What is joy? What is happiness? Are they the same? Not in my book.
What about joy and instant gratification? Are they the same? Certainly not.
Happiness has a tendency to be fleeting. By its own common usage, we assign happiness many times to a single day, such as happy birthday or happy anniversary. It comes and it goes. Many times it is used flippantly, not really addressing true happiness at all. I am happy the mail arrived. But I am sad it is all bills.
Instant gratification is undoubtedly defined by pleasure-seeking behavior. One’s need for instant gratification means that they cannot put off getting rewarded. They are not satisfied unless it happens now. I must have my spectacles within one hour, my pizza delivered within half an hour (without my butt leaving the sofa until it gets here), and anything and everything else via drive-thru, where I don’t even have to get my lazy rump out of the car. And then there is an offer of instant credit everywhere I go.
What happened to the anticipation we giddily danced about when we were children? Waiting forever for Christmas morning to arrive. Waiting literally years to be old enough to date or drive. Working our first job and waiting two weeks for that meager paycheck. It may have been small, but we earned it ourselves. Saving up those tiny paychecks to buy a name-brand pair of jeans or concert tickets, without the help of parents or credit cards.
Or the ultimate postponement for a woman, waiting 9 months for her baby to be born. Those last two weeks can be torture, especially when the baby is late. Though we may complain, God is in control of postponing that little bundle of joy.
Though many things should be postponed to maintain a healthy balance in life, joy should not.
Joy is real and tangible and I can feel it bubble up inside me, spilling over into a smile or even an uncontrollable giggle. Joy is seeing my son getting excited about something he has done or wants to do. Joy is seeing my best characteristics coming out in my offspring. Joy is feeling the unconditional love poured over me by my little Tinker Belle, my assist dog, as she snuggles against my back to help relieve my pain. Yes, there can be joy in a painful situation. Joy and unconditional love go hand in hand. Joy is each step we take toward our mutual goal of traveling for five years. Joy is seeing my husband enjoy his retirement and actually seeing him truly relax for the first time in our 13-year marriage. Joy is knowing we made the right decision for him to retire even though it means less money and more rice and beans come dinner time. Ultimately, joy is knowing I am loved.
True, it seems we must postpone our joy at times. But even if your goals seem far away, always remember that there is immeasurable joy in each step along your journey.