Happiness vs. Joy
September 3, 2013 15 Comments
Popular Office star, Rainn Wilson, hosts Soul Pancake on Youtube. It’s sort of a Candid Camera in reverse where anyone who encounters Soul Pancake isn’t terrified or embarrassed, but leaves with a smile or a new friend. It’s actually a great channel if you need a pick-me-up.
But in one interview, Wilson talks to rising star Olivia Wilde about her life in a nutshell, and Wilson brings up her recent divorce. Here is her response to the shaky topic, taking a drastic turn from silliness, and suddenly growing preachy.
“The real tragedy is staying in a situation that isn’t actually happy. And I think far too many people feel that the sanctity of marriage and the vows they made are worth living unhappily. And that, I think, is the real tragedy. I think it takes real self-knowledge and bravery to exit a situation, but it is the most honest way to live….It really is a relief to stop pretending you’re perfect.”
It’s no secret that a majority of people today are after one thing and one thing only: happiness.
We tune into shows like Family Guy and The Simpsons because they’re supposedly funny. We read books like God Wants You Happy by Father Jonathan Morris. We avoid arguments with our spouses in order to maintain a false sense of peace. We indulge in candy and chocolate milk every chance we get because it makes us happy. And sadly, like Olivia Wilde, we break our vows and spit on the sanctity of marriage and divorce our spouse so that we can find happiness elsewhere.
Many of us are like Ren from Ren & Stimpy. We think “happy happy happy” is the same as “joy joy joy.”
And the difference? Happiness is temporary pleasure. A warm feeling, a full tummy, a snicker. Joy is an inner peace through the unavoidable storms of life.
Happiness is found in new jobs, funny movies, a glass of wine, and silly friends. But all those fade. Joy is found in God and God alone.
Think of joy as happy’s muscle. Happiness comes and goes like our ability to lift things. Just because we don’t work out doesn’t mean we can’t lift heavy objects., but our endurance is limited. But if we work out, we can lift more weight and go for longer periods of time.
Joy is like that. Except you don’t work out, you pray for it. You ask God to grant you the strength of joy – a peace that remains long after the comedy ends, or the ice cream is gone, or the friend leaves, or the fire in the marriage begins to dwindle.
Pray for strength to hold onto your marriage, to continue to do right by your kids, to remain honest at work. Despite what Olivia Wilde thinks, you’re not pretending you’re perfect by weathering these storms – you’re enduring hardships. And God never promised happiness, but He did promise joy to those who has strength enough to ask.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4