Lies That Rob Me of Joy: Lie #4

Welcome to day 4. Thanks for joining me for this series. I hope you've 'enjoyed' it. (pun intended .. groan!) Today, the final day, is about the lie that "Joy is happiness"

4 Lies That Rob Me Of Joy:

  1. I can earn God’s favor
  2. It’s greedy and selfish to enjoy this life
  3. It’s not fair that I would  have so much pleasure and others wouldn’t
  4. Joy is happiness

I heard it put this way once: happiness is an emotion, and joy is more a decision or belief.

I feel happy when I have money to buy whatever groceries I want. I smile as I toss things into my cart that are not even on my list. Happy. Then I suddenly think of people in war-torn countries who have nothing – no money, no food, no water. Suddenly I feel sad and a little guilty. I’m not happy anymore. 

But I do still have joy – I believe that, even though this doesn’t seem fair, God is in control of everything. He may take all this bounty and give it to them next week, He may not. It’s His choice for His reasons. I may still accept and appreciate what He gives me. 

It’s easy to say when I’m not the one suffering. 

I remember being less than happy when one house we lived in that had no hot water, no sink, no counter, and a 2’x2’ hole in the floor. With our newborn. I stored groceries on the floor, and laminate floor pieces slid back and forth, pinching anyone who dared to walk with bare feet. I boiled water for baths, and washed dishes in the tub.

I didn’t feel happy. But, I still had joy. I knew God provided that house for me and that, in time, it would improve. “I might have to wait a few years … but it’ll get better. Besides, it could be a lot worse…”.

I think that’s joy; gratitude, acceptance, even enjoyment despite frustration. Acknowledging that God is in control and his plans are good (not comfortable necessarily, but good), and choosing to trust Him.

Truth: Joy is trusting that God is in control

“The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. 
He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.” 

“And we know that God causes everything to work together 
for the good of those who love God and are called 
according to his purpose for them.” 
Romans 8:28

As pressure and stress bear down on me, 
I find joy in your commands. 

If your instructions hadn’t sustained me with joy
I would have died in my misery. 

Lord, you’ve been teaching me to live beyond emotions. I’m not defined by feelings. It’s hard to understand – sometimes emotions are so strong that they seem as real as my hands. Thank you for teaching me that emotions are not truth. You are truth, and I can enjoy You, your word, and whatever you decide to give or withhold from me. Let your joy be my strength. Help me to even know what that means. Thank you that joy doesn’t depend on happiness.  Amen.



MTJ said...

Hi Kim,

I've really been blessed the past few days by your writing on this topic. I think each of us face emotional circumstances as believers and emotions can wreak havoc in our walk with Christ.

I'm learning to differentiate between my emotions and my faith in God. True joy is always accompanied by God's peace and contentment.

As you say, "Joy is trusting that God is in control."

Blessings and peace.


V said...

If happiness is a emotion and joy is a decision, then that would mean you consciously decide to be joyful which means in addition youll get the happiness emotion?
Or have i lost it?

In counselling we learnt feeling in a conscious decision. if you want to be happy its a matter of deciding so, as feeling leads to thinking which leads to action.

Example: i feel happy, i think of being happy and doing happy things, i do happy things OR i think i want to be happy, i feel happy, i do things that make me happy

Cascia said...

I think I needed to read this. I am going through a tough time in my life right now and it is hard for me to find joy. I know God is directing my life this way for some reason but I just don't understand it and it is difficult for me to trust that He is in control. Sometimes I wish I had more control over my life so I can take it in another direction. I don't like how my life is going right now. I think I need to pray about it.

Family, Money and Stuff said...

MTJ - thanks for joining me on the journey.

V - I know what you mean - it's hard to understand! The decision though, I think is not to 'be joyful', but to trust God. It is in trusting God that I can find joy, even in sadness. I can be sad and joyful (because I trust God) simultaneously.

It's amazing (and slightly daunting), that it all seems to boil down to faith. I'm no scholar, theologian or even wise, but it seems to be the case.

BTW - I love your comments, and that you're no afraid to call me out on something that doesn't seem right. I truly appreciate that. It makes me think through what I've said, read and experienced. :))

Family, Money and Stuff said...

Casia - thanks for coming along for the series.

A wise friend of mine seems to have latched onto a truth that helps her trust in God during those hard, dark times. It is in this verse:

James 1:17 "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."

She says the 'good' gifts are the ones she wants, and the 'perfect' gifts are the ones that she doesn't like or want - pain, hardship, sorrow - they are 'perfect' because He allows them and will use them to accomplish His great purpose.

It's hard to understand, and she assures me in my confusion that she's had many more decades to figure it out and walk that out ... but encourages me to hang on to that truth anyway.

I hope that kernel of light also lifts you in this time of hardship. I pray you're drawn closer to God as a result of what you're going through.


Faith Imagined said...

I love your explanaition of the difference between joy and happiness. I totally agree! This statement really brought it home, "Joy is trusting that God is in control."

Family, Money and Stuff said...

Thanks Alisa. I pray for more understanding in this area of joy and trust. Hard stuff - simple, but difficult.

Sab said...

I haven't been reading blogs for awhile, now, but I'm so glad I was able to pop by and read yours. I have been dealing with depression lately, and feeling lost as to where my joy went. I realize that it isn't really gone, I'm just letting emotions take over lately, and lack of sleep.

I love watching children. They truly know how to express their joy. And I love how the Bible says that God is our 'Father'... because as a mother, I wish to give my children things that will bring them joy. And I don't only do it when they deserve it, but even after they've been whining and crying and I had to put them to bed without lunch... I still love them and wish to make them smile.

Funny... we are compared to children so often...

Family, Money and Stuff said...

Hi Sabrina. That's a powerful statement: "I realize that it isn't really gone, I'm just letting emotions take over lately" ... totally get that.