There are a lot of things that make me happy. Things like puppies and kitties and chunky little babies, reading and running and browsing through antique shops. Things like freshly baked cookies and falling asleep to the sound or rain, watching the Bachelor finale (shallow, I know) and looking up YouTube videos of people falling (mean, I know). But these things only last so long and only make me happy for a short amount of time. We’ll call them temporary pleasures for the sake of this post. And although I enjoy them and they do bring a smile to my face, they don’t compare to the things…
…that bring me joy. Oh the things that bring me joy! I can (and probably will) go on and on and ON about these things. Things like nature and yoga and coffee dates with old friends. Laughing until my stomach hurts (or until I start snorting), late night drives with my momma, or witnessing the miracles of our good good Father. THESE are the things that light my heart on fire, the things that make me think, “I am so happy to be alive.” They’re soul filling, long lasting, and give me not only a short term burst of pleasure, but a long term effect of joy.
I decided to write this post because I feel like our world is confused on what is happiness and what is joy. Happiness and joy are not interchangeable words. You can’t switch them out like you could couch or sofa, dinner or supper, water or H20. They are two completely different things with completely different meanings. And the easiest way to sum it up is something like this:
Happiness: “temporary pleasures”, things that bring you pleasure for a short time, AKA “desires of the flesh/worldly desires” in the Christian world
Joy: things that light your soul on fire, things that MATTER, a sense of peace and fulfillment that never goes away DESPITE your circumstances, “good vibes/good energy” for all you spiritual badasses
Happiness is fleeting. If I see a puppy, I’m happy. If the puppy runs away, I’m sad.
But joy, joy is eternal. Joy comes from our Father. Joy comes from knowing that He is in control regardless of how out of control our life may seem. Joy is an attitude, a decision, something you FEEL deep down in your soul. Joy is being able to see a puppy and feel happy, but still maintaining that state of joy when the puppy runs away.
The things of this world don’t offer that kind of joy. It is only something we can get from the man upstairs. The world tries to convince us that we once we get XYZ (a six pack, a boyfriend, a job), we will be happy. And I’m here to tell you that’s bullshit. Yep, you heard me. The world is lying to you.
Those things will not bring you lasting happiness. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not a bad thing to have goals for yourself and want to find your soulmate or a career you love or buy a house of your own. Those things in and of themselves are not wrong. But relying on those things to make you happy, to make you JOYFUL, to give you a lasting sense of peace and purpose – THAT is where the problem is.
Often times, I find joy in the little things. I find joy when I’m on top of a mountain, marveling at the craftsmanship of our Father. I find joy when little kids laugh (is that not the cutest thing EVER), or when someone I love is smiling and they look so beautiful, or when I feel deeply connected to a song or a poem or a piece of art. Those are the things you have to seek out, the tiny miracles that add up to a life of joy.
The important thing to remember is that joy is not determined by your current circumstance. It’s not a puppy. You can be in a really crappy situation, but still feel a sense of joy within. I know that’s hard to wrap your head around, especially when life gets tough – when the thoughts won’t stop or the tears keep falling or the depression is paralyzing, it’s TOUGH. But I can tell you because I have been there that the joy of the Lord is the only thing that has kept me going during those times. The. Only. Thing
“Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” -Nehemiah 8:10
It makes me sad when I think about the world we’re in and how so many people are lost in the temporary pleasures it gives. People do anything they can to fill the void, to try to be happy. They stay out late at clubs and drink themselves to sleep, they self-medicate or smoke or party party party. They’re so desperately seeking for something that will fill them up, something that will make them feel less empty. But those things they’re seeking won’t do that. They’ll only make them feel more depleted. I’m here to tell you that there is one thing, or rather, one person that can bring you the joy you’re so deeply craving. If you find yourself in that situation, Jesus Christ is your man.
Happiness vs joy. Temporary vs eternal. The things that SEEM like they matter vs the things that ACTUALLY matter. Pick and choose wisely, my friends. Pick and choose wisely.
You deserve to have your soul on fire. You deserve to feel a burning in your chest. You deserve a sense of peace and passion and overwhelming joy. Now go seek it.
Hope you guys are having an amaaaaaaazing week! Feel free to comment below if you’d like!