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The Curse of Being Too Happy. By Jenna Kim Jones

By Jenna Kim Jones
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I am a stand-up comedian. When I first started out in the comedy world, I got teased all the time. Here’s why. I remember being at a comedy club years ago standing around waiting to perform when I struck up a conversation with a couple of other comics. They asked why I was hanging around the club. When I told them I was also a stand-up, they didn’t believe me. One of them said, “No, you’re not one of us. You are way too happy.”

This accusation has followed me for years like a curse—the curse of being “too happy.” The truth is, I am a very happy person. Whether it’s in a joke, a song, or something funny a friend said, I feel entitled to be happy. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “We were created with the express purpose and potential of experiencing a fulness of joy. Our birthright—and the purpose of our great voyage on this earth—is to seek and experience eternal happiness.”

Before I got married, I was very happy—so happy I thought maybe I didn’t even really need to get married. I had an awesome job at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, I lived in the greatest city in the world, New York City, and I had friends and family I knew I could always count on. I was fine, perfectly content. Plus, dating was hard! And more often than not, it caused me pain. So when I met my husband, I wasn’t looking for a relationship. In fact, I blew him off at first. Thankfully, he was persistent and we ended up going on a date. He was my age, we had more in common than I ever imagined, and dating him felt so right. But that didn’t mean I wasn’t nervous about marriage. The problem with having all this happiness was that I was afraid of losing it. I didn’t understand that there was more of it in store for me.

A week after my husband and I were married in the Provo Utah Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we found ourselves starting a new life in a new city. Moving to Los Angeles from New York City and giving up what I thought was the perfect single life was a challenge. It was so much change so quickly! I was afraid of losing my identity. I was in an unknown place with no job. It could’ve been really easy to slip into a depression. However, I kept going. I started doing stand-up again, I wrote, joined a gym, made some friends, and served in my new congregation. And best of all, every day I got to hang out with my best friend, my husband. Marriage was awesome! I felt more confident every day, knowing I had someone who knew me so well, who had my back, and who supported my goals. While I look back on my single life and remember it fondly, it doesn’t compare to the happiness I feel now, knowing that I am married to my husband forever. Instead of feeling like I gave up my life in New York City, I have new goals and dreams. My career took off, and as of now, I’ve accomplished more than I ever thought I would.

My husband and I recently celebrated our three-year anniversary. Three fantastic years! We are expecting our first baby in November. Now let me be clear, I always knew I wanted to be a mom but not because I felt any kind of strong maternal desire. In fact, while I love my 15 nieces and nephews, I also love seeing them go home with their parents. Changing diapers, early bedtimes, crying babies? No, thanks! The reality is I wanted to be a mother because I felt like I was meant to be one, like it was my duty as a woman. And of course, as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I always felt it was an obligation. “Multiply and replenish the earth,” right? I’m starting to understand that motherhood is so much more than changing diapers, early bedtimes, and crying babies and so much more than just an obligation.

Before we got pregnant, my husband and I sat down and had a heart-to-heart about having a baby. Because I had never felt this strong desire to have one, I was nervous about taking the next step. My husband, on the other hand, had been excited about starting a family for a while. I was afraid to get pregnant because I didn’t want to rock the boat. That is, I didn’t want our lives to change. We were REALLY happy. My career was going so well. We had so much freedom to pick up and go! Let’s get real; gaining weight didn’t sound all that appealing either. I didn’t know if I was willing to give up the life I had. And worst of all, because of personal experience with my parents’ divorce, I was afraid that having a child would mean an inevitable decline in my marriage. My husband was incredibly understanding and didn’t take offense to my concerns. After talking to him openly and honestly, I decided I was ready to take the plunge, thinking it would take us months to get pregnant anyway. We got pregnant about a month later. And since then, the anxiety I felt about losing the happiness we created is gone. I’m filled with hope that our baby girl (yes, a girl!) is going to bring us a new kind of happiness that we’ve never felt before.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not one of those people who is perpetually happy. We’ve all met endlessly perky people who look like they live the charmed life and thought, “ugh.” I’ve been faced with many trials from divorce, illness, and more. I realize that while I feel exceptionally happy, there will be times in my life when I will again face profound sadness. There have been many nights when I’ve thought, “What will life bring me next?” But then I look at my husband and the life we’ve built together so far or I feel my baby kick inside of me, and I know everything is going to be OK. The curse of being happy strikes again!

I’ve realized that throughout all of these major life changes, the source of my happiness has remained consistent. In the Book of Mormon it reads, “And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it” (Mosiah 2:41). My source of happiness comes from following God’s plan. Whether that’s in marriage or starting a family or even something as simple as serving as a church volunteer, or being kind to a stranger, when I’ve put my faith first, happiness tends to follow. My marriage is excellent. My career is better. My willingness to get through trials is so much greater. And best of all, I find hope a lot more easy to come by. I know that happiness isn’t a curse. “Happiness is [my] heritage.”

Jenna Kim Jones Moss is a stand-up comedian, podcaster, happy wife, soon-to-be mom, and, of course, a Mormon. She lives with her husband, Allan Moss, in Los Angeles, California.

Find Jenna online at JennaKimJones.com, listen to her podcast, or follow her on Twitter.