Does God care about our happiness?
Strains of teaching in Christian circles have so much as said that once we bow our knee to Jesus, we’re to swap any desire for happiness for a desire toward holiness.
That undertow of thought makes us feel that happiness is carnal and holiness is spiritual.
That’s the question Jennifer Dukes Lee wondered aloud to God. She began an adventure to see what God said about happiness and to find its place in the Christian life.
“Some of us may believe we have to pick one or the other: happiness or Jesus. During my gray days, I didn’t yet know there was a third option: happy holiness. . . Our inner desire for happiness isn’t a sin. It’s a desire planted in us by God himself.” Jennifer Dukes Lee
Jennifer explores this option of happy holiness in her new release, The Happiness Dare.
This book isn’t a chase after dime-store happiness. It’s neither a psychobabble pep talk nor a blind brush-off of the hard of life. In fact, as God often orchestrates these kinds of things, Jennifer walked through multiple layers of pain and difficulty after she started to write this book.
Instead, The Happiness Dare unwraps God’s perspective on happiness and gives us permission to not only experience it, but also to pursue it. I can hear the collective sigh as the tension is released and happiness is restored to its right place — a gift from a good and loving God.
My favorite part of this book happens when Jennifer pulls back the curtain on how we, created intentionally and uniquely, experience happiness. Drawing on heaps of research, she lays out five different happiness styles.
The styles are dubbed the doer, the thinker, the experiencer, the relater and the giver. There’s a happiness quiz in the book but you can also go here for an online quiz which will determine your own style. My results were spot on – even showing how I toggled midway between two styles.
This part of the book was a gold mine for me! I saw myself, my kids and my family members described on the pages – what makes us tick, what to guard against, and how to unapologetically mine healthy, God-centered happiness.
If you’ve read The Five Love Languages, you will LOVE the application of these happiness styles. The Happiness Dare is to our happiness style as the Five Love Languages was to our relationship style.
I’ll say this: I’ve been through a season so painful that I wondered if I would ever by happy again. I wondered if everything would forever be cast under a gray pall. In those days, I missed happiness terribly.
The naïve happiness is gone. That has been lost, delightful as it was.
But there is happiness.
The hard days set happiness in relief and revealed its costly beauty.
It comes in pockets of busy days, with family around the table, on afternoons out with friends, during an exhilarating quiet time with my Savior.
I’m thrilled I was able to read an early release of The Happiness Dare as part of the launch team and equally thrilled to recommend it.