It's summertime and you guys know how I love to sit on my patio and read all the things! You also may have noticed that I have been writing fewer words lately... keeping my thoughts and opinions close to the heart and quiet.
If I'm honest (...and I am that!) part of the reason for my silence is because, well... I am tired, y'all! And after weeks and weeks of feeling a bit too run down, I began to wonder if maybe my Joy was... um, lacking?
Enter The Happiness Dare...
This book, friends... because God is smart and Jennifer is kindred, this book fell into my hands at just the right time! I love them both oh so much!
The Happiness Dare by Jennifer Dukes Lee has the power to be an eye opener and a real game changer.
And I don't know about you, but in this world... at this time... well, who couldn't use a
"Happiness is a feeling, but it's also a decision. It's a choice we get to make every day, even on our hardest days. Happiness is an outward expression of an inward joy that is found in Jesus. Happiness is a gift from a happy God." ~Jennifer Dukes Lee, The Happiness Dare
Listen, here's the deal: I feel in love with Jennifer long before her first book Love Idol came out so I was excited to be on her Book Launch Team the first time around. Love Idol challenged us to put down our masks and lay down any idols that we had been holding up unaware... things or people or places we turned to for approval and love, rather than simply turning to Jesus.
The release timing of that book was perfect in inviting the team to give up an idol for Lent. I had been forking over masks and laying down idols for years, so I thought, easy peasy... only what He asked me to give up was Hesitation and Self-Doubt.
So - not easy peasy, but oh so powerful and freeing!
He told me, "...the way I made you is Joy, but it is not shallow! Do not believe that lie. You are meant to be contagious... You are meant to be love... to be joy... to be you."
My natural bent is one of joy... one of laughter... one of looking at the positive and calling out the gold. It wasn't always that way but decades ago, He changed me.
In this world that is full of sadness, darkness brooding, --full of violence and injustice and broken hearts... feeling happy can feel wrong. It can feel shallow or too Pollyanna.
I love that in this book, Jennifer acknowledges that and makes room for that truth. She doesn't tell us to put our head in the sand or to put a band aid on everything and move along. But she does remind us that even on our darkest days... we can choose to run to the Light.
Jennifer Dukes Lee speaks the truth with quotes like these:
"Takers of the Happiness Dare learn that God not only cares about our happiness, he encourages us to go after it. The Happiness Dare is a challenge to enter into a holy pursuit of happiness, to boycott cynicism, to wring the delight out of ordinary days, and to hunt for happiness even when it's hard to see."
"Happiness is not only permissible by God but achievable through him. Happiness is our birthright. It is the holy fuel of our personhood, enabling us to live as the best versions of ourselves. That's the secret the Holy Spirit has been whispering to me. He has been daring me to believe that happy matters. Happiness is one of the best things we can do for ourselves, for our people, and for our God."
"Happiness isn't about what we can hold in our hands. It's about what we holding our hearts."
"When we fight for happiness, we aren't denying the pain of this world, but we are refusing to give in to it... Joy is strength. It has muscle. It's what can make you strong in this busted up world of manifold heartbreak. When we are flattened under the curse of the world, joy is what will help us rise up again, fist in the air. I know it's hard. It's easier to give in to the tidal wave of cynicism in our world. Choosing happiness is courageous. Happiness is the virtue of the brave, not the weak."
~Jennifer Dukes Lee, The Happiness Dare
One of my favorite things in this book was the invitation to find out what your Happiness Style is. There is an assessment quiz that helps identify what your natural 'style' is. Much like learning your 'love language' and the love languages of those around you help you to communicate love more clearly, discovering your happiness style will help you to tap in to happiness and be more contagious!
Jennifer lists five styles. They are identified as The Doer, The Thinker, The Relater, The Experiencer, and The Giver.
My top two were The Experiencer and The Relater!
Want to know your own Happiness Style? Take the Assessment Quiz HERE! (It's free and takes about five minutes!)
In the book, Jennifer takes time to explain more fully what each style means by sharing what makes you tick, what some of the red flags may be, and how to be the happiest you! Who couldn't use that knowledge?
All of that to simply say this:
I think with all the chaos and all the crazy going on in this world, we should all jump in and take The Happiness Dare... we should let Joy rise up and let's wield it as a weapon.
Let's let Love win and choose to find Happy... choose to let our Laugh be loud and to let our Light shine bright... not in a fake, pretend way - but in a Jesus loves me, this I know way!
And if you need a little help, Jennifer also compiled The Ultimate Happy Playlist, and trust me --it's pretty happy! You can listen to that (--again, for free!), by clicking HERE.
Now... on to the Giveaway!
One lucky *U.S. Resident Reader will win your very own copy of The Happiness Dare...
Enter to win:
* I was honored to be a part of Jennifer's Book Launch Team for The Happiness Dare. I received a digital copy (Tyndale Momentum) and the above review is my honest opinion. No Affiliate links were used.
Kelly Chripczuk for #SmallWonders
Holly Barrett for #TestimonyTuesday