The Difference Between Happiness and Joy
On Monday, I had to go to bed early to wake up early for an ultrasound. This routine reminded me of an incident two weeks ago when I had to get to bed early. I learned the difference between happiness and joy.
Two weeks ago I had to go to sleep early because I had to get up early for the peace officer to interview me about the sexual assault that happened to me in the hospital in February. When I go to bed early, my mom cannot take a break and must work 5-6 hours straight. So, she said that she did not like doing this.
I realized that happiness is a preference and joy is gratitude. This dislike that she had was not a preference; it was the difference between right and wrong because she did not like something good for me like sleep. I know that her argument is that I was intentionally choosing to investigate the sexual assault and that I did not need to make her do more work for something she thought was not a crime.
Because this issue was moral and not a preference, I realized that happiness is a fleeting emotion that comes from a preference. My mom had confused what is moral with her preference, but the idea of liking something to make a person happy showed me the parallels of the concepts and how happiness is a preference like the difference between likes and dislikes.
Then, I started to question how joy was different. I remembered Philippians 4:4-6 that says to rejoice and give thanksgiving. I always tell Giovanni that he gives me joy, and I wondered how this passage about rejoicing in God was connected to the joy I experienced with Giovanni. Then, I understood that I am joyful with Giovanni because I am grateful for his love and I always rejoice in the Lord because He sacrificed His Son, Jesus Christ, to save my soul.
I knew that joy is gratitude because God’s love moves us to choose to show His love and be joyful from an outpouring of gratitude (George Whitfield).