Does God Care about Our Happiness? A Book Review of The Happiness Dare by Jennifer Dukes Lee

your happines matters

I have to confess: I have always been a bit of a happiness skeptic. Sure, I know that God intends us to have deep and abiding joy. But somehow the term “happy” seemed to be joy’s cheaper, less durable knock-off.

In addition to this, there have been plenty of times in my life that the joy I know God has for us seems to be a thing meant for heaven, meant for later. In the meantime, there are people starving and orphaned children and corrupt governments and human trafficking and refugees and children working in sweat shops and I have a hard time not letting that get me down.

I’ve struggled with depression throughout my life and, perhaps as a result, have always been slightly skeptical of people who seem happy all the time. How does that work? Are they faking, or are they blissfully unaware of the state of the world?

All things considered, I might have passed over a book about happiness if I didn’t know Jennifer Dukes Lee.

Jennifer is no faker.

A former reporter, Jennifer Lee has seen a lot of hard things and she’s not a stranger to adversity. She’s a deep thinker who understands that the world is a hard place in which to live, and she’s not one to gloss over hardship. She’s seen a lot and she isn’t afraid to get in there and put herself in the midst of it, to make a difference despite the sadness. In fact, Jennifer writes:

“I wrote this book because I needed this book. I needed to know if my happiness mattered. And if it mattered, how could I go about finding it and then living it out in a place pulverized by pain and heartache?” ~Jennifer Dukes Lee, The Happiness Dare

I needed this book, too. The Happiness Dare is not a cure-all for depression, and it’s not going to automatically fix you if you are at a place where you are clinically depressed and in need of help. If you’re in that place, then friend? I give you permission to go get help. Get help spiritually, physically and mentally, because all three matter and nobody…not you, not anybody, deserves to live in the kind of anguish that depression causes.  It can get better, I promise.

Does God Care about Our Happiness? A Book Review of The Happiness Dare by Jennifer Dukes Lee

That said, I think that a whole lot of people are living in a not-quite-clinically-depressed but nowhere-near-happy place, a sort of gray zone where the colors are all there, just muted. Maybe you’re recovering from depression and you can’t quite remember what it was like to be happy. Maybe you can’t quite believe that God cares about your happiness…after all, you’ve got it pretty good and maybe it feels like asking for too much that you be happy along with it. Maybe, like me, you’ve got undiscovered hang-ups about happiness in general, and you need someone to come along and expose them for you…so you can savor the life you have.

Because, friend? Yes. God does care about your happiness. {Tweet this} Just like we care about the happiness of our own children, only more so because he’s God! I’m thrilled that my husband and I can provide for our kids, but it brings me real joy to see them really enjoy what they have, not just go through the motions. It brings me joy to see their happiness.

My kids’ happiness brings me joy. And God is the perfect Father, so imagine how much joy our delight brings Him! 

Yes. He cares.

In reading this book, I discovered that I’ve been holding back when it comes to happiness. I’ve had a wrong view of what God wants for me, his child. And in loosening up the bonds that wrong-thinking had put around my happiness, I’ve been able to enjoy life more…the colors are brighter. I’m more free to enjoy the gifts my Father has given me, to linger a little longer and laugh a little louder because I know my happiness brings Him joy, too.

Some happiness-growers you’ll find in The Happiness Dare:

  • The importance of realizing God cares about your happiness
  • How to linger in the good
  • Know your style…understand what makes you happy (check out this free happiness style quiz!)
  • Rest in the fact that good enough is good enough
  • You have permission to be happy

You know what? You should get this book. Because happiness is a thing that we could all use more of, and it’s too important to leave un-examined. The Happiness Dare is well written and fun to read, Jennifer’s sense of humor will make you laugh and her tender stories will go right to your heart.

Want to know more? Check out the book on Amazon, or stop by Jennifer’s blog. Also, there is a Happiness Dare book club going on at (in)Courage…join me and the dare-takers there?


2 thoughts on “Does God Care about Our Happiness? A Book Review of The Happiness Dare by Jennifer Dukes Lee

  • August 27, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    Wonderful review, Erica. Honest, encouraging and uplifting. Thank you for daring to admit your hang-ups and personal struggles- I too struggled a lot (for very similar reasons) and would NEVER have touched this book if it was not for Jennifer (having read her Love Idols and followed her blog I knew her heart for God and her capacity to shake up my world to set me free in Jesus’ Name). SO thankful for Jennifer’s powerful, life-changing ministry in Christ.

    • August 29, 2016 at 9:17 am

      Anna, I agree! Jennifer’s ministry is powerful and she’s such a gifted writer. This book is going to be a big blessing to so many people! Thanks for reading and commenting, I appreciate it!


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