Happiness versus Joy
February 21, 2016
What would you choose happiness or joy? Let’s say you can’t choose both but only one. (Hey this is my blog, I make the rules).
A dictionary definition of happiness is “a state of well-being, a pleasurable or satisfying experience”. The Bible teaches us that happiness is fleeting because it often depends on things outside of ourselves.
If you are on a dreamy vacation with someone you love and everything is bubbly (one of my favorite descriptions for wonderful, easy going, refreshing….you know what I mean). Are you happy? Probably yes.
Now let’s say you’re on the same vacation but it rains, snows, too hot… whatever, and now you cannot do any of the things you had planned. Are you happy? Probably not. You are with the same person, same destination, but now you are unhappy! (go figure).
So that vacay was dependent on the circumstance, the weather, money, food, music, golf, tennis….you get my point? You were not able to enjoy those things, so now you are not happy. (okay Princess!)
Now let’s define joy. The definition of the word “rejoice,” from which our word “joy” comes, is “to feel great delight, to welcome or to be glad.” Joy, on the other hand, is true contentment that comes from internal factors like our faith in the Lord. True joy is everlasting and not dependent upon circumstances.
Back to the bubbly vacay with the crummy circumstance, but this time you do not let the circumstance ruin your vacay! Why? Because you know how to guard your internal joy.
I had to learn this the hard way, which is not a surprise, because it is through the tough times when we hit the bottom and or break that we can discover true joy. (Oh I know that sounds like sooooo much fun)LOL
I found an acceptance of myself and an internal joy through hours of daily digging and understanding the Bible. Did you just get turned off because I mentioned Bible? Well, I like to give credit where credit is due! Get over it!
Today, my circumstances are much different than the life I knew before prison. I do not have the luxury to purchase everything I want or eat at every expensive restaurant. I am not happy all the time. But, now I guard my heart and my internal joy. Nobody is going to take it from me.
Now I understand myself even better, especially when I tell my friends….”I would not want you to go to prison, but I wish you could have experienced it.” I guess what I was trying to say was….I wish you could find your joy!
James 1:3-4 says, “Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials.” How could we ever consider going through difficulties and trials a reason to feel joy? James 1:3-4 gives us a clue when it says, “Knowing that the testing of our faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” The deep, abiding joy comes as we persevere through trials, with God’s help, and our faith matures and is strengthened.
Protector of Joy,