Happiness vs Joy & When Life Hands You Lemons

A disservice done to my generation is to instill in us that the purpose and goal in life is to be “happy”. If you are happy then you are all set. But what is it that makes us happy? And how long does that happiness last? Often what has brought us happiness ceases to and we move on searching for that next thing that will bring happiness.

It took me all too long to discover that, as St. Augustine said, “My soul is restless until it rests in you.” (‘You’ being God.) I was sent on a quest for happiness, provided many happy things in my life (wonderful family, health, a job, friends) but I continued to long and search for the ever-elusive “happiness”.

But life doesn’t promise us happiness. Life promises us growth, challenges, hard times, trials, suffering, death, loss, pain as well as love and times of happiness. This is why we need faith. This is why we need God. Life is a journey, not just moments which we label as “happy” or “not happy”. That leads us astray from what should be our center. Our center is not all about us and our feeling of happiness. Our center should be God and how well we are following Him – because if we are then that gives us joy. And joy can sustain us thru -trials and sufferings  – all the ups and downs of life.

A life in God provides joy. Whether we are happy or sad, content or on edge – there is God at the center journeying with us. God is love and His love helps us “bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure all things” (1 Cor 13:7)

The adage “When life hands you lemons make lemonade” is nice. But if all life has handed you is a lemon then how do you make lemonade? Someone has to give you sugar and water. God provides that sweetness and life giving water. With Him you can turn any lemon of life into the joy of lemonade. 

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