Joy: (talking to herself) Yes, Joy?
Joy: You'll be in charge of the console, keeping Riley happy all day long. And may I add I love your dress, it's adorable.
[Joy begins to happily twirl around]
Joy: Oh, This ol' thing? Thank you so much, I love the way it twirls...
- Disney Pixar's Inside Out
Joy is deeper than happiness. Joy is a deep seated calm emotion which underlies other emotions and moods throughout the day. Its a way of living in gratitude and relationship with God. Happiness comes and goes throughout our lives, but joy endures, despite hardships. Joy is the foundation which allows people to be content, to thrive, to be pleasant even when bad things are happening in their lives.
You can find the word joy over three hundred times in the English NRSV of the Bible. From the beginning to the end, joy is present throughout the scriptures. People sing with joy, people dance in joy, people enjoy the fruits of their labor, God blesses the people with joy. Interestingly, there is also fear of joy in the Bible, people who are afraid to be joyful in case something bad does happen. Yet, we cannot be afraid of joy, just as we cannot be afraid of fear or anger.
All of our emotions come together and work together to give us a full range of life. Many times we wish we could get rid of one emotion or another. Some people think that if they could just cut out anger or fear from their lives, their lives would be much better. Unfortunately, that is not at all how it works. Whenever we stifle one emotion, we hurt our emotional health. When we ignore an emotion or seek to lock it away, we aren't able to fully feel our other emotions. Working together, joy, fear, anger, sadness, and disgust allow us a wide range of feelings and responses to the moments of our lives.
Paul calls on us in his letter to the Philippians that no matter what we are feeling, we can still feel joy at having a God who loves us and cares for us. He says,"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice." (Philippians 4:4)