Updated: Jan 15
I don't want to just be happy. I want more. I want joy.
I want joy. The type you see on a kid's face when he rushes down on Christmas morning to rip open their presents. I want the type of joy you get when you walk into grandma's house and have whatever baked good she is famous for is waiting for you on the table. I want joy that will help me realize when I am in the good times and help me get through the bad times.
“Pursuing happiness feels overrated because happiness is fleeting and attached to experiences. I want joy which seems like a deeper emotion that is attached to something greater than ourselves.”
I am convinced there are distinct differences between happiness and joy. I also believe both of these feelings have distinct functions and their purposes vary within the framework of our story. There is nothing wrong with happiness. Who doesn't love being happy? However, I am convinced that happiness may not be our final pursuit or the ultimate feeling we are searching for.
Happiness lifts us high for a moment, joy is an anchor that keeps us grounded in truth.
"I just want to be happy," is a statement we all have said multiple times in our lives and it's a longing most of us have every day. Happiness never seems to last. When that experience is over that brought happiness to us in the first place we feel a lull in our euphoria. To just pursue happiness seems less like a journey and more like a task that will lead us to disappointment. So if we would prefer joy, then it begs the question, "what is the source of our joy?" No matter what source I seek to discover joy, if that source is not Jesus, I find myself woefully disappointed.
Happiness at its very core is an emotional response to an outside stimulus. Joy at its very core is a trust in something greater than ourselves. When I met Christ at 20 years old, difficult times still followed. The struggle to get through hard situations still existed. However, this time I was able to endure with confidence because I had the joy of knowing that I am accepted by Christ. No matter the situation or my response to the problem, I know I was loved by Christ. The joy of knowing Christ did not just help me through difficult times, but helped me celebrate mountain top experiences fully because I knew those experiences where not of my own making. Happiness is a byproduct of joy. It's not the goal, just one of the rewards. It's tiring having your happiness bound to circumstances, yet so freeing having your joy anchored to Jesus. I want to be happy and try to find happiness everyday. However, it's joy that is more than a positive attitude, outcome, or situation. The joy of Christ sustains until the end of the story.