How to Use Happiness as Your Weapon
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.[bctt tweet=”Filling my heart with happiness each day served as my weapon #thehappinessdare #hope @dukeslee” username=”lori_schumaker”]
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!
Hey, I’ve seen this book somewhere and I thought it looks interesting. My kind of book. 🙂
Thanks for sharing this. Happiness is indeed powerful.
Amen, Lux!!! Thanks for visiting!!
Lori, I’m so sorry for the pain you went through in that past marriage and in the divorce. All that can be devastating already, but when people judge or don’t understand, it makes the knife go deeper. Thank you for sharing honestly. This line especially draws me – “My scars are still there, but I can promise you they only tell a story of God’s grace, love, provision, and redemption.” Beautiful. Blessings and hugs to you!
Can I just tell you how big I smiled when I saw your name here? I have missed you! I’ve been praying for your time away. That God gave you rest and renewal! Thank you, as always for your kind and encouraging words. Much love, Lori
You are such a great example Lori. It’s a reminder for us all to be kind as we don’t know another’s story and what they have to live through. I wish you every happiness and so much more… You deserve it. X
Thank you, Jade. Your words were a big hug to my heart. ♥
Thanks for your openness. I’ve been in a negative mindset recently and I am not normally a negative person so it’s been a challenge in my day to day. I choose (unwisely) to concentrate on what was stealing my joy instead of WHO gave me my joy. I’m working on changing that. He is my joy and my life. I’m excited to read the Happiness Dare I just bought. Thanks for the recommendation and loving on Alison, I’m her mom.
It is so good to hear from you! Goodness, your daughter is such a treasure! I’m so excited to get to spend time with her! I’m glad you got the book. It really opened my eyes to much I take/took for granted. I’ll be praying for you as you begin to pick up that joy again. Thank you so much for visiting!
Blessings and smiles,
Love your post! Especially, …..”the Lord says happiness is good. It is strength. It keeps our heart open and pliable before Him.”
Years ago, a member of the small/home group I was in said my heart was pliable. Because of hardships the last 5 years, my heart had grown cold and distant from the Lord and every relationship I have. In the last week I’ve been able to realize His love and favor and presence again 🙂 Today was very stressful at work, but I’m trying not to allow it to get me down again. I was just asking God, a few minutes before reading your blog, please keep reminding me of Your love, acceptance, presence and power!
Lela, I am praising God He lead you to this particular post and used it as a reminder of how very very much He loves you, accepts you, is there for you, and will fight for you! I am so honored to be given the opportunity to give you hope, sweet sister. Can you feel the love gushing out of this screen? I just wish I could hug you! I’m going to keep praying these truths for you so that no matter the yucky day or the hurt inflicted by another, you remember how precious and wonderful you are! I will also be praying for happiness to be your weapon. That your heart stay pliable and connected to Jesus. That He fill your every hurting or empty space. Hugs, Lori
Happiness as a weapon! Wow! Such insight! Definitely a book I’d like to read. So sorry for your what you went through, Lori, but grateful for how God is using it in your life to spread His message of hope to so many others. Keep on smiling, my friend.
Thanks, Carlie! It is a great book! Maybe you will win! 🙂
This looks like a great book, Lori!
I guess I’m going to have to get a copy!
Hope you have a good weekend~
You would love it, Melanie!!!
Lori, thank you for sharing your story so honestly. It took me a long time to feel like it was okay to be happy after our lives were knocked flat by betrayal and rejection. But you’re right, happiness is a powerful weapon. And when we are happy in spite of our circumstances God gets all the glory. And I see His joy in you. Beautiful post, my friend!
Thank you, Deb! Isn’t it just like the enemy to work to convince us it is a bit selfish to be happy when our circumstances are filled with pain? I identify with what you said and can imagine how difficult it was to find happiness and use it in the midst of your hurt. I do know that you, too, have much joy that you share with many. I am the very blessed recipient of that joy! You are a treasure and I am so thankful for you!!!!
I didn’t know this part of your story. I’m truly touched by what you’ve shared- and happy to see how God has redeemed your story. Thank you for your openness. I think I would like this book.
God keeps making me braver and braver and is pushing me out there to reveal more. I’ve only hinted before and told bits and pieces, but it would have been easy to miss. There are so many pieces yet. We shall see where God takes me with it! The vulnerability is ROUGH, though! My heart served on a platter … yikes.
Thanks, friend, for your kind words!
Lori, I’ve been writing and re-writing a post along a similar vein for months. I love how you stated this. I am so sorry for the pain you went through, but also thankful that God gave you the gift of happiness, so much so that you were able to rely on that in the darkest times without even realizing you were doing it. What a sweet mercy He gave you! I’ve thought many times over the past week that I wish I had had more time to talk with you at Declare last week. This post confirms that even more. I’ve already purchased my tickets for next year; will you be going? xoxo
Wendy, I am going to be praying God gives you His words to finish that post. I have a feeling the enemy has been hoping you wouldn’t find the courage because he knows it will point to the glory of God and whisper great big hope into the hearts of many!
I would have loved to sit down with you, too, and have quiet conversation! Every time I would see you it would be as we were racing up and down a hallway! Ha! I haven’t bought my ticket yet, but I am hoping to go. I’ll let you know when I do and then let’s make plans!!!
Lori, your heart for hope and happiness is always a blessing to connect with! So many of our stories intersect at the same place – the place where the enemy whispers lies into our soul. Thanks be to God for His powerful word and relentless love to draw us tenderly beneath His wing and nurture us back to feeling safe and loved and accepted. Thankful for His unwavering faithfulness friend!
You are such a treasure. I sure wish we could connect in real life someday! I think we could talk for hours! Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words! You make my heart smile♥
Great message! I’m not sure why I immediately thought of the angels who rejoiced when they announced Jesus’ birth. Luke 2:13 If you think about it, though, there was a great deal they could have been mourning about. After all, Jesus had stepped from His heavenly throne, into flesh and blood. His life would be one of hardship and poverty. He would step into his ministry hounded by Satan himself. He would endure all kinds of rejection, betrayal, exhaustion … and then the terrible sufferings at the cross. His birth meant His death. And yet, all of Heaven rejoiced! They found the joy and happiness in the Good News – and they celebrated that, rather than focusing on the bad. I think that’s a great testimony!
What a beautiful perspective, Rebecca! I think that could be a phenomenal blog post!! 🙂 Heaven DID rejoice! Happiness was their weapon! Thank you so much for visiting and joining in the conversation!
Blessings and smiles,
Thank you for sharing your story. What a powerful story of God’s tethering love. So thankful God placed that joy within you and used it to open you up to Him more and more through the excruciating hard. Praising God with you!
Such truth in this:
“And friends, the Lord says happiness is good. It is strength. It keeps our heart open and pliable before Him.”
Discovering that through turning to thankfulness as I take the time to look back at His mighty Hand upon my life.
Thank you for your kind words and thank you for praising God with me! It is so good to look back and see where His hand covered us. It’s often difficult to see in the moment, but later it is evident. I see His protection even when I hadn’t surrendered my whole life. He was always there ♥
Lori, I had missed this detail of your story, and am so thankful for the brave grace you took from God to make necessary changes. And I love your words about our scars. It’s true that we would not be who we are without the dark paths that God walks with us.
You are being a trooper on this launch team! My review is still in the works, but I so enjoyed the book!
Thanks, Michele! It’s one of those stories I have hinted at a few times, each time revealing a little more. I know that it is those stories that will minister to hearts, but yet it is difficult to write about. So much vulnerability!! Talking about it is pretty easy for me, but the writing has been a whole new aspect!
Jennifer’s book is so good. I can’t wait to read your review at some point!!
Beautiful words of encouragement to all who struggle to be understood, when they are simply trying to be happy in he midst of pain. Your story touched my heart when you shared it with me at Declare. I’m so happy that you found healing and a new life, and that now you have such a wonderful testimony to share!
Thanks for sharing. I have read that verse many times. “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” but I have never thought about it in those terms. I need to read this book so I can more fully understand how to use this weapon. Thanks again.
I appreciate this testimony of the way God granted happiness during a difficult season in your life. What a fresh perspective — happiness as a weapon! Thank you for sharing this with us at Grace & Truth!
I’m always so touched by your testimony! I’m so sorry for those awful words that were spoken to you–all lies. I’m so glad you got out of that situation and are embracing the truth of who you are. Your joy is contagious. Your testimony touches lives. I don’t think I’ll ever forget what I learned today by reading your post. Happiness is a weapon. No matter what our circumstance, we can choose to bend down and pick up that weapon. The weapon protects us from “ugliness eating us whole.” Love!