Do You Know What Makes You Happy?

January 18, 2018

Do you know what makes you happy? Maybe you have forgotten or just don't do enough of it on a daily basis. If you are anything like me, more times than not, I choose productivity over the things that make me happy. It is not all wrong but if you tip the scales too far one way it just might be.

Do you know what makes you happy? Maybe you have forgotten or just don’t do enough of it on a daily basis. If you are anything like me, more times than not, I choose productivity over the things that make me happy. Of course, it is not all wrong but if you tip the scales too far one way it just might be.

Can you name ten things that make you happy? How many of them have you done this week?

Sometimes we can be so darn productive or get caught in the web of perfections we forget how to have fun! I don’t know about you, but I think maybe I have forgotten the art of having fun.  

Don’t get me wrong; I love being productive and pursuing my passion for helping others. It brings me great joy, but it is easy to get out of balance.

Last week on the blog I talked about setting spiritual goals, and I have to admit I am struggling with the words God has chosen to put on my heart for 2018.

My word for the year is “JOY!”

Photo by Kristopher Roller on Unsplash



The words make no sense to my human brain. By nature, I am a pretty optimistic person. When faced with profound sorrow or unexpected difficult circumstances, more times than not, I seek joy. The kind of joy which only comes from God.

Through great work, I have learned how to embrace both joy and pain at the same moment. Yes, two conflicting feelings can be true at the same time.

So why would God choose “joy” for me? Well, I am not entirely sure but that is why he is God, and I am not.

My hunch is he wants me to – Let Go and Enjoy Life More.  Yes, it feels a bit selfish and not very noble to set out for fun as a spiritual goal. However, I had the best time the other day when I turned the music loud, sang in my out of tune voice, and danced with the Lord.

God can be pretty fun!

Verses on Joy

He will once again fill your mouth with laughter
    and your lips with shouts of joy.

Job 8:21

Then I will go to the altar of God,
    to God, my joy and my delight.
I will praise you with the lyre,
    O God, my God. 

Psalm 43:4  NIV

… For the joy of the Lord is your strength.” 

Nehemiah 8:10 NIV


Maybe you don’t set spiritual goals or joy is not your word for the year. I still want to challenge you and ask,
Do you know what makes you happy?
Do you add enough of things that make you happy in your daily life?

If you are struggling with the answer, maybe you too need a little more “joy” added to your daily life. I would love to hear what makes you happy or what you choose as your word for the year. Let’s embrace our “God Goals” together and have some fun.  Click here if you want to go back to the post on Spiritual Goals. 

Do you know what makes you happy? Maybe you have forgotten or just don't do enough of it on a daily basis. If you are anything like me, more times than not, I choose productivity over the things that make me happy. It is not all wrong but if you tip the scales too far one way it just might be.
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  1. Reply

    Do You Really Want to Be Happy? | Embracing the Unexpected

    […] “Joy” on my heart as a spiritual goal, I was perplexed as I told you in my post, “Do You Know What Makes You Happy?” Click here to read. I was happy and joyful. What I didn’t understand was God wanted even more […]

  2. Reply

    Donna Reidland

    I know I’m guilty of not taking time for the things that make me happy! The one I’m best at is spending time with family, but I don’t read enough just for enjoyment, I haven’t scrapbooked in several years, and I could go on … Thanks for the gentle reminder. Blessings to you!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Donna, Thank you for listing out the things that bring you enjoyment. I need to make sure I add those to my list. Hope you are having a wonderful weekend. Maree

  3. Reply


    I love to read and have coffee with a friend, but I agree it is too easy to get caught up in what needs to be done!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Sarah, Both of the things you mentioned are things I love to do yet don’t create enough time for them. Of course, I substitute diet coke for the coffee. Hope you have a wonderful weekend. Maree

  4. Reply


    Your question makes my thought wheels turn!! Though I seek happiness I don’t often think about what it would take. Like you I’m always about productivity.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Yes, thinking about what brings us happiness can be a bit challenging. At first, nothing came to mind and then I was flooded with ideas and realized how little I do them.

  5. Reply

    Jeanne Takenaka

    Maree, you’re right. It’s easier to be productive because it can fill that affirmation/accomplishment tank. But, productivity can also empty the peace/rest/joy tank. I stopped to think a bit about what makes me happy. Here’s some of my list: Movie night with hubs, writing a first draft-fast, laughing with my boys, photography, hiking in the sunshine, coffee with friends…

    My one word for the year is Hope. I thought I knew a lot about it until God gave me this word. 🙂 I’m learning some important lessons, and God has it coming up often in my Bible reading.

    I’m visiting from Jennifer Dukes Lee’s place. So nice to “meet” you!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      You are right productivity can sure empty a person of peace, rest, and joy. I have been there and done that. Thank you for sharing what makes you happy. You know what we share many of the same things. You have challenged me to try writing a first draft-fast and see what it does for me.

      Love your word hope. I bet it will be a rewarding one. I loved learning about hope a few years back.

      Thank you for stopping by and leaving such a thoughtful comment. Maree

  6. Reply


    What a wonderful word of the year! Thanks for posing the question and sharing about this topic! Joy is one of the privileges of believers- I don’t want to squander it!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      I agree joy is a privilege! I love what you said about no squandering it. Thank you for joining the conversation. Maree

  7. Reply


    Hi Maree, Writing and praying for people makes me happy, but Find I have to break from it, to have refreshing and rest. Rest is my word, not just more rest, but finding the Jesus calm I need. He does not want other to take our joy, and I don’t know why but I was surprised that they will. I guess misery does love company.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Rest is a great word. God seems to put “be still” on my heart many years as my word. I struggle with rest. However, when I do rest I am amazed at the refreshing, creativity, and closeness I have with God. Thank you for sharing. Blessings, Maree

  8. Reply

    jennifer smith

    Having fun – simply for the sake of having fun – is certainly something I struggle with:( I, too, chose productivity and, for some reason, think of it as exclusive to fun. I am going to work on that!!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Jennifer, I can relate. I had planned on going skiing tomorrow but feel the pull of productivity calling my name. I love skiing, and it brings me so much joy. I wish you good luck on working on having fun just for the sake of it. Maree

  9. Reply

    Karrilee Aggett (@KarrileeA)

    Oh I love this for all the reasons… but mostly, because my OneWord for 2018 is Joy, as well! However, after last year – which was heavy and hard, I am so ready to embrace Joy! I do tend to schedule in things that bring me joy… but I have been feeling a pull to a few things that I pushed to the side last year in the midst of all the sadness and confusion. I’m clearing space and returning to some of those activities that truly do bring me joy! Great post – and great questions!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Karrille, I am so excited your word is the same as mine. It sounds like we may have had similar years. I too schedule in things that bring me joy, however, when I picture one of those old fashion scales with two sides I don’t think it’s in balance. I love doing what I do and helping others I would not trade that for a minute but I need to work adding a bit more fun and joy to my daily life. Thank you for stopping by and sharing. I hope we can touch base later in the year to see how we are doing with our word. Blessings, Maree

  10. Reply

    Liz Giertz

    My word is SHINE and I think properly understanding joy goes a long way toward polishing up our countenances! Blessings to you as you discover all manner of JOY in 2018!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      What a wonderful word. It made me smile. Oh, Liz, I am praying it is a year for you to shine. I agree with what you said about joy. I am looking forward to gaining a better understanding. Maree

  11. Reply


    What a great question this is to think about! We do need to pay attention to what makes us happy- and make time to include those things in our days. I had ‘joy’ as my word of the year a couple of years ago- and learned some good but unexpected things about it. This year my word is, savor.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Dawn, I can’t wait to see what God is going to teach me. I am excited! I love your word savor. Just saying it, I feel a great peace come over me. I look forward to hearing what you learn. Blessings, Maree

  12. Reply

    Sarah Geringer

    Great word choice, Maree! Mine is Believe, and it’s popping up almost every day in my Bible reading.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Sarah – I like your word! Isn’t it strange how our words pop up everywhere? I was a bit miffed that my word was ‘JOY’. I felt like I had Joy and yet I know God is trying to tell me something, but I am too stubborn to here. The week before I committed to the word the concept he was trying to tell me kept coming up everywhere, even with complete strangers. Gotta love God!

  13. Reply


    Thank you for reminding me to find joy today ! I am also a productive person and I forget to do things that make me happy . I had ankle surgery #3 ….two days ago and I’m forgetting to find the joy in spite of sorrow and pain. I’m forgetting to accept my husbands illness and remember he is doing the best he can. I’m also forgetting to ask for help from people who understand. Lastly, I’m forgetting to cry out to the Lord for help.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Oh, Lori, I am so sorry #3 ankle surgery sounds challenging. We do sound a lot alike. I struggle with asking for help too. I try to remind myself how much joy I get in helping others and I certainly wouldn’t want to rob someone else of that joy. I do find when I am physically hurting or not at my potential the best thing I can give myself is a little grace. I hope you give yourself some grace and have some fun being helped. Blessings, Maree

  14. Reply


    Letting go and enjoy life more…that is something I need to do. Blessings to you as you pursue deeper joy this year.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Barbie, I think we probably all need to let go and enjoy life a little more. I am excited to try. Blessings to you, Maree

  15. Reply


    You know, I often think of the Scripture “The joy of the Lord is your strength”, and it hits me how true this is. When we lose our joy, we are utterly defeated. The enemy gets an advantage over us, because he is such an unfair opponent, and he always kicks hardest when we are down. I think joy is a close companion of praise, and we know the enemy will not stay around where praises to God are going forth. Perhaps that is our most powerful tool to defeat the discouragement and sadness we feel. It is the hardest thing to do when grief overwhelms, but if we can somehow plow through the pain, our praises will bring joy. Jesus came to make an exchange with us…the garment of praise in exchange for our spirit of heaviness. I love your word for the year, and I trust as you seek joy, it will replace the darkness, my friend. I so look forward to your posts about grief. God bless you, my friend. 🙂

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Cheryl, I love what you had to say about joy being a close companion of praise. I agree. I also find it all closely tied to gratitude. Do you?

      I am excited about my word. It has been a heavy year, and I do see the joy all around me, so the word took me by surprise at first. However, I know I don’t add near enough joy in my life on a daily basis. I need a little more balance. It is amazing how when you add joy you are more able to do the heavy things God puts before you.


  16. Reply

    Loved by the King of kings

    P.S. My word for the year is “Speak”. You can read about it at:

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      I am so glad you left me the link to your post about your word. Wow, what a brave word. I can’t wait to hear how God uses you this year. Maree

  17. Reply

    Loved by the King of kings

    I like how you said that God can be fun! I think He has a good sense of humor, too! After all, we are created in His image!
    I love that verse, Psalm 43:4! God does not only GIVE me joy, He IS my joy. He not only gives me delight, He IS my Delight! Yes, and I think He wants us to live in that fact every day, one way or another!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      I agree he does have a great sense of humor. I am just not sure I do, but I am working on it. Great verse, I agree. Maree

      1. Reply

        Loved by the King of kings

        The Lord has definitely had a lot of work to do to get me to have a good sense of humor. We named our youngest daughter Melodie Joy, and as a strong-willed child, she made it hard for me to see, at first, how much of a fun-loving girl she is. But by God’s grace I eventually got it. Now I have a granddaughter who is so obviously fun-loving that you can’t miss it! When she gets excited about a fun event, the look on her face is one of exuberant joy!

        1. Reply

          Maree Dee

          Now that sounds like pure joy! I don’t have grandkids yet, but I love the opportunity to be around little ones. I love the way they embrace life. Enjoy your little one. Thank you for sharing about your daughter and granddaughter. It made me smile just thinking about the two of them. BLessings, Maree

  18. Reply


    Great question, Maree. A healthy, happy family is pretty much what makes me happy. I guess that’s a little different from the question you’re asking though, isn’t it? — My word this year is Remember. Not sure what God’s plans are for it, but I’ll go along for the ride. 🙂 ((Hug))

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Brenda, I love your word. I find remembering what God has done for us is key to a happy life. I used to be in the habit of writing in my journal periodically an “I remember”entry where I would write down everything he had done for me. This was helpful to look at when I was in the middle of going through difficult circumstances. However, equally important in times of ease. Thank you for stopping by, and a happy, healthy family is something great to make one happy. Blessings, Maree

  19. Reply

    Theresa Boedeker

    This reminds me of a dinner conversation I had with a friend last night. This friend is in a job move and has so many things not going right in her life currently (actually for the past few years). But she said to me. “That’s the difference between my husband and I; he is unhappy and can’t find any joy. I know all the little things that make me happy and treat I myself every day. Like tea at mealtime. Watching Victoria. Pretty pajamas. etc.” She knew the little things that made her happy and treated herself to them to fight the bad days and news she was experiencing.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Theresa, Thank you for sharing the wisdom of your friend. I love that she knows what makes her happy on a daily basis and adds them to her day. I am going to give that a whirl. Maree

  20. Reply

    Christin Baker

    What an encouraging post! I definitely think we can never have too much joy in our lives–and having fun is a great spiritual goal! My word of the year is “favor”. I pray that the joy of the Lord will continue to be your strength in 2018!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Christin, Wow, you picked a great word too. I hope I have an opportunity to hear more about your word throughout the year. Thank you for the encouragement! Have a wonderful weekend. Maree

  21. Reply


    Laughter! I’m praying for more in my life this year 😉

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Bette, I am right there with you. Right now I am praying for laughter for both of us in our day. Maree

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