Of Trolls and Happiness


Certain movies tend to become irremovable from your childhood. The obsessive, incurable ability for children to view a movie time after time after time creates an unshakable connection. For such movies in my childhood, I would point to Aladdin and Toy Story, and the first such movie for Elizabeth and Hannah was Frozen. Now all three of my kids are obsessed with Trolls.

If you haven’t seen it, you should. It has great music, is warm-hearted, and is legitimately funny. Also, the storyline truly intrigues me. There are these people, called the Bergens, who are incapable of finding happiness outside of devouring adorable, little, colorful trolls. (SPOILERS!) They eventually discover, with the help of the trolls (irony?!) that they can experience happiness sans troll feast. The obvious assumption made by the movie is that the Bergens naturally desire happiness.

Shifting to the real world, I wonder if this is a fair assumption for people today? Do people truly desire happiness for their lives? I am not so sure. As an example, let us look at a story involving one of Jessica’s favorite people: Ree Drummond. This mom/cook/TV personality is someone that Jessica has been following for years, and we have enjoyed many of her recipes in Chez Shady.

This morning I read an article citing how she is “under fire” for one of her episodes. In this episode, she tries to serve her husband and some others spicy Asian chicken wings. It is important to know that Ree’s husband is a classic Texan, meat and potatoes, actual cowboy. Basically, a modern John Wayne of sorts. As such, it is not surprising that he was a bit hesitant to engage in something as “exotic” as spicy Asian chicken wings. Additionally, it is also quite natural that he is excited when Ree reveals that she also made classic buffalo wings.

So…Ree Drummond is under fire for insulting a dish that reflects Asian-American culture. The conclusion must be that she and her husband are racists.


So, back to my question. Are people truly seeking happiness? No. Many people are seeking a fulfillment of sorts, but it is not happiness. Instead, they seek grumpiness topped with complaining accompanied with a side of griping. Why? Because it works. Defining yourself by your woes is such an easy road. It is possible to seek attention through sharing how hard your life is or by preaching on how terrible other people are. It is possible to find comfort in the blanket of darkness. I truly believe that these complaints against Ree Drummond are a sad attempt to gain a sense of self-importance. By announcing the supposed lowliness of someone else, such a person hopes to elevate themselves. I believe that such actions are a power play which forces others to take notice and raise concern and get angry over non-issues in the name of tolerance.

I am certain that you see this every day. I am just as certain that you struggle with this at times. Being positive can feel like such a steep, uphill climb against the grain of everything around us. Why not curl up and roll down the hill with everyone else?

Oh to be like the Bergens in Trolls. They are willing to change in order to obtain happiness. Oh to live in a children's movie, where the goal is so simple to see and easier to obtain. I truly believe that God enjoys when your life bumps into happiness, but I also believe that he has asked us to focus more deeply. 

So if you are up for the challenge and desire to be a true rebel, counter-culturally rejecting the road of negativity, there are some basic steps to take.

  1. Make Jesus your Lord and become a Christian (if you are not already).
  2. Remember that with Jesus you have more than you could ever deserve. Trust me, it could be much, much worse, but the author of the universe has already written a beautiful ending to your story. 
  3. Choose gratefulness. There is always more to say thank you for than to pout about. Also, actually say your "thank you's" out loud. To God and to others. Make it a habit, but don't take it for granted. 
  4. Seek joy. Trust the ending of your story, get on the road lined with gratefulness, and live every day knowing that joy cannot be stolen from you. God has secured it. There is nothing so negative that it can steal away your life's meaning, purpose, or hope.

We live in negative times. Can you please stand up and reject this trend with me? Let us all together venture down the road of gratefulness, clinging to the joy of knowing our destination. You know what will be great? Without yearning for it like Bergens, we will find a lot of happiness along the way. 

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

-     Romans 15:13 (ESV)

13 Que le Dieu de l'espérance vous remplisse de toute joie et de toute paix dans la foi, pour que vous abondiez en espérance, par la puissance du Saint Esprit!

-     Romains 15 :13 (LSG)

~ Glen