26 January 2011

Happiness vs Joy

There was a time in my life when happiness was rare, partially by my choosing, honestly. I refused to be joyful, happy, or worth being around. I've tried pretty hard to forget those years of my life.
Middle school.
Friendships were never good enough. My parents could never care in the right way. I'm sure there were times when I fell asleep with a smile on my face or at least partially content with my life, but I only remember the tears and overbearing darkness.
I don't know anyone who looks back on those three ominous years of their life with a those-were-the-glory-days thought. It's awkward. Everyone is growing up, realizing their gender, and fighting acne. I had friends, but we fought constantly. I felt abandoned. I remember crying myself to sleep one night in eighth grade and deciding, or realizing rather, that being unhappy wasn't worth all the effort. It takes more muscle movement to frown than to smile and so does being angry/upset/unhappy.
Sadness and anger, even being melancholy, puts me in a funk - I feel so confined. Those feelings are constricting and overbearing - only giving satan an entrance into my mind which is so often the true battleground.
I made a decision that night to be happy. Seven years later, I still struggle to maintain that happiness.

Happiness can be acquired outside the Holy Spirit, but joy can only come through Christ.
I didn't always know this. Honestly, God hit me with those exact words today during class.
Maybe saying that is harsh. It is harsh, but it's also true.
Happiness depends on circumstances, situations, atmosphere, and surroundings.
Joy is dependent only on Jesus. We can only lose joy if we place our focus elsewhere.
Being happy and joyful is enjoyable to me, but I sometimes still catch myself wanting to conjure some heavy burden when someone asks "how are you?" simply because that's what most people expect - what a waste of our time and thought!
The true story is ... there's usually nothing wrong. I might be stressed, but not abnormally or oppressively so. That seems boring but, while I'm not always soaring, being filled with unending joy by God is the most relaxing, contented existence one can have.
Happiness may be a temporary high, but "ain't no high like the Most High." My God's joy is always present, even in a day of cloud-covered gray explosion.

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