Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Daring to be happy

"The Happiness Dare" by Jennifer Dukes Lee came into my life when our family was on the verge of moving earlier this summer. I know from chatting with her this book came out of her own real-life experiences, but some of the chapters seems written for me! God has had me in a season of learning how to choose joy, so this daring for happiness comes at a great time in my life.

Jennifer talks about how we all have a happiness style. She has an assessment in the book that clearly shows I'm a Doer and Relater. I took the assessment less than a week after my family moved into our new house that sits on 33 acres. So, clearly, we were settling in. And by settling in, I mean I wanted everything to be unpacked and put away and then I wanted my friends to come over. Two days in a row my best friend showed up and helped me put things away. Talk about happy!

The other styles are Experiencer, Giver and Thinker. Of course, like personalities, we often can find pieces of all the styles in our lives. {Take the happiness assessment here!}

"Imagine a world where our happy lives illustrated an attractive gospel. The Good News is a heritage of happiness. When we maximize our happiness, other people notice. They want what we have. Authentic happiness can change our world. But first it has to change us."
{Jennifer Dukes Lee in "The Happiness Dare"}

Like #choosingJOY, #thehappinessdare is good for my soul. It reminds me that productivity is fine and even makes me happy, but working harder isn't the answer to finding happiness & joy. Even when there are boxes to unpack, sometimes summer afternoons need to be spent at the pool. Even when there are chores looking me in the face, I need to play with my kids or lunch with a friend.

I want to carry that dare into the new school year with my kids and into my 15th year of marriage with my husband and into my baby girl's second year of life. I want to find happiness when I run errands and do chores and fulfill commitments and socialize with friends and cross paths with strangers. And by "find happiness," I mean I want to draw near to God, choose gratefulness, and position myself to see happy.

That's what Jennifer's book encourages readers to do. Her words don't discount grief and hard days, but they do celebrate the details that remind us God is for us and enjoying life is part of the journey.

"Happiness is not the great opposite of holiness. Happiness is at the heart of Jesus, who gladdens weddings. Does he not gladden lives today? Does he not gladden cookouts and flash mobs and moments of scientific discovery? Does he not also gladden birthing rooms and seaside retreats and majestic cathedrals where composes performed some of the greatest musical works of our time? Will he not also gladden us? I believe he will. Jesus doesn't gladden us at the expense of holiness. He gladdens us because of holiness."
{Jennifer Dukes Lee in "The Happiness Dare"}

ABOUT THE BOOK :: "The Happiness Dare: Pursuing Your Heart's Deepest, Holiest, and Most Vulnerable Desire" was born out of Jennifer Dukes Lee's quest to find out whether our happiness matters to God and, if so, how to pursue it in a way that pleases him. Learn more online or order the book from Amazon (or other booksellers).

This 304-page book is published by Tyndale (Aug. 2, 2016).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR :: Jennifer Dukes Lee is a journalist at heart. She used to cover crime, politics, and natural disasters as a news reporter for several Midwestern metropolitan daily newspapers. Now, she uses her reporting skills to chase after the biggest story ever: the redemptive story of Christ. (That's front-page news.) "The Happiness Dare" is her second book. She published "Love Idol" in 2014. She and her husband are raising crops, pigs, a herd of cats, and two humans on the Lee family farm in Iowa.

I'm part of "The Happiness Dare" launch team, so I did receive a free PDF copy of this book, but the recommendation comes all on my own. Jennifer Dukes Lee spoke deeply into my life with "Love Idol," and her new book offers the same kind of life-changing encouragement. 

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