Finding Joy Instead of Happiness – Part 1
With a new year comes reflection, and lately, I’ve been taking a deeper look at what would make me happy because I feel like I’ve been in a bit of a rut. The beginning of the holidays usually tends to have this “lazy” effect on me. I mean REALLY....all I want to do is eat, drink, and be merry but hose things definitely don’t include hitting the gym and early mornings at the office.
It’s kind of like I have zero motivation this time of year and I begin to second guess where I'm at in my life. No matter how much I try to get out of this rut I’m just not happy. When I do find happiness in my life, like a weekend with family, brunch with the girls, or a sexy date night with my husband, it’s like the day after that my happiness disappears because the stress of real life sets back in and I realize how long my to-do list is.
Then I start to thing of all the things that need to be done and I tend to feel sad, disappointed, annoyed and so on. The thing that I’ve been realizing is that happiness is only a feeling (and let's be real, my feelings change like the weather in Texas). That’s when it hit me, why am chasing after a FEELING that isn’t constant when I should be looking for something that is consistent day in and day out?!
Once I realized this, I had to figure out what exactly that “something” was. I had a gut feeling that "something" had to do with my faith, but at the time I still wasn't sure what it was. All I knew was that I was on to something, but needed to keep searching.
A few years ago I was really into this idea of reading a daily devotional because a friend of mine was doing it. Christmas was coming up and my sister was asking what she could get me and so I told her to get me a daily devotional that was from a Christian standpoint. I didn’t know of any authors that had a book like this out there, but my sister came in real clutch and found a devotional titled “The One Year Book of Inspiration for Girlfriends…juggling Not-So-Perfect, Often-Crazy, but Gloriously Real Lives”. I ended up reading a few pages here and there but I was never consistent with it.
Fast forward to December 2017, I came across this book again as it was with a stack of other books I haven't read in while, if ever. I decided to make this whole daily devotional thing one of my lifestyle changes for the year and LITERALLY the first day mentions that happiness won't actually be a lasting thing, because it’s an emotion that is fleeting, but there’s this other thing that you can find that’s consistent. That “something” I have been looking for is called JOY!!
The first reading brings to life exactly what I had already been feeling and thinking - happiness is an emotion that occurs when we are in a state of well-being.
The next little paragraph brought up something else that I hadn’t thought about yet, which is the fact that if a person has peace well then that is actually a step up from happiness, BUT peace is also a state of serenity and it can easily be disrupted by outside sources, which is just about everything – a song on the radio, a text from a girlfriend, kids screaming, etc.
The author points out that after peace the only thing left is joy. Now, I was really into this first reading and all on the bandwagon of finding joy, but the truth is, I didn’t know how to find joy and I really wasn't sure I even knew what it was so I went to the place where all the answer are aka Google.
I seriously looked up the definition of joy and that is “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires….a state of happiness or felicity”.
Once I read what the dictionary said joy was, to be honest, I still wasn’t convinced that finding joy would be the answer so I kept researching.
What I found was that joy isn’t necessarily an emotion or a feeling, rather joy is an attitude of the heart and somewhat of a choice. It’s something that you can control because no one else can take it away from you, unless you allow them to.
After all of this research, I decided that finding joy sounded pretty good and seemed to be an answer to my problems so I’m going to test it out for all of us! I’m not sure what this journey will hold for me, but I know that having happiness isn’t working for me right now. Even if I find joy and it doesn’t work out, I’m sure I will learn from this journey and better myself in some shape or form.
So basically, you’re going to need to stay tuned to my journey of finding joy instead of happiness! Parts 2 and 3 will be posted once I feel I’ve had some success in this journey, but in the meantime, I’m interested to know if this is something you’ve found or are in the search for.
Leave a comment below and let’s help each other out with this joy journey!