I’ve heard stories when people go to church and are told, whether intentionally or unintentionally, to fake happiness. One pastor expressed that a friend was hold in his childhood, “Fake happiness is better than real depression.” In other words, even if you don’t feel happy or maybe depressed, it’s better to pretend that nothing’s wrong and you’re “just fine”.

The other extreme is when someone recognizes that “downness” and chooses to remain there.

Neither is healthy.

I do find, e.g. when I go to Sunday service, that I have this pull. On the one hand, I want to be authentic and recognize that things aren’t perfect, that there could be things that are wrong. I don’t want to portray that everything is alright when it really isn’t. On the other hand, especially when entering a worship service, I recognize that God doesn’t want me to remain in that state. Grant it, it doesn’t mean to just pretend it’s all resolved if it hasn’t yet. But my movement needs to move towards the kind of joy that only Jesus can provide.

It’s not about just being happy. It’s recognizing where I am in a spiritual, emotional, psychological, mental and physical state with the intention of seeking the one who can provide joy (and peace and hope and love).

How do you pursue joy?