Recently, we celebrated Mother’s Day. To my fellow mamas out there, a Happy Belated Mother’s Day to you. I genuinely hope you had a blessed day, got to sleep in, received breakfast in bed, and were pampered a bit. You absolutely deserve it.

Mother’s Day got me thinking… (Yes, despite having 2 young children, I do manage to find a few minutes during the day to think.) What does every parent wish for their children? “I just want my kids to be…(wait for it)…happy.” Every parent says that. I’ve said it a dozen times. We all just want happy children. But, to the Christian parents out there, happy children should not be our end goal. As a matter of fact, we shouldn’t even make that a goal for ourselves.

Do you know what would make my girls happy? Skittles for breakfast! How about some oreos for lunch? Maybe can have some pudding for dinner? Oh, and no more school! No more bed times! No more chores! Imagine how happy my girls will be!!! So, why don’t I do that? Because it isn’t good for them. Eating a healthy, balanced diet is good for them. Going to school, having responsibilities, and a consistent schedule is good for them so I enforce that, EVEN if it means they’re unhappy with me.

What would make you happy? Quitting your job? Telling off your boss? Sleeping in on Sunday mornings? Watching TV instead of reading your Bible? Downloading movies illegally instead of paying for them? Would it make you happy to go out drinking instead of going to Bible Study and then lying to your pastor about it? So, why don’t you do it? Because you know, God’s law is what’s good for you, even if it doesn’t always make you happy.

But you don’t have to sin in order to be happy. There are millions of ways to be happy without deviating from God’s law. And that is true. BUT, that brings me to my next point: happiness is dependent upon what is happening. Happiness fades as quickly as the moment. As soon as whatever made you happy is gone, well, so if your happiness. The object of our happiness will only make us happy for so long. Remember that toy your kid just HAD TO HAVE for Christmas? They don’t play with it much now, do they? We adults are no different. I’m sure you’ve purchased something or have done something that you were SURE would make you happy. But, a few weeks or months or even years pass, and your happiness is gone and you’re looking for the next thrill.

Now, I am not implying that happiness is bad. It’s wonderful to be happy when you spend time with your family, see a beautiful sunset, or are on vacation. Savor those moments and enjoy them but, happiness shouldn’t be our end goal. It’s simply unrealistic for every moment of every day to be a happy moment. If all you care about is your own happiness, you will always be disappointed.

Instead of seeking happiness, seek joy. Joy and happiness are not the same. Joy is from God. Happiness is worldly. Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Happiness is not. Joy is the ability to be at peace with whatever circumstances we face. Joy, unlike happiness, is not dependent upon the moment. Joy stands alone. Joy is with us when we are filled with the Holy Spirit. We can experience joy in pain, sorrow, persecution and…unhappiness. Because we cling to His promises, we have no reason NOT to be filled with joy. For you and your children, pray for and actively seek the joy of the Lord.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope – Romans 15:13

Written by Kristin Geckle. Read Kristin’s Full Testimony Here