WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HAPPINESS AND JOY?
Yes! There is a difference. Although we tend to use these words interchangeably, they are worlds apart. Happiness describes a temporal emotion which can come and go faster than you can read this post. Joy describes a long-term state of being.
Happiness is external. It’s based on other people, circumstances, events and things that are not in your direct control. Happiness is linked with your hope for a promotion, or your love interest liking you back, or your favorite team beating the Eagles. Your happiness, or unhappiness, depends on how closely your expectations match reality. If “how things should be” is different then “how things are” – you will be unhappy.
So if your year-end bonus exceeds your expectation, that will make you happy. You are sad when you don’t receive one. You will be happy if your dating interest seems genuinely anxious to spend time with you. But sad when she flakes on your big date. You are happy when Tony Romo throws 5 touchdowns and Philly ‘Fears the Star.’ You are unhappy when the network switches to ice skating in the third quarter because the Eagles are up, 47-3.
Joy, however, is internal. It is present in the Lives of those who know their Truth and possess an abundance of Love. Joy exists even when one is unhappy. A good example is a soon-to-be-mother who is unhappy while in the pain of labor, but joyous to deliver a beautiful child. There are times when life is filled with sorrow and even misery (unhappiness), but it is still great to be alive. (Joy)
There were two dudes wrongfully sent to prison. There were no windows. You couldn’t walk around. You were shackled underneath the Town of Philippi until you died. Faced with this unbearable reality, these guys burst out singing. Why? Because they couldn’t help themselves. They Lived in Joy and thus complete freedom. They were not ‘happy’ to be in prison. But prison was merely a circumstance. In didn’t define them. They lived in Truth and in Love, and thus Joy was their reality!
Complete Freedom is Joy.
Silas and Paul understood that complete freedom is joy. They knew that gratitude for what one has – instead of covetousness for what one lacks, makes all the difference in Life. A Joyous state produces a fulfillment and satisfaction with life that cannot be shattered or shaken. Joy, true joy, never depends on a number in your bank account, the current weather conditions, or what model car you drive. To live in joy, is to consistently think about the person we wish to become and take daily action to become that person. If we do, we will find joy, peace and freedom. . .
. . . whether we are on top of the world . . . or chained in a cold, bleak, dank, hopeless, lifeless prison.
Life will chain you in that Philippi prison every now and then. When we lose someone we love, a relationship ends, or the inevitable struggles and frustrations of this world occur. The best way to regain your joy is to take a few minutes to reflect on the things for which you have cause to be thankful. Gratitude is an incredible joy producer.
And burst out in Joyful singing!
From my heart to yours,