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‘Chewbacca Mom’ Candace Payne: How to Be a Joy Evangelist

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"Chewbacca Mom" Candace Payne has become a well-known speaker, author and “joy evangelist.” LightWorkers recently had the opportunity to ask Payne some questions about her new book “Simple Joys.”


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Candace Payne is a woman of many talents, but inspiring joy is something she has a special knack for. Since going viral as “Chewbacca Mom”—if you haven’t seen the video, look it up. It’s worth it—Payne has become a well-known speaker, author and “joy evangelist.” LightWorkers recently had the opportunity to ask Payne some questions about her new book “Simple Joys.”

'Chewbacca Mom' Candace Payne: How to Be a Joy Evangelist

Where did the title for “Simple Joys” come from?

In all honesty, at the end of my viral video, I say “It’s about the simple joys, people!”  And I felt there was way more to uncover and dive into that truth.  

Why are you so passionate about the message of finding joy?

I honestly feel as though there’s been an assumption and untruth about joy. I feel like people assume it’s only for some. I’ve even heard that joy is a luxury to those who are in the midst of difficult seasons and disappointments. I wanted to give people a different perspective that joy can actually be weaponized and defiant to whatever life throws at you. 

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It’s easy to find joy when everything’s going well, but what are ways to find it when everything seems to be going wrong?

I think the biggest tool we have is changing the verbiage that we speak to ourselves. Those quiet conversations that happen in our mind dictate the joy we will have. Hope cannot be lost to encounter joy. No matter the difficulty, you must speak to yourself in hopeful terms, not hopeless musings. Hope fuels joy…even in the darkest of seasons. 

I wanted to give people a different perspective that joy can actually be weaponized and defiant to whatever life throws at you. 

What can we do to turn something that seems like a huge fail or mistake into a simple joy? And can you share a story about it?

I believe there’s power in laughing at yourself when you fall. Like, quite literally! In my book, I discuss a moment where I fell backward in a choir dress next to my college crush on stage in front of hundreds of people. I had an opportunity to run off stage in tears and embarrassment or laugh it up. I chose to break the atmosphere with joy and annihilate shame. I think anyone has a chance to change their atmosphere by doing the same. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Own your mistakes and try again. 

What advice would you give someone who is struggling through a major disappointment right now, and can’t seem to find joy anywhere?

I don’t want to be trite. Take time to grieve when you need to grieve. Lament well. As much as good belly laughs are good medicine to the soul, I believe due tears are necessary to know joy on the other side. Never fake joy. Never forsake joy either. Know that you can have zero shame in both your tears and your laughter. 

'Chewbacca Mom' Candace Payne: How to Be a Joy Evangelist

What do you think is the number one joy thief? And what do you do to fight it?

I believe anything that robs us of being content is the greatest joy thief. That could be categorized as comparison, insecurities or shame quite easily. For me personally, I have found that I am most content when I am most confident in what God says about me. As a person of faith, I have to believe that what I feel or others feel about who I am is not nearly as important as what my Creator says I am. 

Do you have a favorite example?

Yes! I, many times, take a journal and right on the left side of a page all my fears, insecurities, lies that I believe about my identity. Then on the opposing side of the journal, I write scripture verses that combat the way that I have been thinking. 

I chose to break the atmosphere with joy and annihilate shame.

Where is the most unlikely place that you’ve found joy?

In my first book, “Laugh It Up!,” I write about discovering joy as a 9-year-old that was homeless living in an RV spot, taking coin showers. It was there I knew I shouldn’t feel as much joy as I had discovered in the adventure of it all, and yet I did. 

You encourage readers to “share their joy with others. What are some ways we can do that?

Pay it forward any time you possibly can. Pay it with your resources, a cup of coffee, a hidden $5 bill taped to a dollar store item, your advice when asked, your listening ear when needed to be silent, your time when you have a little extra. Make the priority to be a giver. There’s joy in sharing life and love and the things you cannot take with you when this life ends.