Daily Archives: December 4, 2013

Happiness or Joy

Happiness or Joy. Which do you choose?

When I had the revelation that happiness and joy were two completely different things, my eyes were opened in so many ways. At first, you might wonder how they could possibly be two different things. Allow me to define:

Happiness is a feeling. It is temporary. It is capable of being affected by outside forces. It is dependent on our circumstances and positions. It is replaceable. It is inconsistent and flighty. It is emotional. It is often beyond our choice and power.

Joy is a sense of being. It is permanent. It is not dependent on our circumstances and it is not affected by outside forces. It is within our power to control. It is congruent with contentment. It is practical. It is our choice. It is steadfast and trustworthy.

When I discovered this, I made up my mind to work on developing my joy rather than my happiness. Joy happens when we make the decision to be joyful. We can be joyful in bad situations. Joy involves:

  • being content with our current circumstances
  • having an optimistic attitude
  • learning to say “oh well” and brushing off mistakes
  • focusing on the good elements
  • being thankful
  • smiling and being nice, even when inside we feel angry or sad (that includes family and friends, not just strangers)
  • being aware of our strengths and gifts and involving ourselves in them
  • being hopeful
  • giving back to others/serving (this impacts you so much)
  • forgiving ourselves
  • making decisions (even if it’s the wrong one; it’s better than doing nothing at all)
  • staying active (physically and socially)
  • having goals (even if they’re small; you need something to go after)
  • remembering God

Happiness is certainly not a bad thing, but do not put too much dependence on it. Be thankful for and relish the moments when you’re happy, but focus on being joyful. When the happiness passes, you need not be upset or worry. You’ll still have a reason to smile 🙂