Happiness…joy…happiness…joy. Are they the same thing or aren't they? What do you think? What is the difference between happiness and joy?
Now, I used to think that if I had a million dollars I would be happy. So, I set out to make a million dollars (and, surprise surprise I never did). Would that million dollars have solved all of my ‘problems' and made me happy? (We will never know will we). What I do know is this…if I would have relied on that money being the source or ALL that I needed and desired…I would have still been a sad and miserable person. Because as the old saying goes ‘Money can't buy happiness' and money was NOT the root cause of what ailed me for sure!
The difference between happiness and joy lives in the mind and the heart.
Happiness is what happens TO us. Happiness is something that we look for, desire and/or pursue…but it is totally based on external factors. If you did not get what you wanted or a situation did not go according to plan…you are not happy,
Joy, on the other hand, is a choice that you make. You CHOOSE joy regardless of what happened or did not happen. Joy happens when you can make peace with who you are, what you have, and what you think are lacking/missing.
Joy is not a byproduct of happiness. Happiness does not bring joy. Joy is much greater than happiness. Scripture tells us: ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control; Against such things there is now law.' Galatians 5:22-23. Joy is a byproduct of faith in God.
Now, you may not believe what the Bible has to say on the subject and that's ok. Regardless of what you believe, joy is inside everyone. It is your untapped reservoir of potential. The potential to look beyond all the stuff of life and to look inward and what is inside of YOU. Rather than living in a state of misery or unhappiness, you CHOOSE joy.
Joy does not mean that everything is swept under the carpet.
It does not mean that you can't feel sadness, anger, or fear. It DOES mean that joy can, and will, share a space with all of the other emotions. You can feel sad and choose joy…both at the same time.
Happiness is not there when you face difficulty, sadness or fear. Happiness relies on the things of life to be going according to the way you think they should. Your perceptions of good…brings happiness. On the other hand, joy will bring to life peace and contentment, even in the face of unhappiness.
Sometimes it's hard to find joy, right?
When you combine happiness and joy…if happiness is fleeting and elusive…you forget to choose joy. Maybe it's easier to watch tv, kick back and drink some alcohol, take drugs or eat your way to what you are seeking. Rather than shifting your mind from the ‘glass half empty' mentality to the ‘glass half full' mentality.
Spend some time seeking to find reasons to be grateful and thankful. And, once you find those reasons, and hang onto them, you will find gratitude. Once you find gratitude…choosing joy is not far behind.
Sometimes you might need to do something different in order to clear your head and mind so that you can find the joy. Such as:
Going for a walk. Studies have shown that going for a walk releases the calming parts of your brain. Which then lets you let go of the negative ways of thinking.
Writing in your daily gratitude journal (click HERE for your FREE Gratitude Journal). Beginning each day (or ending each day) by recording all the reasons you are grateful and thankful does not leave much room for all the negatives.
Starting your day off, or ending your day, with your quiet time with God. He tells us to be still.
Turn off social media. All of those highlight reels and photos are just that. HIGH lights. No one typically posts a photo of them fighting with their husband, their house that is a non-magazine worthy mess, or their kids misbehaving. When you are caught in the trap of comparison social media robs you of your contentment every time you take a look.
So, what is the difference between happiness and joy?
Happiness is fleeting and can end at any given moment. Happiness relies on external factors. Joy does not rely on personal gain, what you have, see or feel. Joy comes from within. Biblical joy comes from the overwhelming emotion of thankfulness. Thankfulness that Jesus died on the cross to save you from your sins.
Happiness is a pleasure. Because it relies on external factors, if those factors are not there…neither is happiness. Joy, on the other hand, is a sacrifice. Joy means letting go of those expectations of others. It means letting go of your perceived wants/needs. It means to choose others before yourself. If you have ever participated in a Random Act of Kindness you might know what I mean.
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INCLUDED - My Party Planner! Put your party hat on and plan with confidence! Grab yours before they are gone!
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