Joy is eternal

The difference between happiness and joy

Story by Amanda Garmon, staff writer

It is often misinterpreted by many that happiness and joy are the same thing and that they are both achieved by perfecting every aspect of your life. They’re merely destinations based on life circumstances. Some people say that if your life is good, it means you are happy. This is not the case.

Many believe that once they graduate high school, get out of the house and get a degree that they will achieve success, and that success will bring them everlasting happiness. The reality is that your success may make you happy for a while, but eventually you will end up in an empty place like before. A black hole. Darkness. A lot of people say that they don’t know how to be happy, that they don’t know what to do in order to reach their high point; a point in which they are happy all the time.

I used to agree with them before it occurred to me what happiness and joy really are and how they are different from each other.

It’s a choice. You choose to be joyful no matter how terrible life can be; you have hope in something greater than the hard, painful rocks that the world throws at you.

— Amanda Garmon

Happiness is only a vapor. It’s here, and then it leaves. It’s temporary. Happiness is a mood, and moods can change in a millisecond. It’s the same as a kid getting a lollipop at the doctor’s office after getting a shot in the arm. It makes them happy. But later, the happiness would dissolve just like the lollipop had, and the pain from the shot would set in.

Frankly, the idea that a person will eventually achieve a happy life is absurd. Bad things happen. The world is far from perfect.

Joy is eternal and always a factor in your life. Like happiness, it’s not really a destination either, but it’s a profound sense of peace that the world doesn’t have the slightest amount of power to take away. It’s a choice. You choose to be joyful no matter how terrible life can be; you have hope in something greater than the hard, painful rocks that the world throws at you. You have faith that your life will get better and you have nothing to worry about.

There is a way to muster up this said joy and climb out of the hole, and this way tends to be frowned upon. Some may be afraid of this approach, or angry at the whole idea, resent it, even. And truthfully, this way is not easy. It is a bumpy road. But it changes your entire perception of life and makes that bumpy road so worth it.

Joy comes from knowing that someone else has your life in his hands—someone much bigger than you and your circumstances—who loves you enough to not want you worrying about what crazy things go on each day.

Joy is part of the fruits of the Spirit in the Bible, so it accompanies us when we have our minds set on living for Christ. When we accept Jesus into our hearts, we are given a joy from the Holy Spirit that reminds us each day of exactly how much Jesus loves us.

I didn’t understand this concept until I was about eight. Even then, I didn’t fully grasp it, but I got the majority of the idea. It wasn’t until I became a teenager that I totally recognized that if I were the only other person on Earth, Jesus still would have died on the cross so that I could spend an eternity with him.

Once you understand that Jesus, the Son of God, died on the cross in order to save you, once you admit that you are an imperfect sinner and accept that gift of grace you so desperately need, that is when a beautiful, relieving joy comes over you, and it stays with you for the rest of your life.

Here is a link full of Bible verses referencing joy:

Bible Verses About Joy: 20 Uplifting Scripture Quotes

(Psalm 63:5-7 is one of my favorites.)