Happiness comes and goes based on external factors, but joy comes from inside of you and you can hold on to it despite what’s happening around you
It’s the beginning of 2019, just a few days after we watched the ball drop at Times Square in New York. Everyone has been saying Happy New Year to wish others prosperity, success, and happiness! It was interesting to watch the people on TV in Times Square. A few seconds after the ball dropped, everyone seemed happy and excited! Some were hugging their friends and strangers, others were screaming their heads off, and some were kissing their loved ones. For this one moment, everyone expressed a feeling of happiness, in their own unique way.
What is happiness anyway? Is it a feeling that comes and goes based on our circumstances? Can we be happy on the inside and not show it outwardly? Is happiness the opposite of sadness? Is a smile an indication that we are happy? Why do some people cry when they are happy? What does happiness mean to you?
It was 2014, my daughter was a few months old. I went shopping for clothes and I was in shock when I realized I had gone from size 8 pants to size 18. To be honest, I was very stressed out and cried in the fitting room when I saw the pants size that fit me. I had gained close to 60 pounds. I was wearing maternity clothes which fit comfortably so I was oblivious about the huge weight gain. Healthwise, I did not feel great at all. My back and pelvis hurt every step I made but I was thankful I was no longer on bed rest.
When I got home that day, I looked at my perfect little baby girl. My heart was filled with love for this little person. I was so thankful for her. This was an emotional day for me. I’m not an emotional person, and crying is not something I often do, so I decided to record it in my journal. (This is one of those journals that come with phrases and bible verses printed at the bottom of each page). When I was doing my end of year review a few weeks ago, I came across the journal. At the bottom of the page were the words “I am wonderfully made. Psalms 139.14
On the day I felt the worst about how much weight I had gained, I was reminded that despite how I felt about myself, I was wonderfully made. I realized that I had focused so much on how I looked on the outside instead of who I was as a person. I was beautiful and loved who I was as a person! I was blessed with a wonderful family, who loved and appreciated me, I was surrounded by friends who cared for me, and that was worth being content about. Contentment brought me joy within.
Contentment didn’t mean I would not do anything about my weight. It meant I had reasons to be joyful within, even when outside circumstances dictated otherwise. I sort out ways to get to my healthy weight. I did not lose weight as fast as I had initially planned, but despite the ups and downs, I did not stress about it. I focused on the things I could control, like making healthy food choices, exercising and staying consistent.
Fast forward to 2019, I’m 70 pounds lighter. I may look different on the outside but I feel the same on the inside. I’m pain-free and I’m thankful for that. When I look at myself in the mirror, I see a beautiful person who is not perfect, there are still things I wish I could change about how I look, but I have joy within. I don’t dwell on those things I cannot change. I find joy in knowing I am wonderfully made, despite my flaws.
As I watched TV, for a few seconds after the ball dropped in Time Square, everyone expressing happiness in their own unique ways, I couldn’t help but wonder, how many of those people will have joy inside of them when they wake up the next day.
Happiness comes and goes based on external factors, but joy comes from inside of you and you can hold on to it despite what’s happening around you.
I choose joy. Do you?
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