Do you know someone who can stay positive no matter what life throws his way? Someone who can find peace in the midst of ANY storm? You look at this person and wonder, “How the heck is he still smiling?” The answer is simple: he has joy.
Now, think of someone else who is content when life is going well. But as soon as things go wrong or circumstances get tough, he crumbles. This person may even be yourself. In fact, most people are this way. Why? Because we desire happiness, not joy.
Happiness and joy are not the same. Happiness is based on outside circumstances. My bills are paid, I’m happy. I’m healthy, I’m happy. I’m succeeding in my profession, I’m happy. I look good, I’m happy. But what happens when you can’t pay your bills, you get sick, you lose your job, or you don’t feel attractive? That happiness goes away. All of a sudden life sucks and you are miserable with nowhere to turn.
Unlike happiness, joy comes from the inside. It is one of the best feelings in the world. It encompasses hope, faith, peace, and resilience. And the best part about joy? It doesn’t go away! No matter what is happening in your world, you can always experience joy.
Having joy does not mean you will not get upset, sad, angry, afraid, or discouraged. Those are all natural, human emotions. But joy allows you to see past your circumstances. Joy is that small voice that whispers, “Everything is going to be okay.” “Things don’t look good or feel good, but I know everything is working out for my good.” “I‘ve overcome hardships before, I can do it again.” “God will never give me more than I can bear.” “Times don’t stay difficult forever.” “Better days are ahead.”
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that life is not always going to be easy. But we can make it easier on ourselves by choosing to take control of our situations instead of letting our situations control us. Stop letting life determine whether you’re happy or not. It’s easy to look for happiness in your occupation, your materialistic possessions, your looks, your location, your friends/family, and your significant other. It takes a very, very strong person to say, “No matter what I do, what I have, where I live, what I look like, and who I have in my life, I’m going to be okay.”
This “I’m going to be okay no matter what” mindset is my definition of joy. How do you develop this type of attitude? Through practice. The next time life throws you a curveball, take a deep breath and say, “I’m going to be okay.” Because, believe it or not, you will be! Choose to enJOY life in the midst of any and everything you go through.
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