentment in us. We aren’t waxing and waning dependent on what happened today, whether we’re in our skinny jeans, or the stock market went up or down.”

“We’re saying, regardless of any of that, my God loves me, my God is good, my God does good. I think gratitude is what keeps us connected to that sovereign truth.”


Lisa Harper is a master storyteller with a masters of Theological Studies from Covenant Seminary. She’s lauded as an engaging, hilarious communicator as well as an authentic and substantive Bible teacher. She is author of the book The Sacrament of Happy: What a Smiling God Brings to a Wounded World.

Redefining happiness
Also on this edition of Connecting Faith with Jo Bender
Laurie Wallin on Get Your Joy Back

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