About this book: (from the publisher) Would you like to be happier? No matter who you are or how you feel, chances are you would answer yes. And Jennifer Dukes Lee was no different. For years, she wrestled with a constant nagging sense that she wasn’t as happy as she could be. At the same time, she felt guilty for wanting something so “shallow.” After all, doesn’t God only care that we find joy in our circumstances? Or is it possible that God really does want us to be happy?
Determined to get answers, Jennifer embarked on a quest to find out whether our happiness matters to God and, if so, how to pursue it in a way that pleases him.
In The Happiness Dare, you’ll learn what she discovered, including how to:
- Understand the five happiness styles and maximize yours
- Overcome the four biggest obstacles that stand in the way of your happiness
- Find your happiness sweet spot―the place, relationship, or activity that gives you the greatest sense of well-being
- Discover what you can do in just five minutes a day to be happier
Will you take the dare?
Join Jennifer in the pursuit of your truest, most satisfied, and most faith-filled self.
About the author: Jennifer Dukes Lee, author of Love Idol, is a storyteller and a grace dweller. She is a popular blogger, an (in)courage writer, and a frequent speaker who can’t get over God’s amazing grace. Her writing has appeared at Women of Faith, Today’s Christian Woman, Relevant, and the blogs of Ann Voskamp, Holley Gerth, TheBetterMom.com, and many others.
Jennifer is a former award-winning news reporter who covered crime, politics, and natural disasters for several Midwestern metropolitan daily newspapers. Now she uses her reporting skills to chase after the biggest story ever: the redemptive story of Christ.
She clings to the hope of the Cross and is passionate about sharing the Good News through story. She believes in miracles; she is one. She marvels at God’s unrelenting grace for people who mess up—stumbling sinners like her, who have been made whole through Christ.
Jennifer and her husband live on the Lee family farm with their two daughters. She attends a small country church, and some Sundays, you can find her in the back of the sanctuary, spinning tunes as the church deejay. She loves air guitar, dark chocolate, emoji, messy people, and Jesus—not in that order. Visit Jennifer online at www.JenniferDukesLee.com and connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.
Genre: Non-fiction/Christian Life
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Reflection: No pulling punches on this one, here it is flat-out: I loved this book. The Happiness Dare has the potential for being a game-changer, revolutionizing the way God’s people view Him, happiness, and the holy purpose He created each of us to uniquely fulfill.
In The Happiness Dare Jennifer kicks things off with a confession, describing the time when she lost her grip on happiness.
“During those times of unhappiness, my great comfort came in believing that God didn’t care about happiness anyway. My great comfort came in believing that God cared more about my holiness. So I figured, If I can’t be happy, I’m still good with God. My holiness, then, became an excuse to stop seeking happiness.” (p. 8)
But over time, she realized the error of her thinking — of her theology, really. She writes:
“I had come to understand the truth: Our inner desire for happiness isn’t a sin. It’s a desire planted in us by God himself.” (p. 8)
“Happiness isn’t the opposite of holy. It’s a part of what makes you holy.” (p. 31)
She goes on to thoroughly debunk the myth that God cares more about our holiness than our happiness. He clearly cares about both, as they are intertwined.
Her examination of the role of gratitude on happiness struck a particularly resonant chord with me:
“When we took the Happiness Dare, we surrendered ourselves to the promise that God has given us everything we need to find happiness in the here and now, regardless of circumstances. We also came to understand that he equipped us to uniquely experience happiness in the world as Doers, Relaters, Experiencers, Givers, and Thinkers.
No matter what our style, the richest form of happiness begins with two words: ‘Thank you.'” (p. 250)
I’ve read a couple of books on happiness in the last year (Happiness by Randy Alcorn and The Happy Christian: Ten Ways to Be a Joyful Believer in a Gloomy World by David Murray), but Jennifer’s book took what I’d learned to a new level. How? By coupling God’s truth about happiness (as found in His Word) with practical applications. She did this by helping me identify my own happiness style — the result of which was both illuminating and confirming. Understanding my happiness style then helped to not only increase my own well-being, but the well-being of others. (Because when we’re happy in the best way, it overflows.)
More on Jennifer’s Happiness Style Assessment (which I touched on last month, here). She names five distinct happiness styles: Doer, Relater, Experiencer, Giver, and Thinker. Most of us are a bit of all five, but this quick, simple assessment will identify your strong suits. You need not have read the book to take the five-minute assessment (which you can do here). I highly encourage you to check it out as it will give you a good taste of what the book has in store.
If I have my way, The Happiness Dare will become required reading for every Christian who longs to live a holier, happier, more God-centered, purpose-filled life. (And who doesn’t?) At the very least, it belongs in every church library, and those in church leadership need to know about this book as a tool for plugging people into their spiritual gifts. (There’s a direct correlation between happiness style and spiritual giftedness and the way we can bless the world.) Though geared for women in tone and style — reading it feels like sitting down with a good friend — its content is made for everyone.
Thanks to Tyndale Momentum for providing me a free copy to review. All opinions are mine.
After words: Well? Did you take the test? Are you a Doer (like Jennifer and me), a Relator, Experiencer, Giver, or Thinker? Jennifer and I would love to know!