Receive Joy. Choose Happiness.
Joy vs. Happiness. I have never quite understood why anyone would want to pit happiness against joy rather than making a decision to enjoy both. I’ve wondered this for the past couple years as I’ve had so many tell me that happiness isn’t necessary; all you need is joy. I can’t say I agree with this but it also could be true. But why does it matter?
There are plenty of things I don’t need but I still enjoy. I need spinach and other dark green veggies. But I enjoy a delightful warm spinach salad with hard boiled eggs, red onions, and applewood smoked bacon. I need clothes to wear and shelter over my head. But I enjoy a comfy pair of jeans or yoga pants and an insulated residence with four walls and a heater.
I could never understand why it was so important for people to make such a distinction. And what was even more confusing was those usually making this distinction are the very ones who seem the least happy in their own lives. Then one day it finally hit me. If joy is a fruit of God’s Spirit and happiness is the fruit of our own choices, joy becomes an easy scapegoat for those who would prefer not to accept responsibility for their own happiness.
I love people. I love seeing everyone succeed. And even more, I love seeing everyone happy. But so few live a life that would fall under such a category. Why is that? It’s something that continues to boggle my mind because happiness is the birthright of each of us. It is an emotion that we can choose to feel at any moment of our lives.
When my father passed away recently, all six of his children went on the stage to thank everyone for coming out and helping us send him home in grand fashion. After our only brother spoke on the family’s behalf (poor Dad, he had 5 girls in the house), a photographer asked us to stand together and take a picture.
A week later, my mom gave me a copy of the picture and said, “If I didn’t know better, I’d think you guys were at a party!” She said this with a smile on her face because she knew we’d chosen happiness and received joy in the midst of it all and decided we wanted to celebrate him as he most desired. We didn’t hide our pain. We simply allowed our joy and happiness to override it.
If you didn’t join us yesterday, I encourage you to take a minute to read the daily blog post, It Takes More Than God to Be Happy. And even more importantly, if you weren’t able to join us on Tuesday, you’ll want to know why Seeing the World Through a Prism of Faith is so beneficial for your life, love and health.
On this 20th day of our 21 Days to a Happier You, I want to encourage you to not get caught up in the semantics of joy vs. happiness. Choose both. Double your lot in life -in the best way possible. And don’t settle for anything less than everything this life has to offer you, including happiness.
Whether we want to admit it or not, happiness is a choice. So for the sake of your own life, choose it this very moment and every moment hereafter.
Until tomorrow…make it a great day!
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