What if being happy is an act of worship?

photo by studio JRU

photo by studio JRU


I grew up in a denomination that tended to view happiness with a bit of suspicion–as something slightly dangerous and wild. And for a long time I believed a lie that went something like this: “Happiness is worldly therefore anything that makes you happy must be wrong.” That meant feeling good often led to guilt. It seemed “more spiritual” to be someone who suffered.

Yet as I’ve dug deeper into what happiness really means, I’ve come to believe this instead: Happiness can be an act of worship.

I’m not talking about the slap-on-a-smile-and-fake-it kind that makes you look like a “good Christian.” I believe God wants authenticity and grief is also a sacred emotion that can honor him. But it turns out being happy can also be part of living a worshipful life.

May the righteous be gladand rejoice before God;may they be happy and joyful. Sing to God, sing in praise of his name. Ps. 68:3-4

Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. James 5:13

When we’re truly happy, it makes God happy too. “The Lord be exalted, who delights in the well-being of his servant” {Ps. 35:27}. Does this mean we should do whatever we want so we can be happy? Nope. I’m talking about happiness that happens when we align with God’s ways of living and flows out of obedience.

But to say that God doesn’t ever want us to be happy is like saying parents don’t want their children to be happy. No parent wants a life of misery and suffering for their kid. Yes, parents understand their children won’t always be happy. They’ll have hard days and go through challenges. Sometimes they won’t get what they want for their greater good. But at the heart of every parent is a deep hope for their child’s well-being. How could God want any less for us and still be loving?

Maybe somewhere deep inside you’ve believed the lie I did too–that you’re not allowed to be happy. If so, let me whisper what’s true…you don’t have to be happy, and there will be many days when you aren’t, but you are most certainly allowed to be happy. Even more than that, God desires your well-being and part of that is your happiness.

What do you think? Can we start seeing happiness as holy? It’s a bit scandalous…


Holley Gerth

About Holley

About Holley

Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author and Life Coach

I like humans, words, and good coffee. And I’d love to help you beat what’s holding you back, become all you’re created to be, and kick butt for the greater good.

Cheering you on,


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