• Joy vs Happiness

    Date: 2013.02.12 | Category: Thoughts to ponder | Tags:

    I have been asked many times how I can be so happy every morning.   The truth is I don’t always wake up happy.  Sometimes I want to hit the snooze button a couple more times. Sometimes I don’t want to get up, go out into the cold, and workout.  Sometimes I don’t want to start my day with another load of laundry or empty the dishwasher or change another diaper.

    But I do get up.  I get dressed.  I head out the door, climb in my car, and I pray.  I look at the beautiful sunrise and am reminded again how lucky I am to get to live my life.  During my drive, I thank God for all that I have been given.  I thank God for the opportunity to raise my children.  I thank God for bringing them into my life.  I thank God for my best friend and husband.  I thank God for my home.  I thank God that I have food in plenty.  I thank God that I am able to get up, walk out the door and workout.  I thank Him for the tests that He has set before me to further my walk with Him.  I thank Him for one more day with my children.  I thank Him for the opportunity He has given me to go get my children in a few months.  I thank Him that I am able to do so many things.  I ask Him to allow me to encourage others.  I ask Him to give me the wisdom to say the right things and to help those He places in front of me.  By the time I get to Farrell’s, I am feeling so blessed and so grateful that I am just happy to be there.  I am happy to be able to live another day and I feel like rejoicing.

    Philippians 4:4   Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again.  Rejoice!

    Here in an excerpt from the book Living With Purpose  “Happiness depends on happenings.  It comes from the root word hap, which means luck or circumstances.  Joy is a choice.  Joy is not dependent on circumstances.”

    These words are the truth.  If you strive your whole life to be happy, you will never get there or there will be moments of happiness, but it will be fleeting.  Joy is a choice.  It is the choice to be grateful.  It is the choice to look at how blessed you truly are.  It is the choice to really appreciate how much you have been given and how lucky you are to be alive in this country and at this time in history.  It is truly a choice!

    You have the choice, even during difficult times, to be joyful.  You have the choice to look at what is happening as a test.  A test that will strengthen you.  A test that will further develop your walk with Christ.  A test that will bring you where you need to be on the walk with God.  A test, not to bring your harm, but to build perseverance.  You can be joyful even in times of trouble.  You can trust the Lord.  You can turn it all over.

    On one of the blogs that I follow about a little girl waiting for a heart transplant, the mom was talking about how there can be pain and joy at the same time. It’s a hard to wrap your head around that fact, but it is the truth. Your circumstances shouldn’t change the fact that you always have hope and that hope should bring you joy. Learning to be content and joy-filled is a journey.

    Romans 5:3  We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance. 

    James 1:4   Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

    All it takes is a little perspective.  All it takes is a quick look at the nightly news to see how wonderful you truly have it.  If you believe in God, then you always have hope.  Hope is a wonderful thing.  You have hope for the new day.  You have hope for a life after death.  You have hope each and every day that tomorrow will be a new day and you can start anew.

    Lamentations 3:23 “Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each day.”

    Your tests will never end.  There will be big tests and there will be small tests.  I once heard a pastor describe tests as elephants and mosquitoes.   It’s easy when the test is huge to turn to the Lord.  It’s easier then because you feel so overwhelmed you have no choice but to turn to the Lord.   It’s when the swarm of mosquitoes goes after you and you are constantly being hit by one more little thing, that it’s easy to grumble and complain.  The car gets a flat tire, the sink starts to leak, and your child gets in trouble at school.  Small, little episodes that turn your attitude to one of complaining.  If you take the time to be grateful for all you do have, you will see that those little things aren’t really such a big deal.  If you compare it to a child dying, or your house burning down, or a car getting totaled and your child ending up in surgery or paralyzed, you realize that it isn’t a big deal.  You probably won’t even remember it in a few months.  The trouble is keeping our eyes where they need to be.

    A good lesson is the 10 rule.  It reminds us that things happen and you can think “Will I remember it in 10 minutes, 10 months, or even 10 years?”   Most things will not be remembered in 10 months or 10 years.  I can’t remember the bills that I couldn’t pay 10 years ago.  I couldn’t tell you what I was hoping to buy that I couldn’t buy.  I can’t tell you what I got 10 years ago for Christmas.  I couldn’t tell you what house repair needed to be done.  Most things will not be remembered in 10 months let alone 10 years so don’t let it rob you of even 10 minutes of your joy.

    Choose to be grateful.  Practice waking up every day and list 5 or more things that you are grateful for.  You will be surprised at how long your list truly is.  As you do this, you will see how hard it is to remember the bad stuff when you are busy being grateful.   If you need a reminder of just how good you have it, here it is:

    • If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep … you are richer than 75% of this world.
    • If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace … you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.

    You truly have many, many reasons to be grateful.   You truly are blessed.