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A Happy Place

I am traveling this week and wanted to share one of my previous post on finding 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 schoolgirl 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.”
Happy Place

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 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 think Disney is one of the happiest places, my experience 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.

[bctt tweet=”Our joy comes from the knowledge and fellowship of Jesus.”]

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 amid 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 resides deep and overcomes any other emotions from the world. The joy Christ plants within us is never temporary, unlike 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 we will spend eternity with our Lord and Savior in the end. 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. We also will be with all the saints who have gone before us.

[bctt tweet=”The joy planted in our hearts prepares us for the comfort that will last for all eternity.”]

Prayers for a happy place


My Lord and Savior. Please help me to seek you as my source of happiness. Teach me that the world only offers me empty promises. Please fill my heart with Your Joy even as problems surround me. Thank you, Lord. Amen.


Yvonne M. Morgan is an author, blogger, and speaker.

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.”

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This Post Has 64 Comments

  1. Lisa Q

    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. Vivian Zabel

    Yvonne, I needed this today. Thank you for sharing a message that those like me need to read.

    1. Yvonne

      I needed it too. Thanks Vivian. I appreciate your comment and God bless

  3. thisgratefulmama

    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.

    1. Yvonne

      Thanks for visiting. I agree with you that chasing happiness can cost us so much. Godly joy is the only way. God bless

  4. Anne Mackie Morelli

    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

  5. Marcie Cramsey

    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

  6. 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!

    1. Yvonne

      Thanks Peggy. My word for 2019 is joy so really wanted to share how it is different. God bless

  7. Claudio Morelli

    As I read your post the verse from James 1:2 came to mind. “My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy”. Thank you for your post.

  8. Jessica Brodie

    You are so right – even Disney cannot compare to what God has in store for us in heaven! Thanks for this!

    1. Yvonne

      Thanks Jessica. I think you are so correct. God bless

  9. nancyehead

    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!

    1. Yvonne

      Thank you Nancy. I really like going to Disney too especially with the grandchildren. God bless

  10. Kim

    Wonderful reminder that we can have the joy of the Lord despite our circumstances! Thank you!

    1. Yvonne

      Thanks for commenting Kim. I appreciate your thoughts in the subject on joy. God bless

  11. Yvonne

    Thanks Claudio. Great verse as an example. I appreciate your thoughts. God bless

  12. 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. Yvonne

      Thank you Emily. I love when God gives real life stories to share His truth for others to see.

      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!

  13. mimionlife

    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.

    1. Yvonne

      Thanks Melissa. I love thinking about God collecting our tears, it does comfort me. God bless

  14. lisamurrayblog

    Yes, happiness and joy are definitely not the same. So thankful to have a relationship with Christ that is the source of joy abundant! Blessings, Yvonne!

    1. Yvonne

      Thank you Lisa. We are blessed that Jesus seeks us to be in relationship with Him. God bless

  15. ilooktojesus

    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

  16. Melissa McLaughlin

    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.

    1. Yvonne

      Amen Melissa. We must look to the only name that can truly give us a future, Jesus. God bless

  17. Julie

    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!

    1. Yvonne

      It is easy to forget Julie, especially when life is going well. God bless

  18. 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

  19. Melinda Viergever Inman

    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

  20. Stephen De La Vega

    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.

    1. Yvonne

      Amen Stephen. God is so good to us. God bless

  21. karentfriday

    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.

    1. Yvonne

      Amen. True joy is what feeds our souls and keeps us going through the valley. God bless

  22. 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.

    1. Yvonne

      You are very welcome Christina. Our anchor will hold strong with Jesus. God bless

  23. 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

  24. Michelle Wuesthoff

    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!

    1. Yvonne

      Thanks Michelle. I appreciate your thoughts. We are so blessed that no one can rob us of our joy. God bless

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  26. antonia_

    I definitely need to go to Disneyworld after reading this! Great post

  27. Yvonne

    Thanks Antonia.

  28. Janice D. Green

    What a vivid way to contrast happiness that is temporary and shallow with joy that runs deep and is eternal.

    1. Yvonne Morgan

      Thanks Janice. Only God can offer us a true joy. God bless

  29. Ava Pennington

    A timely reminder on where to find joy in the current state of our culture.

  30. Melinda Viergever Inman

    For certain, heaven is the happiest place, rather than Disney World. I’m sorry you received such bad news in the middle of the “happiest place” and broke down in tears. I can imagine. I love how you summarized why our hope is in the Lord and what the outcome of that hope is: “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 we will spend eternity with our Lord and Savior in the end.” Beautiful description, Yvonne!

    1. Yvonne Morgan

      Amen and hallelujah Melinda. The thought of going to the real happiest place in the universe is what keeps me going in the dark days. Thanks for commenting and God bless.

  31. Jessica Brodie

    I love Disney, too, and I even got to go recently in spite of the pandemic! (They did a GREAT job with masks and social distancing.) But you are right – even the happiest place on earth isn’t perfect. As you said, happiness “is a fleeting emotion, one that is blown by the winds of turmoil.” Thank God for the forever JOY and HOPE we have in Christ in spite of all we go through in life.

    1. Yvonne Morgan

      We just visited Disney again recently and it was great with the smaller crowds. Happiness is fun and uplifting but so temporary. We can only find lasting joy with Jesus. Thanks Jessica and God bless.

  32. karentfriday

    We love Disney World, but haven’t been in years. I even got to experience Disneyland in CA once. So I love your analogy here and the contrast between joy and happiness. Thankful how joy runs deep when we know Christ as Lord and Savior!

    1. Yvonne Morgan

      So very true Karen. Joy runs so much deeper than happiness. Thank you Jesus for teaching us about true joy. We love Disney too and visited again recently. I love being a big kid when I am there. Thanks and God bless.

  33. Melissa McLaughlin

    Such a powerful story, Yvonne. I remember when you shared this in the past and I was blessed to read it again. Happiness in this life is based on our circumstances, but soul fulfillment that lasts forever can only be found in Christ.

    1. Yvonne Morgan

      I like your phrase “soul fulfillment.” It describes the Joy we find in Christ so well. Thanks for commenting and God bless Melissa.

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