Does God Want You To Be Happy? – Lisa Harper Part 1

today’s broadcast is paid for by viewers and friends of focus on the family it’s always been a puzzle to me as to why we can’t be happy I am happy most days because I’m just I don’t know God made me a happy person I usually wake up happy and that’s just from waking up in Colorado some point in their life what the way I usually combat it is going to Starbucks and having a big old coffee welcome to the focus on the family broadcast helping families thrive John I think everyone but – you know accomodate that 1% most everyone wants to be happy but sometimes the Christian community we can treat the pursuit of happiness as somehow being ungodly I know that that’s not the right thing to do today you may be surprised by what our guest is going to share that God wants you to be happy and that happiness is a gift from God that we should actively pursue we’re told in the psalm some 37 4 to be exact to delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart so today we’re gonna talk about how to do that on a practical level especially when faced with difficult circumstances here at focus on the family we want to help you thrive in your Christian journey particularly that’s our primary mission and we have a lot of resources available to help you do that and to help you in your relationship with God we’re putting this one in that category I would agree Jim and our guest today is Lisa Harper who is a very popular author and women’s speaker and an adoptive mom – Missy and her latest book addresses this topic it’s the sacrament of happy what a smiling God brings to a wounded world Lisa welcome back former staff member former staff but listen I loved my days on staff at Focus and Jim you taught me how to jump on skis we can think back to those glory ski jumping days it’s Lisa let’s get into it this is a great book the sacrament of Cathy some might challenge that and we will in a minute but your subtitle also good what a smiling God brings to a wounded world and I think everyone wants to be happy but it can feel elusive to attain and then sometimes it can feel unholy absolutely happy so what do you believe is the key to happiness let’s go right to it yeah I’ll kind of focus on your it sometimes feels unholy or spiritually immature to pursue happiness and that’s what I thought or what was kind of tacitly endorsed to me growing up I was a happy-go-lucky or at least I seemed to be how to go lucky kid I was faking it most of the time just covering up a lot of deep pain but I I learned in church to kind of dumb that happy side down because church was a place where you you know you didn’t use your outside voice and you wore skirts and I grew up in the south and a Baptist Church so I had to wear you know white little when I got too focused they were hoes but when I was little they were little white tights and shiny shoes and and we just weren’t allowed to be happy unless happy looked kind of subdued ordered it were ordered absolutely ordered and so by the time I was in high school I heard a sermon on joy and it was the a current acronym Jesus others yourself and literally from the pulpit this pastor said joy is what God has called us to happiness is what the world offers and he said happiness is based on happenstance so don’t seek happiness she’s seek joy so I thought happiness was something you jettisoned like spiritual floaties when you learn to swim I thought would were growing in intimacy with Jesus we’re not allowed to be happy and it wasn’t until about three or four years ago that I really started studying that theme of happiness in Scripture to see if it even was a biblical pursuit yeah and you found something like 2,700 passages yeah where their returns related to happiness yeah I mean that that kind of blows with any other way gloomy I gotta confess to you I am more of a division between joy and happiness person I think I do think happiness is a little flaky right so what did you find in this study well I was I was just undone first of all I had to repent because I thought Lord I think I have just dumbed down something that you actually wired in me there’s not just 2,700 references to it there’s 85 direct happiness verses I think it’s like 37 in the New Testament 47 in that the old something like that but anyway it becomes 85 God described himself as happy which slayed me vision as a kid I grew up I don’t ever remember time when I didn’t believe in God believed him to be a holy God but the God in my imagination was kind of an unsmiling kind of king true you know I thought if I stepped out of line he might wipe me over the head rules absolutely and I and I revered him but the idea of a smiling God that would beckon me to launch myself into his arms that was that didn’t feel biblical people that are hearing this yes and to an extent part of me hearing this right wants to respond to that say well wait a minute you know when you’re before the Lord it’s a serious moment and you need to have a serious attitude yeah speak to that because it’s not always the case he makes us it in his image that’s right he gave us I believe humor I believe humors from God oh he says funny things yeah oh I know and but in that regard how can we take a deep breath especially if we’re out of tradition yes being taught that yeah we relaxed I think we’ve got to change the paradigm that holy and happier incongruent because you can be wholly completely not that we can be completely holy but you can have a holy attitude as we approach the Lord recognizing that John the one who was so close to Jesus he says Jesus loved me five times like rolling their eyes like John says I leaned against Jesus that’s how he was defined and then he’s he also fell as though dad’s when he saw Jesus glorified so so those are not incongruent there are times that I think we’ll when we come before Jesus and he’s glorified when we get to when we get to eternity well I don’t know that we’re gonna be giggling I think I’m gonna be facedown on the floor just absolutely absolutely so you know this is one verse and first Timothy that I I had read over a million times never really seen its first Timothy 1:11 and it’s when Paul is given little Tim you know he’s mentoring Tammany’s given Tim this basically his marching orders he’s like okay you’re growing up here’s what I want you to do now is you go out and share the hope that lies within you and he says you share the glorious gospel and that’s good news we know in the Greeks she shared the glorious good news of the Blessed the mock iris the happy God now that’s our calling as Christ followers to share the great news of the happy God because if he wasn’t a happy joyful God of course he’s holy but if he didn’t have that side of joyful do you really want to run toward him and throw your crowns like frisbees no we’d all be minding our P’s and Q’s afraid and you know I think most of us if we think of if you have children or if you have grandchildren or you have just kids that are precious to you you don’t want those kids every time they approach you to have their hands you know fiddling in front of them and looking down with fear and going is it okay approach you’re like baby I’ll let come to me even when my little girls in trouble or has done something naughty I don’t want it to be afraid that’s me well that’s and it’s a shift for some people we need to hit the title the sacrament is yeah yeah call happiness a sacrament I think some are going what me a G that’s right what does that mean to you and how would you define happiness well purposefully chose the word sacrament to get people’s attention because I knew some of the people who really most need to grapple with this can I actually be happy and be a mature Christian that word might jolt to might even offend them because they think uh-uh sacrament can only be Holy Communion or the Eucharist or baptism or marriage those are the things that in common culture evangelical or Catholic culture people are taught these are the holy sacraments but the general definition from a theological perspective of the word sacrament is a visible sign of an inward grace in other words something we do or something that’s done to us that represents what God has done in us and so in that description a visible sign of an inward grace that absolutely applies to happiness because true happiness is not based on circumstance you had someone and the teasers say when I need to be happy I go to Starbucks for coffee yeah well me too but that’s not biblical happiness that is the happenstance I’ve got a heightened emotion because of caffeine right biblical happiness that word Asher in the Old Testament the Greek word my Kairos in the New Testament God says I’m happy that is actually talking about a state of being that’s based in our delight our contentment and our fulfillment being tied to God’s character our God is good he does good even if we’re in a bad chapter a sad chapter of our life we can’t see around the corner our happiness is not tied to caffeine or if I could have fit into my skinny pants that isn’t biblical happiness that is the kind of happiness the world talks about and there is definitely that emotional happiness that is circumstantially based biblical happiness those 2700 references we talked about that is the kind of happiness God imbues and his children and that’s based on who he is not our circumstances Lisa let’s peel it back though you weren’t born with this understanding I mean I love what you’re saying and I think many people especially those who are in a unhappy state yeah maybe even thinking this is a holy place to be yeah you know exuding unhappiness makes me really let’s go back to the panic attack that you had let’s give some people the background there yeah really the beginning of your journey of what you were master I was I was in my early 30s and I was speaking on all things on authenticity at a Bible study and and I had a panic attack now I’d never had one before so at first I didn’t know what it was as a matter of fact I thought am I having a heart attack describe it for some that might when I begin to sweat I don’t mean like lady perspiration like glistening I mean like you know big man in a sauna sweating perspiration I mean I was just sweating like crazy and then I felt this dissociation like I felt like I was almost outside really my body and and I can remember distinctly because I was I was leaving a Bible study but I had several friends in the group and I remember watching one of my friends turn to another and whispering but I could see what they were whispering as I’m talking I could see her whisper to another friend is she okay and I got tickled I wanted to go nope nope not at all I’m not okay because sweat is now running down the seat of my pants and it’s quite uncomfortable and I thought this is just the oddest thing ever well afterwards after I finished that assured some friends that I wasn’t having heart attack another friend came up who’s a therapist and she said Lisa you know what just happened as you had a panic attack and I said you’re kidding me because again I’d always kind of thought of myself as happy-go-lucky because I’d so masked from the abuse when I was younger and she said here’s the deal panic attacks are kind of like grapes that come in clusters she said you need to deal with whatever you’ve been hiding and the recesses of your heart or this will happen again and that began me going to a Christian counselor and I’m really excavating some of the biggest hills in my life and dealing with past sexual abuse past some past traumas because I realized this happy veneer I’m wearing is not happy at all this is just a facade that is my way of pressing down the pain of my past and at least it is hard but I’m thinking for the listener again they’re me maybe one or many women or men yeah that are where you were you had another situation at 14 that really you back to the cluster yeah which was another experience what happened then again to help those listening yeah I’m in that same spot or that was similar to what happened to me yeah when I was 14 years old I’d had for a couple of years and had really debilitating migraines that would cause blackouts etc and finally my mom took me to a neurosurgeon and he immediately the day of the appointment had me admitted into the hospital because I showed several signs of a brain tumor and they were just convinced I had a brain tumor well long story short you know after a battery of tests they found out I did not have a brain tumor add excess cerebrospinal fluid that was pressing on my optic nerve that’s what was causing the blackouts but as part of that process part of that that battery of tests this particular hospital that when a child a minor came in with something serious they had to have a psych consult and so during that two-hour meeting with a child psychiatrist he asked me all these questions to ascertain whether I had a neurosis or was being physically abused well when he explained his findings to my mother again I’m 14 years old and look you know it’s best anybody can tell like a happy-go-lucky kid I’m doing well in school I have a lot of friends I’m always very upbeat much very much an optimist real involved in school at school activities student government all kinds of stuff he told my mom he he explained to her that I did not have any neurosis that he couldn’t see any significant signs of abuse current abuse but he said mrs. angel your your daughter is either the happiest most well-adjusted child I’ve ever met or she is in serious emotional pain gosh that’s such a wide spectrum I know not now my sweet mama now based on her telling the story to me afterwards I realized he was trying to graciously say there’s no way out of all the children I see that your child is the cream of the crop I think your little girl’s probably got something buried she needs to work through my mom missed it because my mom was a happy doppelganger too she had tremendous pain she was bearing so rather than dealing with what was causing us to hold up this happy veneer we just continued kind of pretending for a lot longer until I couldn’t pretend anymore that got too heavy to carry how much time passed between that 14 year old revelation and when you I guess it could have been the panic attack you just described was that I was about 30 years old so that was about 16 years yeah and again Jim I did what a lot of listeners will do I wrapped verses around stuff I made it look sound and Biblical when I was dying on the inside I would paste a smile on my face sure and use happy inflection and all the while thinking I don’t know if I can keep high but hiking up this hill it’s just too steep mmm at least I really want to drive this point home because I think at times we all can fake in a good place how do we know that we’re really being honest before the Lord and before some accountability in terms of fellowship with others right I think you know all of us know when we’re pretending and so it even if it’s after the fact even if you pretend in a conversation with a friend and you go home and go I don’t really feel fine you don’t feel safe enough to say I don’t feel fine I didn’t feel safe enough to say I can’t name and I just feel this malaise I’ve kind of been sad for a couple of years or you don’t say I just had this colossal blowout with my wife or my husband but we all know when we’ve put on a little bit of an ear I think we need to become more alert in our time alone with the Lord instead of that being a performance I’m gonna do my prayers I’m gonna be a good girl or a good guy before the Lord we come before the Lord and the posture that David came before Lord and we go search me see if there’s any offensive way and me lead me into the way everlasting I’ve told the Lord in these last 15 years of my life twenty years of my life I want really really short accounts with you and so if I come to you with a veneer I want you to spank me mute me give me hives do whatever it is so that when I’m with you there there is very little veil or now already but they’re not yet we don’t perfect communion with God we’ll have that in glory but we have incredible intimacy available to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus and I think so many of us still keep God at arm’s length instead of going I want you to he already knows all of us but I want to walk in that reality and it was until I said Lord I want you to clean up the toxic credit of my life that I have been putting veneers over ever since I was a little girl of course he already knew it was there I wasn’t surprising him it was just saying I want you to go ahead and do the surgery and he’s so kind you know he doesn’t use a bomb and blows this part he uses a scalpel so when he cuts us he cuts us to get out the wound he doesn’t cut us so that will stay wounded forever it’s a rehabilitative pain right Lisa your you’ve talked about some of the experiences that you’ve had whether it’s a distant father absent father or no father yeah sexual abuse which we’ve talked about on this program before in your life and the devastation of that it wasn’t just one person or one occurrence it was yeah over a long period of time when you were a little girl yeah and brought us all the tears in here and I don’t want to handle that softly the reality that people will do harm to you mm-hmm I mean I felt that as an orphan kid where there was a foster parents or my stepdad we all have somebody who does harm in some way could be what we do to our children right right we don’t intend it as good parents but sometimes we hurt them in ways that’s right we don’t learn about for years a little quip here a little comment there anger expressed at this right then ten years later they say that really hurt me dad that’s right I mean it is part of life how do we manage that – not just blame others then how do we not become bitter which is probably the opposite is that bitter my dad my dad would have treated ya better he wouldn’t have been alcoholic if he wouldn’t have left our family right if-if-if right right how do we rise above that especially as believers yeah to say listen let let me the Lord cut that away from you so it’s not easy I mean this may sound like an oversimplification at first but that’s why it’s so critical that we do not harness our happiness to another humans shoulders it is not based on happenstance it’s not based on circumstance it’s not based on how your daddy or your wife or your best friend treated you or mistreated you it’s based on the fact that our Heavenly Father loves us perfectly he’s a good guy he does good even if our circumstances are difficult ultimately everything will work out for our good and His glory and now that sounds right yeah but that can be hard it is very hard to do and sometimes you do it blind I’ll tell you just dressin trusting in my own little corner of the world the most difficult day of my entire life it eclipses the beasts I had when I was a kid was when I had to leave Missy the first time in an orphanage and Missy was just devastated because I was her only safe person you know her mama I was her mama blah her white mama and when I left her in dank dingy orphanage was sixty two kids in three rooms and she didn’t think of herself as an orphan you know she had lived with her great-aunt she had this new white mama and I had to leave her there for legal reasons cuz Haiti was being Hague ratified and I didn’t have an illegal option but she was screaming me regret some he regrets it which is I’m sorry I’m sorry and Creole she thought I must have done something wrong for you to walk away from me and as a woman who’s dealt with tremendous shame and abandonment issues to leave this precious child of mine and she didn’t have the the ability to understand I’m leaving to go back to Nashville to work on all the legal realities and get everything pushed up this adoption Hill so that I can come back and get you for good she didn’t understand that so the only thing I could say to my kid in that moment was Jesus loves you and he will never leave you I didn’t say I’m not gonna leave you I love that child more than I can even wrap what words rent but I had to leave her that day so if my little at that time four-year-olds child’s happiness had been solely harnessed to me her new mama I would have put a wound on her that she would never recover from but even at that point and it was hard and it was awful but at that point I’m saying baby your hope has to be in Jesus even in this horror jesus is not walking away from you and so again I know for some people that sounds overly simplistic for me there were years that I thought okay I know theologically he’s supposed to be enough for me but I’m dealing with such deep pain and Jesus is not wearing skin in my world I need somebody with skin on to help me with this Lisa we are wrapping up I want to ask you this before we go though because I thought it was so profound many people feel separated from God and they may have been Christians for decades I’ve been a Christian for 40 years so I get this but they don’t feel that God is happy with them and they feel like they need to perform right you know I know somebody who is on their deathbed and they said Lord if you will let me live I’ll work even harder for and this person was already giving 70 hours a week in Christian work right that’s the picture we sometimes get of God that he’s some kind of killjoy non labor unions he’s there as management to come down on you if you don’t work in 80 hours about for him if you were 80 I’m not gonna let you get the flu I mean that’s ridiculous oh it’s so I would say because usually people like that because they are performers love homework or get a concordance and look up the word blessed because it comes from the word happy the root is happy in the Greek and the Hebrew Old Testament and New Testament and go through spend a month just looking at the character of God is he a happy God if you study script you’ll find out he does and then take a few verses like Zephaniah 3:17 that says he sings over us songs of delight he rejoices over FS was singing that word rejoices depicts God as probably belly laughing and maybe even dancing you know I grew up Baptist so the everybody who danced that that was a shocker to me but if they will really marinate and who God reveals himself to be that he’s a holy and a happy guy I think it’ll begin to change how they move toward God well Lisa this has been great I want to come back next time and continue our discussion I hope this has helped you as the listener I mean it is good to think of God as a joyful happy God he certainly is righteous as Lisa said there are things that bless him in how we behave and the way we interact with people and out of our love for him for what he’s done for us we want to behave that way in a good way it’s not robotic it’s not because I have to write I don’t have to eat my oatmeal right we’re doing this because God loves us so much that we want to respond in kind that’s the relationship we’re talking about and I’m hopeful that this has really touched you and lifted you up today at least I don’t want to leave having a picture of that person who is burdened with sadness they just they’re sad today they’re feeling overwhelmed by something anything yeah what do you say to them how did they get a breath you look up to God I’d say don’t try to clean yourself up before you lean into the arms God but even if they’re listening in the car if they’re listening at home listen at home get some warm laundry throw it on the bed and lean back in that warmth and say God give me the grace to sense that you are holding me if they’re in the car just lean back a touch at the next red light and say God give me the grace to lean and your embrace today to trust that even if I’m a bad kid today or a sad kid today you delighted me you don’t love me any less when I’m not performing I love that and just express your love for that’s right I’ve done it in my lowest point and it was in my heart that’s Lisa let’s come back and do it again oh man I’d love to hey I’m John fuller and thanks for watching get more info about focus over here and more from our guests over there and be sure to subscribe to our channel as well

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  • Sopran04 says:

    Dear FOTF, I just want to say a huge thank you for all you do. I´ve been a listener for years now and your ministry is just invaluable. God´s richest blessings to you all. Please keep up your great work. Greetings from germany <3

  • Ruffy Grace says:

    Greetings from Africa. Thanks for sharing this teaching with us. God bless you Lisa Harper. You're so beautiful. I've been praying for you ma'am. God has a surprise for you and Missy.

  • Videos silva says:

    Greetings from Spain! Love you Lisa your amazing❤️👏🏼 thanx for being awesome

  • valdir Barbosa says:

    Esse mulher de Deus estará na IBAB, igreja batista água branca,26/11

  • kal says:

    This was so refreshing to watch! Everything said hear resonated so well with me. The fact that God is a happy, joyful Father makes me realize His character and how He views me with His perfect love and delight! This video was an answered prayer! So happy I came across it:)

  • Brittanea Podbevsek says:

    God is hilarious!! I love it so much ❤️ he pranks me all the time,no joke. He has his ways of Makin you stop and go ,haha you got me 😂😂 his happiness is my peace . How could we be made in his image and have comedians but expect that he doesn't have a sense of humor ? God is amazing .if you don't know now, you will 😊

  • Writer girl 2006 says:

    OH my goodness! is that what Jim Daly looks like!? Cool! You have hair. I always imagined you bald 😉 You used one of my photos on one of your blog posts once. God bless and thank you for having Lisa on! She's great. Glad I found this today (I know I"m late).

  • charlotte edwards says:

    You are going to hate me for asking this on your channel I am have a colostomy, and live on $ 791 a month,Very blessed. Where do you get your scarf tunics? There got it out, I am kinda new to your channel and have. tried everything I know to get in touch with you, believe me Thais is not what I got from the different videos I have seen! I love the one with the koi ,and. If I could just find the scarves i can sew the . Thanks for sharing your experience,or journey!

  • Bluesky says:

    yes, come back and do it again! I want to hear more!

  • NuLyteTV says:

    Rehabilitative pain 😌 she is so right. The lord has taught me to not hide how I feel. And people, especially in the Christian community… do not get that! They judge it, they resent it and throw dirt on it. From my experience it’s labeled you have no faith, you don’t know God, you need more prayer, more bible, more prayer, etc. It’s sad! I hope nobody goes through it. It’s more painful to have additional offense to deal with from the ppl who are called to be a support system. I mean really.

  • NuLyteTV says:

    Holy Spirit is actually very funny by the way

  • Robby Myrick says:

    So helpful. Thanks Lisa!

  • Nankunda Elizabeth says:

    God bless you Lisa

  • Dawn Miller says:

    Oh, how people would flock to churches and Christ if the pews were filled with JOY FILLED people!!! Let it be Lord, all across the earth!!!!

  • Get IT J says:

    Sought some many so called counselors. Never even helped me unpack my big toe pain. Now I've jus given up like so many. U jus don't care anymore

  • Miles Rains says:

    Holy and happy are congruent. But do we ultimately seek our happiness in God, or do we attempt to manipulate our lives into producing perpetual feelings of happiness?

  • Andrade says:

    Thats a guy in womans clothes.

  • karla Marisela Valencia Bazán says:

    So good 😀. Thanks for Sharing 😘.
    Greetings from Germany

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