I was reading something on Instagram today that struck a chord: "Joy is independent of circumstances." It's not something that comes and goes with the tide. Joy is not a happy emotion. Happiness comes and goes. It's fleeting. Whereas joy isn't even an emotion. It's a constant mindset and place of heart and soul. Here's the kicker though, joy is only found in Christ. That's the only answer. Joy is knowing you are fully loved and that is all that matters. And to be fully loved you have to know Christ.
Because once you know Christ, you see everything in a different light.
There's a purpose to the mundane and hard things of this life. There's goodness and light in the suffering and dark. Everything of this world is seen through a different lens and this constant joy begins to grow and stick around. Joy isn't smiling 24/7 or never feeling any hurt or sadness deep within. Joy is appreciating what's around you for what it is but knowing there is better because we weren't made for this world.
We all want to be happy. We see it everywhere, "be happy." But why not aspire to be joyful? Why choose a fleeting emotion when you can have a joy that lasts when happiness fades? In short, when I die, my goal is to be remembered as joyful. Someone who saw the good and honesty in all humans. Someone who even in tough and trying, saw the silver lining. Someone who sought to serve, love, teach, listen, and uphold the dignity and worth of every person she came into contact with. To do all of those things is to be fully joyful. And in that regarded I believe we're truly happy.