Joy? Or Gratitude?


I’ve mulled over the meaning of joy, and the emotions that accompany a joyful state.

I have friends who exude joy, and always seem to be upbeat.

I don’t think I’m joyful very often.

Paraphrasing the definition, joy is a feeling of intense, long-lasting happiness.

Perhaps I’m taking the definition too literally, and I’m equating joy with a problem-free life. Or maybe it’s just my personality. In my younger days, joy was related to some exciting adventure and once-in-a-lifetime experience.

I feel like I’m better off by not living for the high highs anymore. And even more important, I don’t sink into the low lows, either.

Maybe that’s just the process of maturing and realizing life is a combination of positive and negative.


The emotion I feel most strongly is gratitude. I’m thankful for my health and my job and relatively few negative issues in life. And I’m grateful when I spend time with my loved ones.

But intense, long-lasting happiness? Or even super-charged short moments of joy? Nah.

Just deep gratitude for what God has done for me, and continues to do for me each moment of my life.

If I do feel blue or out of sorts, what helps me is to make a gratitude list. And while joy as it is defined may be elusive, my spirits lift as I recount all the things for which I’m grateful.

Long-term thankfulness leads to contentment. Hmm…maybe that’s another definition of joy to be considered.

Do you feel joy, or would you choose another word to describe your sense of well-being?

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Joni Vance is an award-winning author of fiction, essay, and poetry. She loves mystery, history, and how God reveals Himself every day.

May God reveal the mystery of His love in your life story.

6 thoughts on “Joy? Or Gratitude?

  1. I have a hard time understanding how to have joy, also. In James 1:2-3 it says to count it all joy when you face trials and temptations because it helps you develop patience. And joy is a fruit of the Spirit…. so maybe it has to be given to us????

    As always, you really made me think. And I think I should have more gratitude like you:)

    • Post Author Joni Vance

      Thank you, Jane. I guess I’m still thinking about what joy really is. But I know that being saved brings the ultimate peace and comfort and gratitude – and happiness. Guess that’s joy… 😉

  2. Great post, Joni. Thank you for the reminder to be joyful when grateful or not.

  3. Joni, I think joy is associated with gratitude. To me joy means the deep, abiding presence of God. Thanks for reminding us to focus on the gratitude.

    • Post Author Joni Vance

      Thanks for your perspective, Barbara! I appreciate you reading and sharing.

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