Happiness depends on "happenings". If good things happen, we're happy. If bad things happen - we're sad or angry.
Joy, on the other hand, is a deep abiding sense of contentment. It remains strong and steady regardless of the situation.
You can possess joy and still have moments of unhappiness. You can experience some happy moments, without knowing the deeper joy.
Many people try to capture joy by chasing fleeting moments of happiness. Movies, amusement parks, sky diving, accomplishments, alcohol, popularity, food and relationships are just a few of the activities individuals pursue to create some "artificial joy." The problem is that these things do not provide a cure for emptiness of the heart. They just distract us for a while.
Some folks have what John Maxwell calls "destination disease" - believing real happiness will come in the future . . .
When I get married
When I graduate
When I'm promoted
When I retire.
Wake up and smell the coffee! If you're not content now, you won't be content then either! Joy is an inside job. What happens in you is far more important that what happens to you.
Real joy comes from being connected with God. It has nothing to do with your circumstances, and everything to do with the state of your soul.
If you wish to increase the joy and contentment in your life. . .
1) Love Much .
The greatest joy in all the world is loving and being loved. Loving much means releasing resentments and unforgiveness. It means moving outside of yourself and becoming a generous person. You cannot love much when you are self-centered. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
2) Live Right.You cannot possibly maintain a joyful heart if you are carrying a heavy load of guilt and shame. When you mess up - 'fess up! Don't try to cover it up or hide your blunder. Face up to the truth. The truth will set you free.
You must not allow the past to hold you hostage. Addictions and other harmful behaviors can be conquered through the power of prayer, surrender, and self-discipline.
Declare war on anything in your life that holds you back from being all that you ought to be! Commit yourself to personal growth and right living.
3) Think Straight.Your attitude determines your altitude. Living well requires a steady diet of good thoughts. Refuse to allow the "little bugs on the windshield" (worry, frustrations, regrets, tensions) to deter you from a positive frame of mind.
The quality of your life is measured largely by what you think. Be sure you're capturing the best thoughts, and living according to your highest priorities.