happinessnoun hap·pi·ness \ˈha-pē-nəs\
1: the state of being happy
2: an experience that makes you happy
1: a feeling of great happiness
2: a source or cause of great happiness : something or someone that gives joy to someone
3: success in doing, finding, or getting something
Once, while sitting in church as a teen, I remember hearing my pastor explain the difference between joy and happiness in a way that I hadn’t ever thought. That Sunday morning he explained that joy cannot exist without happiness, but happiness can exist without joy. The simplest definition of joy seems almost synonymous with happiness, but I don’t know that I agree with it anymore after hearing what my pastor had to say.
According to my pastor, happiness is about the tangible, smaller moments – the hours, minutes and days that make you smile and make you feel “happy.” Joy is about the all-encompassing, overwhelming sense of wholeness.
Naturally this was tied into a conversation about how God’s love makes us whole – because it was church – but it really made me stop to think. When I was a child, we used to sing “Joy, Joy, Joy Down in My Heart
.” How can you fully embrace and understand what joy is supposed to be?
Do I have joy? Yes. But I didn’t always. Sometimes your soul just needs a re-alignment. You need to find the reasons why you’re a whole human being worth being loved. And I don’t mean someone else loving you, I mean you loving yourself.
The best way I have learned to do this in the past is to cling onto to those happy, little moments. Remember them. Cherish them. Be grateful for them. Let them make you smile when you’re sitting silently to yourself. The more of those that you can recall in your darker times, the easier it will be to let go of the dark. Be close to those around you, and let them in. I believe that happiness is well-deserved by all. But I also believe that finding Joy through God, in your life and with others, is the ultimate testament to feeling whole and having a fulfilling life.
It’s all about perspective.