It is my absolute pleasure to turn over my blog today to my fabulous friend, author Jennifer Dukes Lee. Jennifer is as genuine and Jesus-loving as they come. I love her sweet heart and I know you will be encouraged by her post and her new book, The Happiness Dare.
Jennifer and I recently recorded a webcast called “Happiness While You’re Hurting” combining the themes of our two books in some interesting ways. You can watch it below.
Also, be sure to enter the giveaway for your chance to win a copy of Jennifer’s book!
by Jennifer Dukes Lee
Two years ago, I embarked on a God-made dare to enter into a holy pursuit of happiness.
I quickly discovered that one of the most powerful ways to experience true happiness, is simply by giving.
Giving often feels like it will require a big financial sacrifice, but in truth, giving doesn’t have to cost us much at all. Sometimes, it’s as simple as how we walk into a room.
Sort of like this:
Meet Sally, a true giver. She is one of those sparkly, spirited people, as if glitter runs through her veins. I met Sally at an annual retreat for the writers and staff of http://www.incourage.me, an online ministry of DaySpring cards.
I’m on the (in)courage writing team, and at the time, Sally was one of those behind-the-scenes givers who made sure things got done.
For two days, I observed her. (I know, I realize how stalkerish this sounds, but it was all for Jesus.) Sally would track happiness across the carpet of every room she walked into.
I told Sally what I had observed in her, and a wide smile stretched across her face. “I got it from my dad,” she said. “It was about the way Dad walked into a room.”
Sally told me more. Her dad taught her that when you walk into a room, you never say, “Here I am!” Instead, you say, “There you are!”
You don’t actually have to say those words out loud, but you might. You can speak those words with your whole self.
There’s a lesson about true happiness and giving in Sally’s words. If you want to be happier, begin with “There you are.” If you want to feel a sparkle in your spirit, share a bit of your own.
That’s what the givers teach us. They show us that happiness often begins with how you walk into a room.
Givers are the “There you are” people in a world that screams, “Here I am.”
Jesus: The Ultimate Giver
“There you are” is the pulsing motivation of Jesus. The ultimate Giver, Jesus believed so much in the truth of “There you are” that he came straight into our world, forfeiting the comfort of heaven for the brokenness of earth.
He fully knew the cost. The greatest Giver of all time became the greatest Gift of all time. Jesus walked into the room. Into the mess. Into the middle. Into the heart of things.
God says he loves a cheerful Giver. No one in the history of mankind has given of himself with more joy, more happiness, more selflessness than God’s own Son.
Picture the upper room. Imagine the disciples, reclining at the table, conversing over goblets and bread as the moon rose overhead. Most of the disciples were clueless, but Jesus’ accusers were plotting against him even then.
This was Jesus’ final supper, and it was a Passover meal. According to tradition, those gathered around the table would have eaten prescribed foods. They would have sung songs and recited a special Jewish liturgy that included hymns taken from the Psalms. The hymns were known as the Hallel, the psalms of praise. They include these lines from Psalm 118:24: “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Let that sink in for a moment. On the night Jesus was betrayed, he sang songs of praise. Jesus knew he was going to die, yet he uttered the words, “Let us rejoice and be glad.”
There will never be another Giver like Jesus, who laid himself down as the Gift. Jesus didn’t do it with a protest. He didn’t ask for anyone’s applause. He didn’t do it for his own glory.
He did it for the joy set before him. The ultimate Giver? He did it for you.
Here’s the one thing you can do to boost your own happiness today: Be a “there you are” person – just like Jesus.
Did you know that Givers are one of the five major happiness styles? To find your happiness style, in less than five minutes, take the Happiness Style Assessment.
Excerpt taken from The Happiness Dare copyright © 2016 by Jennifer Dukes Lee. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.
Below is my webcast with Jennifer:
Jennifer Dukes Lee is an award-winning former news journalist, an (in)courage writer and a blogger at http://www.JenniferDukesLee.com. Jennifer once took a dare to find out whether happiness matters to God and, if so, how to pursue it in a way that pleases Him. Out of that quest, was born: The Happiness Dare: Pursuing Your Heart’s Deepest, Holiest, and Most Vulnerable Desire.
Take Jennifer’s Happiness Style Assessment, and find out in five minutes or less, what truly makes you happy.