So far I’ve talked about praising God in the storm by taking it a bit at a time and by looking for the blessings in bad things that didn’t happen because God protected us. This week, I’d like to talk more about the difference between what is defined as joy and happiness.
Joy and happiness are often used interchangeably, but they really are two different things.
3. Remember that joy and happiness are two different things
Keep things in proper perspective. Happiness, as defined by Merriam Webster as good fortune or prosperity, a state of well-being and contentment, joy or a pleasurable or satisfying experience.
Joy is listed as the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires, delight, the expression or exhibition of such emotion, gaiety, a state of happiness or felicity, bliss, a source or cause of delight.
So happiness is dependent upon external circumstances, whereas joy exists in spite of whatever is going on around us and is a result of what’s happening on the inside. You can still have joy even though you are not happy because you can have a hope because you are in God’s will and will be rewarded in heaven even if you aren’t here on earth. You can be joyous in your strength or your endurance or your obedience even if you are unhappy about your health or your finances or your relationships.
I can’t tell you how often I’ve been unhappy about the situations I’ve found myself in. As I write this, I’m unhappy about the fact that my dh will be losing his job…again, the fact that it’s taken much more time, energy and money to get our Amazon mug business off the ground which we feel will help us during the job transition, and the fact that I still have several health issues that keep me in pain and devoid of energy. And those are just the highlights! But…though I may take time to be frustrated and sad, I know in my heart that there is a loving God who is with me and who has made a way for me beyond the temporary that is this fallen world. That is my joy despite the fact that I’m deeply unhappy with my circumstances at times.
Happy is fleeting and relies on outside forces. Joy is eternal and comes from within. Joy won’t always make you happy, but it certainly helps in times of trial.
Take some time to think about what makes you joyful as opposed to just happy.