We are all pretty different, aren’t we?! From culture, to appearance, to preferences, to upbringings, to pretty much everything…our world is a melting pot of differences and I’m so happy about that! I think this world would be pretty boring if we were all the same.
Although we all differ in many ways, we’re humans and our basic necessities are pretty similar.
In my humble opinion, one of the biggest commonalities that we all hold is this: WE ALL WANT TO BE HAPPY. I think this is the driving force behind much of what we pursue in life. Our culture uses this emotion to entice us, motivate us and sway us into purchasing or experiencing the “newest and greatest” things in life. We’re suckers for happiness, what can I say!
Along with our pursuit of happiness comes the consuming fickleness that we all fall subject to regarding life’s ups and downs. We often allow outside circumstances to control our moods and ultimately, our happiness. Whether it be money or relationships or health or yoga or success or whatever, we yearn to experience the peace or contentment that these things can bring.
There’s an inescapable truth here though…..life happens and situations change…..sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. When the worst happens, our happiness is often flushed down the toilet, leaving us staring at the wall, wondering how we’re going to survive…..how we’re going to get those good feelings back.
I would like to pose a simple question: Is it possible that, although happiness is a GOOD thing, that maybe it’s not the BEST thing?
Let me suggest a solution to this ever-changing happiness dilemma: JOY.
Initially, you may be thinking that happiness and joy are the same thing….I beg to differ. To put it simply, happiness is based on the external, while joy relies on the internal.
Here’s a definition that I feel outlines the differences perfectly: “Joy is more consistent and is cultivated internally. It comes when you make peace with who you are, why you are and how you are, whereas happiness tends to be externally triggered and is based on other people, things, places, thoughts and events.” -Psychologies
As humans sharing this planet, we lack joy friends. You know, that unshakable calmness resting in our hearts that refuses to be let down by the negative around us. That mysterious peace that holds us upright when the winds blow. That counter-cultural, inward sunshine that radiates amidst conflict and turbulence. That kind of joy.
On a personal level, my joy comes from Jesus. The hope and perspective that He brings assures my soul that things are going to be alright. The peace and joy that He provides far outweighs any cheeseburger or new car or money or success or good beer or anything. The joy’s deep and although it can be influenced during my weak times, it never leaves….like a red coal festering under a burnt log, it’s hiding, waiting in anticipation for me to fan the flame….or for Jesus to fan the flame, I guess.
While those reading this may not share my same faith, that’s totally ok! I love you and I encourage you to discover your joy. Find that solid assurance of who you are. Dig deep past the “stuff” and search your heart for ways to simplify, be content and smell the roses….like real roses, not those fake, plastic roses that collect dust over time.
The truth is, none of us are perfect, but we’re beautiful, really. God desires for us to live freely, peacefully, gracefully and JOYFULLY….don’t settle for good (happiness), grasp for the best (joy).