It’s the thing every Christian wants but is afraid to admit.
It’s the thing we chase, yet hardly find.
It’s the thing we’re ashamed to claim as our deep longing.
As a child, my school was an extension of church. It’s where I tested out happy. Joyfully, I laughed, talked and told stories. I was loud, excited and eager. I was – alive, even, until I learned I wasn’t acceptable. Until, the teacher pulled me by the arm, kneeled me before a statue and told me I was wrong – sinfully wrong for it. My hard knees on a hard floor proved happy doesn’t work so well.
Happy bubbles get burst easily.
Another time, an opportunity of a lifetime showed up on my doorstep. I screamed in my house, I jumped up and down, twirled the twirl and danced the jig. Yes! Yes! Double Yes! This was what I had been waiting for.
I ran to tell a most trusted friend. I smiled, blabbed and anticipated the moment we would scream in unison. What I got was – dead air. Then, came the dry words of, “Oh, that’s good. Now, what were we talking about before?!”
Unhappy can’t easily get comfortable with happy. They repel each other, quite often.
Better not to be happy, right?
After hearing a whole lot of sermons like this:
1. You just gotta carry your cross in this world.
2. A horrific thing happened? Oh, that’s God’s will.
3.) We are only living for eternity…
you start believing this world actually is the hell you fear.
Somewhere, along the lines we ended up with a theology of agony,
I rebuke that line of thinking. Jesus didn’t come to break us down. He didn’t come to ruin us. And, he certainly didn’t come to make us slaves. While we are assured we will hit pain and suffering (2 Tim. 3:12), God’s forever-assignment for us is not a downcast spirit, dejection and demoralization.
So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child;
and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. Gal. 4:7
We don’t have to live like morose monks – when people, problems or pricks hit us –
because we are loved children, with a good Father.
What good parent wants their kid to continually suffer?
What good parent holds back the greatest joys of childhood?
What good parent doesn’t band-aid up a cut and send the kid back to the playground?
What good parent doesn’t leave their child with the best things they ever owned?
I want to thank Jennifer Duke’s Lee and her book The Happiness Dare.
She pointed out: “The greatest source of happiness is Christ in me.”
Yes! Say AMEN with me, now!
Christ in me is the power of joy – flowing out from me.
Christ in you is the power of joy – flowing out from you.
Jennifer adeptly helps me realize by accessing who God made me to be, I can launch – happy and free.
Do you know what makes you happy?
Did you know you have a happiness style (Take the Happiness Quiz)? You may be a: Doer (a little like me), Experiencer (a lot like me), Relater (a lot like me), a Giver (not like me) or a Thinker (a lot me).
Okay, ya’ll, you busted me, I’m a whole bunch of ’em.
It’s okay though, because I want to embrace them – all 3 of them. Somehow, I figure, God loves nothing more than when we step into the full beauty of who he created us to be. It’s like we zip off the world and we step out radiant. We are His masterpiece, after all.
Might it be time we agreed with God? We can be happy with who we are, without shame.
I love how Jennifer puts it, “God delights in your delight. He takes pleasure in your pleasure. But, it doesn’t end with our pleasure alone. Oh no. You see, this is all for his pleasure. This is all about God.”
Happiness transcends me. When we are fully who we were made to be – we light up the world.
Rather than grunting in pain to a world about how hard it is to be a Christian, we light it up with smiles, songs and dances that glorify God!
“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works,
and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Mt. 5:16
People who know God “ought to be the happiest people in all the wide world! – A.W. Tozer
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The Happiness Dare:
Pursuing Your Heart’s Deepest, Holiest, and Most Vulnerable Desire
Jennifer Dukes Lee has good news for anyone who’s ever secretly, longingly (even guiltily) dreamed of being happier: It’s okay to want to be happy. God cares about your happiness; He created it as a sweet spot, a gift, and something you can faithfully, freely pursue. And He’s daring you to trust Him enough to discover it.
Learn more about The Happiness Dare by Jennifer Dukes Lee.