Happiness and Joy

Yesterday in church, I sang Jesus You're the Center of My Joy by Richard Smallwood. It got me to thinking about the differences between Joy and Happiness. If you had asked me when I was younger, I was so concerned with finding happiness that I totally ignored the concept of joy altogether. I thought they were one in the same. Boy, way I wrong. Through the years, I have found that the things that I thought made me happy brought me no joy whatsoever. Why? because things/people/places/experiences... cannot bring you joy. Joy comes from the inside. While happy is nice. It's a great emotion! Happy is fun. Happiness is sometimes a residual effect of having joy. But true Joy can exist in circumstances that may not necessarily make you happy. Joy is the internal perspective that tells you that no matter what, things will be alright and while it may not be what you want... you surely are secure that you have all that you need. Joy is the unwavering knowledge that you can have peace in all situations.

I'll give you an example: A few weeks ago ( about a month now) I was having a paricularly difficult time. My transmission in my van busted, had to spend money I was saving for a different purpose to fix it. I had just exhausted my main source of income. Wasn't "happy" at all with my circumstances, so I'm going to church to pray about it, right? Sunday morning, I'm running late already. I pull out of my driveway in my car and BOOM!!! A speedng car hits me as I'm making the turn out of my driveway.(Yes, I looked both ways...anybody who knows me, knows I'm cautious to a fault) Now with all the other stuff that was going on, was I happy? NOPE! But I did have a level of joy knowing that my family was safe and no one was hurt, I have good insurance so the damages can be covered. ( yes, I was cited too... so I got a ticket too)... and that since I survived, there was always a chance for things to get better. While the situation was externally stressful. Digging deep to find the center of my Joy, gave me peace in being able to handle the situation gracefully and with a positive attitude.

Years ago, when I was chasing happy... A period like this might have sent me tailspinning into depression... but that is the difference between happiness and joy. While it's great to find and do stuff that makes you happy; and be around people that make you happy... understand that you need to find a source of joy from within that allows you to deal positively with all things at all times... I wish you both Joy and Happiness!

Much Love,

Carmen

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