A Happy Place

Disney World claims to be the “Happiest Place on Earth, ” and I don’t think too many people would disagree with their proclamation. I love Disney World. Standing in the parks makes me feel like a child once again. Ears firmly attached to my head, I run between attractions. I giggle like a school girl as I wait to see Mickey Mouse. I am not alone in these feelings as I watch hundreds of other adults descend back into their childhoods. Laughter fills the air around me and smiles stretch from one ear to the other. Disney is a happy place.

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Sadness and heartache darken the souls across our world, and Disney World is not immune to some of these problems. I remember bouncing around Epcot one day when my cell phone rang unexpectedly. The hospital, where my mother was recouping from an infection, called to inform me her condition was deteriorating quickly. Hospice was needed and the outlook bleak. I stood by the Mexican area of Epcot and cried. Not gentle tears, but sobs of anguish that flowed in torrents down my cheeks. My heart, torn asunder, as a thousand miles separated me from my mom’s bedside. Disney World was no longer the happiest place on earth for me. They could do nothing to change my circumstances at that moment.

1 Timothy 4:10 “That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.”

Happiness does not last. Happiness is a fleeting emotion, one that is blown by the winds of turmoil. Even though I believe Disney is one of the happiest places, my experience with my mom showed me that even their signature happiness is temporary. Before you sink into despair under the weight of the world’s problems, know there is hope for something better.

Our joy comes from the knowledge and fellowship of Jesus. Click To Tweet

Joy, for the Christian heart, provides a different feeling than happiness. A definition of joy from John Piper states “Christian joy is a feeling in the soul, produced by the Holy Spirit, as he causes us to see the beauty of Christ in the word and the world.” We can experience this feeling even in the midst of an emotional breakdown in the middle of Epcot. My mom knew Jesus as her savior, so my joy during the pain came from knowing I will see her again one day. The joy feeling resides deep and overcomes any other emotions from the world. The joy Christ plants within us is never temporary like the happiness of Disney.

Psalm 30:5 “For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”

Where does this joy come from in our troubled world? Our joy comes from the knowledge and fellowship of Jesus. When we know Jesus on a personal level, we know His joy. No matter what happens to us, the joy remains. We still cry and experience sadness in our lives, but Christ provides hope for better things to come. Even if we struggle with pain or heartache throughout our entire life, we know that in the end, we will spend eternity with our Lord and Savior. I would even go so far as to proclaim that Heaven will be the happiest place in the universe. The joy planted in our hearts prepares us for the comfort that will last for all eternity with Jesus and all the saints who have gone before us.

The joy planted in our hearts prepares us for the comfort that will last for all eternity. Click To Tweet


Yvonne, Blogger, speaker, and author

Matthew 28:19 “Therefore, GO and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

Additional Resources:

What is Joy

Definition of Joy

My Story

Learn about my work with orphans


52 thoughts on “A Happy Place

  1. I love Disney World, too! I wonder if Walt Disney’s original intent was to create a place that would produce in us a sense of heaven… where nothing but good things happen. But as you so aptly point out, we are not in heaven yet, and this life is definitely a mixed bag. I love the definition of Joy – that is so true! Joy is not the same thing as happiness, and many often conflate the two. But joy does come from faith in Christ and I can’t imagine living without that. Bless you! Lisa Q

    1. Yvonne

      Thanks Lisa. It can be so easy, when life is good, to think this is heaven. But those good times don’t last and without joy, we crash quickly. God bless

  2. Oh, Disney World is indeed a special place where much happiness is experienced. I agree this happiness is temporary. And comes at a pretty hefty literal cost. What a gift the joy of the Lord is, who gives it freely to His children, a gift of grace by His Spirit.

  3. Yvonne, the world tends to seek personal fulfillment and happiness in so many different ways – including going to Disney Land. And as you so aptly point out, all these earthly pursuits only fill us temporarily. Because they cannot prevent the hurdles, losses, trials we will inevitably face throughout our lifetime. Only Jesus can fill us and sustain us with joy throughout both the highs and lows of life. Thanks for the post!

    1. Yvonne

      Amen Anne. I pray we can reflect our eternal joy to the world so they can learn where they can go for fulfillment. God bless

  4. Places like Disney do create space for a little happiness on earth. But it does not last. Nothing lasts like knowing Jesus. I’m so sorry you had to experience such heartache while you were there. Thank you for sharing your story with us! Love the scriptures!

    1. Yvonne

      Thanks Marcie. I really made me realize how fleeting happiness can be in this world. Everlasting joy only comes from Christ. God bless

  5. Peggy Bodde

    My intentions for 2019 are to trust and choose joy! Your story about being at Disney and receiving the news about your mom was a perfect example of how temporary “happy” can be. Your post reminds me that there’s much to remain joyful about – despite hardships and grief. I drank up each scripture you cited. Thank you!

  6. I have such wonderful memories from Disney World with family I don’t usually get to see otherwise. Hope to get back there again soon. But you’re right about happiness and joy. Great post. God bless!

  7. Emily Saxe | To Unearth

    Yes, so very true! I love that you share a concrete example of the difference between happiness and joy, although I’m so sorry it had to come through your mother’s health. Thank you for sharing your heart to bring us truth!

      1. Emily Saxe | To Unearth

        Yes, and I love that we can also find comfort in knowing Jesus has real life examples of going through pain and joy as well!

  8. I love Disney World, too. Very true that happiness can change to sorrow at any moment. I am thankful God is with us in good times and in bad times. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Being at a happy place and receiving sad news is very stressful. We can be comforted knowing our tears are collected by Him.

  9. This was so hard to read, I could feel your pain, but I’m so glad that we have Jesus! Truly every thing on this earth is temporal, joys, gifts, beauty, deteriorating bodies. If we had not Him and the glorious resurrection and His promises to look forward to, what a miserable place this would be despite Disney Land 😉 Never been, by the way!

    1. Yvonne

      Thanks for visiting and commenting. God is teaching me to store up my treasures in heaven because everything earthly is temporary. You need to visit Disney at least once 😊. God bless

  10. Yvonne, this was a perfect description of how worldly happiness cannot sustain us. I love Disenyworld, too! But nothing can replace the love of Jesus and the assurance that He has won us to His family for all eternity.

  11. Thank you for reminding us that joy doesn’t come from a happy life or getting everything we desire but in the relationship with our Savior! It’s easy to forget this!

  12. stepmomshawn

    What a wonderful post, Yvonne. Yes, this life is full of happy times and hard times. But if we believe in Christ, we know heaven is waiting for us. I’m so sorry for your loss, but your mom is in a better place and will be waiting for you when your time comes.

    1. Yvonne

      Thank you Shawn. I am learning to praise God in both the happy and the hard times because He is always with us and caring for us. And it is beautiful to think of reuniting with our loved ones some day. God bless

  13. You captured the essence of joy and happiness in the Lord in perfect contrast to the heartache and pain of this world. I’m so sorry about your mother. Your words allow us to imagine the juxtaposition of giggling joy alongside weeping and mourning. This is life. Without Christ, we are at the whims of our broken humanity. But, Jesus. Your post is filled with the hope, love, peace, and joy that we have in Christ. A great post, Yvonne!

    1. Yvonne

      Thanks Melinda. It is so important to show our broken humanity where they can find joy and only Christ can offer it. God bless

  14. Hi Yvonne. I love that joy is an emotion and a response that surpasses anything that would counter it…when we allow it to. Sorry about the news you received when the day was supposed to be a happy one. I’m so glad God remains with us with loving arms. Praise God that your mom is with Him now.

  15. Yvonne, I haven’t been to Disney in years, but I agree to reverting back to our childhood and being kids at heart. You know, I have never heard Piper’s quote on joy, but I so love it! How true that real joy is produced by the Holy Spirit.

  16. Christina


    We live close to Disneyland, but I hope to go to Disneyworld with the kids someday!
    Definitely sadness can happen at the “happiest place on earth” – in fact sometimes I think my sadness is amplified in surroundings that are overly happy.

    But how beautiful is that joy, that hope, that we have in Jesus. No loss, no death, no more tears one day. All this, fleeting happiness and all shall pass. And then we will have just that peace, joy, and the fulfillment of hope.

    Thanks for the reminder of where to put my anchor.

  17. stephaniemgammon

    I think I’m the odd one out. I don’t like Disney World. :). But I do love this post. Thank you for providing insight into what can be a confusing subject. I love the way you explained joy vs happiness.

    1. Yvonne

      Thanks Stephanie. You are not alone, I have some cousins that don’t like Disney either. Thank you for visiting and God bless

  18. Great article! I’m a Disney lover too, and I have often though that what we feel and see there is like a little glimpse into Heaven—or maybe just the outer courts of Heaven! But, your point is well-taken. Happiness is fleeting, and joy is something much deeper and more permanent. Joy helps bridge the gap during those seasons in the valley. Thank you for sharing this with us!

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