Awhile back, a mom in a Chewbacca mask took the Internet by storm and became one of my heroes. I hope her infectious laugh and contagious happiness will be remembered for years to come.
Just in case you happened to miss it or you just need a little pick-me-up, you can watch it here:
She ended the video with a phrase we all would do well to remember: “It’s the simple joys.” And do you know what? I’d be willing to wager it wasn’t the first time she said that either. She seemed like someone who knows how to find a little bit of joy in an ordinary life.
As more of Candace Payne’s story became known, it was apparent she follows Christ, and she’s been developing her platform as a speaker and a worship leader for quite some time. While she recognized the overnight viral-ness of the Internet to be a fun and temporary ride, she decided she was going to use it to spread a message of joy and gratitude and her faith would be a big part of it.
The mom in a Chewbacca mask chose joy.
I can, too.
She became my hero, not because of her awesome laugh that broke the Internet. She became my hero because she dared to be a joyful Christian, to be happy and have fun. She made a deliberate choice to use her temporary fame to spread a message of joy and hope in Jesus. She was intentional. And she was happy.
More often than not, Christians in the US are known for what we are against, for being passionate, for being judgmental and bigoted, and for our long pious faces. What company are we boycotting this week? Who are we hating on today because they’ve dared to choose love and practice grace? Who’s the latest Christian to take a stance we don’t agree with? What can we complain about regarding the upcoming presidential elections?
To be happy is seen as shallow and unnecessary, based purely on fleeting emotions and unpredictable, highly changeable circumstances. Forget about being happy if you’ve chosen to be a Christian, is the message that we often hear.
Joy is a choice.
But it’s also a product of abiding in Jesus.
Instead, we’re told we need joy. “Joy is a choice.” “Choose joy.” My highly selective news feed on Facebook fills with these exact phrases. And I truly believe there’s good truth in those words, but there’s a little something missing from them, too. Just like patience and gentleness, joy is a fruit of abiding in Jesus. When we choose to abide in Jesus, then joy will be a fruit in our lives. It radiates from our countenance and overflows into our words, making them full of life and hope.
Does joy equal happiness? Nope. Joy often intermingles with sadness and is infused into our greatest grief. But is it wrong or unspiritual to be happy? Absolutely not.
Here’s what I know to be true: Every day when I go out into my little corner of the world I have the ability and privilege to share Jesus, simply by being myself. It’s called lifestyle evangelism. Being ready to share His love is my joy and responsibility. How much more willing to listen to me will people be if I have a smile on my face and act like I love my life?
When life is heavy, debates over racism and politics and gun violence fill our news feeds, I choose to find little things to be joyful and happy about. For me, this is an effective way to be grateful and to cope with all of the heavy things.
Just like yawns and grumpy faces, laughter and smiles are contagious. We either choose to make people anxious to get away from us, bored to tears in our presence, or we can be so joyful … and yes, happy even … that they want to see us again. It’s our choice.
How much more willing to listen to me will people be if I act like I love my life?Click To Tweet
When my happy gets bumped, what’s really going on in my heart is on display. In those times I will either add to the authenticity of my love for Jesus or, sadly, negate it.” ― Lysa TerKeurst
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