I remember standing by the copy-machine in the workroom at school.
As I made copies, I rubbed my head to ease the pain of the headache pressing in. I could feel the lack of sleep in every cell of my body. A feeling of shame kept hovering, but I pushed it away as I turned back around from the machine
“Wow! This divorce isn’t effecting you at all! You look almost glib!”
With a shake of her head, she walked away, but her words left a footprint on my already trampled heart.
Few knew of the emotional abuse that had eaten away nearly every morsel of confidence within me. Few knew the emotional had turned physical.
They didn’t know my final act of leaving was a bravery only God could orchestrate. Or that my safety had relied upon my using his illegal activities as leverage to forcing him and the others he had brought into my home out. And they surely didn’t know about the scramble to Home Depot and the DIY installation of new door locks so I could sleep with a small sense of peace.
The words I had become accustomed to hearing labeled me as ugly, stupid, lazy, embarrassing, and worthless. Words the enemy celebrated and wielded as purpose stealers. Ones that left me empty, aching, and sinking into depression.
But what the enemy didn’t count on was the bend toward happiness God had whispered into my spirit long before I was ever born.
He didn’t count on my decision to choose happiness despite any set of circumstances.
Happiness was my weapon and it took many by surprise.
In her new book, The Happiness Dare, Jennifer Dukes Lee wrote, “Some see happiness as a weak, indulgent emotion. But God doesn’t see it that way at all. He sees happiness as a strength, something that you can wield like a weapon.
It’s right there in the Scriptures. Nehemiah said, “The joy of the Lord is you strength.”
As I read this, I realized that truth for the first time. It’s what I had done without even realizing it at the time.
You see, leaving my pain at the doorway and filling my heart with happiness each day was a weapon against the ugliness that threatened to swallow me whole.
Smiling at my students and friends wasn’t about being glib.
It was about fighting hard.Filling my heart with happiness each day served as my weapon #thehappinessdare #hope @dukeslee Click To Tweet
I don’t know if you are in a place of needing a weapon to fight an ugliness invading your life. But if you are, can I urge you to pick up happiness?
Maybe choosing a moment of happiness feels selfish to you in the face of your circumstances. Or maybe there are people who will make uninformed judgments about your pain or your situation.
But you know what? They aren’t fighting your fight.
And your example may just be what removes the blindness from their eyes and allows them to see the power behind the weapon of happy.
We can’t fight our battles successfully with the opinions of others on our radar screen. Our only hope for a victory is to be fully in alignment with the ONLY the Lord’s opinion.
And friends, the Lord says happiness is good. It is strength. It keeps our heart open and pliable before Him.
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. –Galatians 1:10 ESV
My situation was many years ago. My scars are still there, but I can promise you they only tell a story of God’s grace, love, provision, and redemption.
He gave me a bend toward happiness and over the years, that happiness lead me closer to Jesus. As I continuously put one foot in front of the other, God brought me out of not only that storm, but out of the many more that followed. He reached in to hold me up while waiting patiently for the day I would fully embrace His unfailing love.
He redeemed me and made me new.
I pray my story encourages you to believe that the hurt you are living right now will have a new day. Hold onto your happy and use it as a weapon. The enemy may have already destroyed something precious, but don’t let him steal your joy as well.
The Happiness Dare
If you just don’t know where to start … I can’t recommend The Happiness Dare enough. Jennifer shows us how holiness and happiness are not opposites, but rather how they work together. She provides a Happiness Style Assessment, as well as chapter laying out what this means to your life and how to best develop your style. She gives lists she calls Five-Minute Happiness Hacks which provide tangible ways to increase your happiness muscle!
But this book isn’t just for those who don’t know where to start. This book is for everyone. It encourages, inspires, and gives hope.
The Happiness Dare launched August 2nd so you can get your own copy right now! It’s available here and at all major book retailers. And of course, I can’t share a book like this without giving a copy away! This book blessed me immensely and I pray it does you, too! Just leave a comment below and Thursday, August 11th, I will draw one name as a winner!