I Just Wanna Be Happy – NO, Instead, I Choose Joy

Now, I know that title sounds confusing, but let me tell you what I mean.

My sister and I were talking this afternoon and we were discussing the difference in happiness and joy. I've known the difference for quite some time now, but she's much younger than me, so she's just now coming into a thorough understanding of it. Everyone says they "just want to be happy." But I do not really think that's the best thing to wish for. Instead, I choose joy.

Here's what my sister and I decided: Happiness depends on things and circumstances. Joy is a constant wellspring that comes from within, and is not dependent on circumstances or money or other people or possessions. As a child, I probably did not live under the poverty line, but pretty close to it. Yet, because our home was filled with music and books, and lots of conversation, I did not realize I was "stripped" in any way.

Children are amazingly resilient and if we just realized how true this is, we would not worry so much about how much we provide for them materially, but would instead put our focus on more meaningful things, like the music, books and conversation I mentioned already.

Let me give you an example of this. When my children were about 8 and 10 years old, we were not able to pay our electric bill on time, and our power was turned for a day or two until their father collected on a job he had completed. When the children were adults, I asked them what they thought about what happened. I was surprised and guided with their answer … they told me they thought it was fun because we were "playing pioneer" by lighting the lanterns and candles that night. It was actually a special memory for them.

Do not get me wrong – I've been poor and I've been very comfortable with an income only the top percentage of Americans will ever earn.I've lost almost everything, and now I'm somewhere in the middle. Given a vote, I'd choose to have plenty of money for myself and lots to give away.

But for me, joy comes from knowing my Creator and being secure in knowing I am loved just like I am – I do not have to earn it. This makes me want to do my very best to show my appreciation for all I've been given – my talents, my family, my opportunities, my friends.

I may lose all my "stuff" one day, but nobody can take my joy away! It's the cornerstone of all success I may enjoy in life and business.

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