Happiness and Joy

I’m getting ready to go on a two-week vacation beginning next week and have a lot of things I need to work through before I go, so don’t be surprised if you see a flurry of blog postings this week and then… silence!

Someone sent me a link to this blog today, and I really, really loved this part of it. I know nothing about the blog or Dr. Kelly Flanagan, the man behind it, but this certainly resonates with me and what I’m learning on this journey. The blog is called Untangled, and I love his distinction between happiness and joy. I saw this on a blog today and I couldn’t resist passing it along.

These are excerpts from Licking Happiness and Forsaking Joy:

Happiness is all about circumstance and situation. It’s all about orchestrating events so life is comfortable and pleasurable and fun. Happiness is what happens when all the tumblers fall into place and life just clicks.

But happiness is always fleeting. Because circumstances change.

The furnace goes out and the roof springs a leak, and suddenly the financial margin evaporates. Or the new boss is a disaster. Or the kid comes home after a semester at college because the pressure got to him first and the amphetamines got to him next.

Happiness is an ice cream cone that melts, leaving you with sticky fingers and a constant hunger for more.

But Joy.

Joy is a place inside every circumstance. It’s a constant place, and it feels like peace, and it gives hope, and it looks like love, but it is more than all of these things, and words will always fail it.

Joy is the peace that comes from looking right into the storm and feeling freedom from it.

Joy is the place we stumble upon when we look our deepest pain and greatest fear directly in the eyes, and we refuse to flinch. It’s the place we stumble upon when we decide pain and fear aren’t going to be the final word. It’s the place where we anchor ourselves in something more than the vicissitudes of our material existence. It’s the place of freedom inside every situation, where we realize the things that are happening to us are losing their power to control us and define us.

For me that place is being at home in the Father’s affection. I’m not talking about a love message, or a grace theology, but a growing engagement with him that holds me in every circumstance and allows me rest in his provision and work.

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