Funny observation I have about a deviation of the English language from its present state in Great Britain to its present state in the United States: only one side of the pond seems to still use the suffix “monger” for anything of than “fear monger.” In the US, we have “fear mongering” — the act of spreading exaggerated rumors to create fear, however in Great Britain, there are fear mongers, and fishmongers and cheesemongers and I imagine lots of other mongers that I just didn’t have the time to observe from my time in Scotland.

For a good period of my life, I’d like to say I was a bit of a cheer monger. My perpetual mental state was incredibly optimistic and, maybe my parents did a good job of teaching me proper sleeping habits, I tended to wake up like a happy Disney princess on coronation day.

And then parenthood happened.

And while some of the folks who know me in the present might consider me to still be a mostly happy person, I am quite certain it is no longer a consistent state of being. I’m no longer a cheer monger, so much as a hopeful optimist who consistently feels like a let’s-just-survive-today realist.

A few years ago, I met an individual on a few separate occasions that I can only liken to a wet blanket. Our conversations were so heavy and dry and it seemed like there was no space in the world for the possibility of flowers, sunshine, rainbows, or even rainbow colored Skittles candy.

I had been introduced to a grump-monger. An individual consistently prepared to throw a wet blanket on other people’s hopes and dreams, while simultaneously feeling certain that things will work out better for every other person in the room than it will for him or herself. {You won’t find that one in Webster’s friends, but there’s always time for next year.}

In the church, my friends, it just shouldn’t be so.

I’ve recently read the words of Jesus to His disciples just before He made the long and arduous trip to the cross. And these words have stood out to me on every occasion:

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” {John 16:33}

I’m fascinated by this one simple thought: Jesus was telling His disciples to take courage, to be of good cheer… the Greek word translated there is defined as “be bolstered from within.” And this isn’t a stand-alone instance.

In John 15:11, Jesus says “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” And further along in 16:24 “Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”

As He finishes His words to them by praying this one last prayer for them before His early ministry will come to an end, Jesus prays, “But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.” {John 17:13}

At the most sorrowful point in His life on Earth Jesus keeps speaking this same idea: Yes, the road ahead will be hard. Yes. You will have tribulation. But rejoice. Take heart. Be courageous. Be of good cheer.

Is there hope for a society riddled with trendy sarcasm? Is there hope for us to endure what life will throw our way and not just “grin and bear it” but embrace it, and find joy right here, right now?

For the month ahead, I’d very delightedly like to invite you to join me on a journey to ask the question: how do we find a place in ourselves where we can be of good cheer in the midst of the hard?

What if there’s another place: Moving even past the contentment we’re working on embracing into a place where we see what’s ahead and, no matter what, say “Yes” with a smile? A real one!

I’m excited to walk this out, in hopes of finding the road to joy and the soul-satisfying good cheer right here. I’d love to welcome you to join the journey. At the Collie house, we’ll be learning John 16:33 {NKJV}if you’d like to join us… and here’s a beautiful printable by my dear friend Margaret if you’d like a visual reminder to put a smile on your dial in the month to come! {large one | small one}
I welcome your thoughts, comments, smiles — and even wet blankets, friends. Happy Easter. He is risen. Be of good cheer!