The Dilemma of Joy!

July 2023

When was the last time you thought about ‘Joy’ in relation to your work?

How do you even define joy?

Is there a difference between happiness and joy?

What does joy have to do with your work?

What I’ve discovered is that there is a big difference between happiness and joy AND joy has a profound impact on my business, especially over the long haul.

Happiness tends to be more in the moment. It’s often related to an experience or a set of experiences that we walk away from in what we could call a cheerful euphoria. There’s a sense of elation, excitement, and delight in what we just experienced.

Happy moments are difficult to reproduce, and we often become frustrated because they’re never quite the same. In fact, we spend a lot of intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and physical energy trying to reproduce them and this process drives us to options and ideas that really aren’t in line with our objectives personally or corporately.

Happy moments are difficult to reproduce because they are usually the unplanned outcome of an event or a moment or a situation that we plan or find ourselves in.

Happiness and happy moments are good, really good for our heart and health, we need a bunch of them in our lives, but if we develop a lifestyle or business plan around them, we’ll end up discouraged and frustrated.

Happiness tends to be a fairly surface level and short-lived experience. Joy on the other hand is deeper in our soul and develops over time. Joy involves a sense of being settled into something that is meaningful in our lives and the lives of others. Joy is wrapped up in our sense of purpose, our vision, our identity.

The writer of Hebrews says that it was joy set before Him that drove Jesus to endure.

Into the Word

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Heb. 12:2

Joy has the sense of a settled reality that there’s something greater going on and we’re part of it and that the tough stuff/times we go through aren’t going to change that settledness. Our purpose is settled, our identity is settled, and our role is settled. Full joy won’t be accomplished until we are able to see Jesus’ face to face, but we’re blessed with glimpses of joy here in this life.

Joy is a powerful and motivating thing, so when we begin to lose our joy, it’s time to sit up and take note. This is where we have to look at how we get up in the morning and face the day with the reality of going to work and stepping into our role as leaders/owners. To put it bluntly, if we’ve lost or are losing our joy in that role or environment, we need to address it.

Be careful here because there will be tough seasons/months where it’s really difficult and we’re tired and stressed, but that’s different than a loss of joy.

If we’re looking at a year or two of exhaustion of our soul, we need help. The joy of the reality of His role, His identity and the results that were going to come from enduring the cross is what motivated Jesus. It was far deeper and bigger than any momentary happiness. If it had been an issue of happiness, His humanity would have thrown in the towel that night in the garden.

If we’re to the point of dreading going to work and it’s that way most of the time, we might need a change. Either a change of our thinking and believing – addressing the agreements we may have made in our hearts regarding ourselves, our business or God – or it might be a time to change the business altogether.

Ask the Lord to reveal to you what it might be and ask Him to restore the joy of your identity with Him and the work He’s given you to do.