Day 2: Do I Need to be Happy all the Time to be Radiant?
Does the Biblical description of radiance – “to beam with joy” mean we are all supposed to be upbeat and backslapping happy all the time? Must we smile continually? Must our proverbial glasses always be full? It’s important to think about what radiance should look like, because some of us are serious introverts. Even on our best days, there are some who are far from beaming and bubbly.
Let’s not confuse personal disposition with spiritual condition.
I live with one of the most joyful people on the planet. Sophia is our adopted daughter from Ethiopia. Recently, when asked about her day, Sophia gave me the same evaluation as always. “It was awesome, Mom. Well, I forgot my lunch, so I didn’t get to eat, but it was a great day.” Yes. That is my Sophia. Nothing seems to get her down. At all times she remains jovial, smiling and positive. Cheerful optimism is her natural personality. God bless the Sophia’s of the world! I am so glad I get to live with one.
But what about those of us who are not naturally bubbly? What about the serious more introverted personalities? Can a person be radiant—shining, lightened and beaming with an inner joy AND have a personality more serious than a heart attack?
In fact, in his book, The Last Battle, C. S. Lewis penned it this way, “There is a kind of happiness and wonder that makes you serious.” Scripture seems to line up with this sentiment.
This kind of happiness comes exclusively from the Holy Spirit (1 Thess. 1:6 and Romans 14:17).
And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 1 Thessalonians 1:6
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17
Joy is an emotion neither you nor I can achieve by ourselves. This doesn’t mean, however, that we meet every day delirious and carefree, like my Sophia. Instead, New Testament biblical joy is more of a calm delight, a confidence and a hope. In other words, we could say joy is feeling a calm delight in who God is and who you are because of Him; being confident that He can be trusted with your life.
That definition of joy—if we truly grasp it—is what changes our appearance and approach to each day.
Radiance is simply the physical evidence of you and me taking God at His Word. It is the visual display of the story He is writing of your life—of sin triumphed by His grace (a calm delight)—and what He is able to do with a life and personality like yours (confidence and hope).
Yes! This is a happiness that makes us leave the mundane offerings of the world for serious living. We need serious-minded women who beam with joy with every personality, in every home, on every street, in every corner of the universe. May we be radiant women—telling the world with our faces who God is. And yes. He can be trusted.