I’ve reached what could be an offensive conclusion. I can no longer wish my friends and family “Happy New Year!” That exclamatory wish can no longer run over my lips. Before you think me a killjoy, let me explain.
I’ve given a great deal of thought to happiness as opposed to joy over the last year. They’re not identical concepts, though you can possess them both at the same time. Happiness depends on my happenings and is only a temporary emotion. It’s when circumstances give me good vibes or those warm fuzzy feelings.
Let me confess. Everything that happened in 2016 did not make me happy. I have a strong sense of discernment (okay, call it wisdom) that everything that happens in 2017 will not make me happy either.
Case in point, my favorite son-in-law woke up to discover this morning that fifteen to twenty cars in their apartment complex had been vandalized. Among those are his and my daughter’s cars with their rear windshields knocked out. They’re not feeling too happy about that!
So then, what’s the solution? I want to be realistic. I want to help my friends and readers to give up the unrealistic expectation that a new year brings happiness. This new year holds no magic to make all of your days happy and gleeful.
Rather than mindlessly wish you a happy new year, I shall bid you a JOYful new year.
What can I say? I’m too pragmatic to let this go. Life is not always fair, equitable, and happy. It’s okay, momma said there’d be days like this. And grandmother reminded me often that once you’ve made your own bed, you had to lie in it. Hence, poor decision making is the reason why so many have had poor years. But, much like those somewhat funny Kermit the frog memes, I have to say, that’s none of my business. I’ll simply suggest that you begin reading Proverbs and learn the godly wisdom and knowledge needed to make better decisions.
You can have a JOYful new year, in spite of the unhappy happenings that will occur over the next twelve months. It starts with the decision to learn that biblical JOY is not based on temporary feelings. As a Bible-believing Christian, I have come to define JOY as my deep down settled contentment that tells me everything’s gonna be alright in Christ – regardless of my circumstances. While happiness is temporary, the JOY of the Lord is meant to be a permanent strength.
Enjoy happiness when it visits your life. Just don’t let it disturb the permanent resident of JOY. Let happiness come and go, but hold on to the JOY of the Lord. It’s where your true strength comes from.
If you’d like to know more about my JOYful discoveries, you can read about them here. But for now, I’ll leave you with this key to being acceptable to God and approved by men. The Kingdom of God is really not based on your happiness. It is all about righteousness, and peace, and JOY in the Holy Spirit!
I pray the peace of the Lord be with you all. And I wish every friend and reader, a JOYful New Year!