Happiness vs. Joy

Within the past two days, the topic of being happy in life came up in conversations with friends. I was inspired to write about the difference between being happy vs. having joy. I believe that happiness is influenced by external factors like a career, relationship, material possessions, etc. It can also be determined about how you view your life and the meaning of what you feel success means to you. So basically, you determine how you feel and how happy you want or choose to be. It’s a combination of the external and internal feelings and how you relate and interpret those feelings.

However, I believe joy is a feeling that responds regardless of your circumstances. When I consider my personal experiences, I have experienced joy in the worst situations and circumstances. May I also add without the use of medications, drugs or alcohol. I’ve endured very uncomfortable circumstances and was still able to smile, laugh and function in daily life despite my difficult situations. At the same time, I was not happy with my life or my circumstances. I do believe we all experience depression at one time or another, but as long as we don’t remain in a negative state of mind it is normal to experience periods of discouragement.

The key is to know how to respond and react to your circumstances. It is important to build on hope and encouragement which I touched on yesterday on my blog post. You must realize that life is constantly moving and nothing remains the same. Each trial that we face, is a learning experience and provides us lessons in life is we choose to listen. You must seek inspiration or something that brings you joy regardless of what you may be experiencing.

I also believe you can simply have joy from just being. You have to be in a mindset of not comparing yourself to others and not living in a material world in order to truly experience genuine joy. It’s being free to be who you are and accepting yourself and your faults. Most people have a hard time spending time with themselves because they are afraid of what they will find within themselves. To reach a healthy self image, you must deal with the good and the ugly by looking at yourself in the mirror and then make a change for the better.

The end result is that you are in control of your happiness or joy. You may not be able to control what people say or do, but you are in control of how you think and how you feel. Unfortunately, we live in a negative world and it will take every drop of energy to overcome challenges, obstacles and situations that we may feel consume us. Just keep this in mind….”Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

Self-Control: Crucifying the Flesh

About three months ago, my friend asked me to blog about the subject, “Self Control.” I thought it was a great topic because I was planning on writing about each of the characteristics of the fruits of the spirit which is “Love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.” (Gal 5:22)

I announced my idea for my next blog post to my twitter followers. Unfortunately, life got in the way even though I made many attempts to write. Then, I realized that I needed as much help in this area as my friend did.

As we begin a New Year, I am determined to continue any past goals from last year that was not accomplished, as well as set new goals for a new beginning.

Procrastination has always been an obstacle for me. I believe it falls under the same category as having self-control. It’s a combination of choices and decisions or lack of which leads us in a certain direction. We are accountable to our behavior and patterns. We may not have total control of our external environment, but we are responsible for ourselves and how we choose to deal with life circumstances and the path we choose.

When I think of all the wasted time, it frustrates and angers me, but I don’t believe in living in past regrets. Despite any circumstance, obstacle or situation that may block or hinder our paths, it’s important to move forward. You can change your present and future outcome with what you do today. Each minute of every day counts. So I sit here at my computer compelled to write my thoughts on self-control.

How do we gain control of our lives when things seem to be spinning out of control in the world? We are constantly influenced by the images and stories we hear through multiple streams of media communications. The power behind our decisions which is influenced by internal and external factors causes us to eventually reflect on our position in life.

“Those in Christ have crucified the flesh with the affections and lust.” (Gal 5:24) which means to refrain our body and mind from lusts and pleasures from the world system and guard our eyes, ears and heart from negative influences that slowly affect the thoughts and behavior patterns which will eventually influence our words and actions and enter into our hearts. “For out of the heart, the abundance speaks.” In other words, what is buried in your heart eventually comes forth through the words that you speak. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (II Corth 10:3-5)

Having control over our flesh is very challenging because we live in a physical world. We encounter many desires on a daily basis. People are dealing with many types of addictions: Drugs, alcohol, food, co-dependency, shopping, sports, sex, pornography, computers and cell phone usage along with many other addictions. These addictions are an attack from the enemy on your physical, mental, financial, emotional or psychological nature as well as your time. The devil comes to kill, steal and destroy, but God has come to give you life more abundantly. (John 10:10).

To gain control of our lives, we must know the power of God’s word, His promises and benefits to overcome the attacks, schemes and plots of Satan. We can’t blame everything on the enemy because we our responsible for our behavior. However, the root of temptation can influence our decisions and choices.

I recommend finding a support group or counseling, joining a Bible-based church, surrounding yourself with positive people, studying the Bible and most important developing a relationship with Jesus through daily prayer.

We must call those things that are not as though they were. Rom 4:17 Live by faith. Faith is developed by being faithful and obedient in God’s word. It’s trusting God and giving our burdens to Him. Faith is also a gift given by our Father. Each person receives a level of faith, but we must act. Faith is the evidence of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. (Heb 11:1). Faith without works is dead. (James 2:20 )So we must continually put our faith into action.

As we start the New Year, let us be conscious of our thoughts and behavior so we can produce the right results in our lives and reap the rewards at the end of the year.

If you are dealing with serious addictions, I recommend you get wise counsel. There are many outreach programs, support groups or non-profit organizations that can assist you on the road to recovery.

Make each day count. Each day is a new beginning so take it one day at a time. It’s also not an accident that you came across this blog post. Please receive these words with love and begin to take one small step in the right direction. You will not regret it. God has great things in store for you.

Cheers to a new beginning!

Peace & love always,