It’s in the Declaration of Independence. Along with life and liberty, I have an unalienable right to the pursuit of happiness. Hmm. Seems like most of my time is spent in the pursuit. Actually achieving it…and enjoying that illusive American Dream…is an ongoing quest. I suspect this may be true for many people. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve experienced many happy moments. And I’m confident more are ahead. But I’ll never be happy all the time. Why? Because happiness is an emotion. And emotions are an up and down roller coaster ride throughout life. Therefore, I won’t experience constant happiness. Regardless of what any song says. So how should I approach it? Well, as a husband and father, the happiness of my family is important. I want them to be safe, comfortable, happy, and within reason, to possess what they desire. I work hard to solve their problems and provide an environment for happiness to flourish. But as a man of faith, I know there is more to consider. Because happiness is circumstantial and therefore, fleeting. A new car, a job advancement, good grades on a report card, making the elite squad, a starring role in the show…all the things that I normally associate with happiness are temporary. Circumstances ebb and flow like the changing tide. And despite my best efforts, many things are simply beyond my control. So along with the good, my family and I can also expect to experience difficult, sorrowful, and painful circumstances that cause unhappiness. Perhaps that’s why a word search of the Bible (NIV) reveals that happy and happiness are mentioned 30 times and joy, joyful, and joyous are mentioned 234 times. Because joy is based on a relationship that transcends difficult circumstances. Doesn’t mean they are not still challenging and painful. It just means that God’s sustaining presence helps me through them. Joy is the result of an eternal hope…an eternal destiny and is therefore, impervious to the temporal. Yes, I will continue to strive for happiness. It’s part of my human nature. But ultimately, I choose joy. To do so engages the supernatural and follows a path to complete, everlasting satisfaction.
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Thanks for pointing out the difference between happiness and joy in your article. The only way we can experience joy in the midst of the storms of life is to engage the supernatual. It is a daily decision for each of us to choose joy.
I Choose Joy,