It’s Not Enough to Smile, You Must Now Walk Joyfully?

It’s Not Enough to Smile, You Must Now Walk Joyfully? January 31, 2018
A screencap from the movie ‘Tommy’ of Tina Turning trying unconvincingly to fake a smile.

Nancy Campbell of Above Rubies tends to wander into some strange theological places with her ‘Never Think, Be Happy’ demands. This morning I ran across her saying that you must not only be super cheerful in you speech and countenance too. It’s not enough that you smile at everyone and say nice things, now you have to clomp around joyfully. I guess at least she’s not insisting on giggling and skipping.


Nancy, Nancy, Nancy, if it’s upon arising before coffee you’ll be lucky if I manage to grunt. Sorry, but there’s nowhere in the Bible that orders you to traipse about grinning before coffee. Jesus isn’t going to send you on a slip n’ slide down to hell if you’re not grinning like Cheshire cat.


Of all the bad messages that Nancy Campbell loves to impart this particular message of the appearance of constant joy is one of the worst. Own your own emotions freely. That does not mean walking around weeping or snarling, but it’s must more emotionally healthy to acknowledge your feelings, deal with them and move along.

moreRead more nonsense Nancy Campbell

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • A. Noyd

    Japanese culture is really big on the idea of maintaining a “public face” and tucking one’s “true feelings” away to avoid making others uncomfortable. It’s infamous for it, even. Yet, Japanese people would consider Nancy’s philosophy bizarre and dangerous.

    Expressions of negativity are everywhere in Japan because they do have a positive side: Griping collectively about unpleasant conditions promotes social cohesion. And sometimes it leads to everyone working together toward a solution if the unpleasantness is fixable.

    Moreover, the more closely you are related to or associate with someone, the more you’re allowed and expected to divulge your true feelings. It’s inappropriate to burden outsiders with your true inner state, but you want to enable those close to you to help you. And you want to encourage their honesty so you can help them in turn. Faking happy all the time to your family would be like shoving them away.

  • Saraquill

    “Sorry, but there’s nowhere in the Bible that orders you to traipse about grinning before coffee.”

    I remember hearing of a Psalm with foul sentiment to overly perky people at the crack of dawn.

  • Anri

    Correct me if I am wrong, but there are also specific outlets for less regulated behavior that are not expected to wash over into general life, correct?

    For example, my understanding is that your office can all go out drinking together, and you can pretty much throw up on your boss’s shoes, or they on yours, and it’s just not mentioned outside of that context. This may be a gross oversimplification, but am I off base here?

    There doesn’t seem to be a lot of that social letting off steam in this advice. That can’t be good.

  • SAO

    In the Soviet Union, people could be sent to the GULag for protesting, so they were good Soviet citizens in public, but in their circle of friends, they were warm and open. They didn’t really have the sort of larger group of friendly acquaintances that Americans have.

    But they were open and honest with their families (sometimes families of choice) and close friends. I presume the Japanese did the same, although some reports of Chinese life are stifling for women because everyone was expected to fulfill their role.

    It may be role fulfilling is a social issue when marriages and families aren’t chosen by all. Like arranged marriages or polygamous marriages where wives don’t have much say in who their sister wives are.

  • SAO

    I must say, as the child of a grumpy-in-the-morning mother, it had little effect on me, except to convince me to always eat breakfast — or more importantly feed visiting parents breakfast — first thing in the morning.

    Oh, and another thing, I think 99.99% of parents with healthy legs walk upright in the morning (and the rest of the day).

  • Tailored

    If one is oozing, perhaps one should not be walking around at all…

    Sorry that’s just all I could think after reading that first excerpt, lol!

  • Tailored

    “Mornings are for coffee and contemplation.”

    No “oozing” joy until I’ve finished at least one cup and a few blog posts/articles!

  • Raging Bee

    IMPORTANT THEOLOGICAL QUESTION: If you manage to disappear behind a Cheshire Cat smile, will Jesus still see you when you’re naked?

  • Raging Bee

    Perver — er, I mean great minds think alike!

  • Raging Bee

    And sometimes it leads to everyone working together toward a solution if the unpleasantness is fixable.

    In some Christian circles, that’s called “playing God;” and it’s VERY severely frowned upon.

  • Raging Bee

    That’s what your bosses may make you think at the time; but there’s no assurance at all that that implicit promise will be kept after the party’s over. This is why people are advised these days NEVER to drink too much with either your boss or your professor.

  • Jezebel’sOlderSister

    Just reading these excerpts makes me weep for the women who are trapped in this world view and the struggles that they must have while facing conditions that can easily be medically controlled when discovered. One example is depression. There can be many causes of depression. One is low thyroid — and a simple thyroid pill can easily adjust and maintain the proper levels. How devastating it must be to suffer from depression and to be told that not only it’s imaginary, but that you have to mask your symptoms behind a smile and a cheery attitude. Oh, and by the way, you must have not accepted Jesus/God in the right way because we all know that depression is a sign of the influence of the devil in your life. Although I don’t think I know anyone from the quiverfull mindset, I have had Xtians tell me that accepting Jesus/God (and not taking “drugs”) would cure my depression.

  • John Pieret

    Um … isn’t walking around with the appearance of constant joy you don’t feel a form of lying? Didn’t I hear somewhere that lying was wrong? …

  • AFo

    Good thing I live alone, so no one can see my daily half-asleep stumbling from the bedroom to the kitchen. Actually, now that I think of it, that’s probably why I live alone….If only I’d listened to Nancy’s advice (/s).

  • KarenOfRocks

    Depressed people do a lot of this, not necessarily at home, but certainly outside it. I did it successfully for years, and it took a terrible toll on me. (I did eventually get treatment.) But as a kid, I was chided for being less than cheerful, so I developed the act. (My anxiety-driven mother needed a cheerful child to validate her parenting skills. Meanwhile, she was certainly allowed to have bad moods.)

    This advice is cruel.

  • Tailored

    Sad to say that I was thinking of some infected wound oozing and contaminating things around the house, lol!

  • ChevalBlanc

    “I think 99.99% of parents with healthy legs walk upright…”

    Evolution rocks!

  • ChevalBlanc
  • Almost a chimp

    A bit passion-killing, that image.

  • Almost a chimp

    Coming next week: Fart With A Smile; It Makes Jesus Happy.

  • Lily Erickson

    Oh my god you used a picture of Tina Turner as the Acid Queen!!! That is amazing.

  • Mel

    Man, being around someone that relentlessly upbeat all the time would be exhausting.

  • A. Noyd

    At gatherings like that, you do get a lot more leeway and can be way more candid than usual, but you still want to be prudent. Even if people won’t bring up a faux pas to your face, they still remember you made it. And, being human, it will affect their opinion of you whether they mean it to or not.

  • B.A.

    Especially in Nancy’s circle.

  • B.A.


  • Joy

    What Psalm is that? I think I’d enjoy it!

  • Poster Girl

    Is Nancy the one who didn’t get married until much older, or am I mixing her up with someone else?

    It’s pretty easy to tell a woman with 6+ kids that she’s going to hell if she’s not always grinning, from your lofty no-children, never-going-to-have-children perch.

    I mean, I’ve only got two myself, whom I adore, but they both know that everyone’s allowed to be grumpy in the morning, especially before the coffee kicks in.

  • Early in the morning, before I had my first cup of coffee, my countenance says: get out of my way. I am sorry, I know I am not an agreeable person right after waking up. I need those 15 minutes spent in silence, while watching the sky. to prepare myself for the day. Apart from that, I really don’t ask for much, so…! The people around me have finally realized that life is much better for everyone, if they just leave me alone in the morning.

  • Elena Johnson

    I don’t recall a psalm, but there’s this in Proverbs: “If anyone loudly blesses their neighbor early in the morning,
    it will be taken as a curse.” (Proverbs 27:14)

  • Joy

    Lol. As a night owl, I love it. Thanks!

  • Saraquill

    Afraid I don’t remember. The person who told me that may have been mistaking something from Proverbs with Psalms.

  • Joy

    That’s ok. Thanks for replying though!

  • lady_black

    I can’t walk with a spring in my step until at least the second cup of coffee and my pain pills have kicked in. Some days, not at all.
    Still, I’m generally happy. Every day above ground is a good day at this point.
    My philosophy is “Always keep smiling. It will keep other people wondering what you’re up to!”

  • lady_black

    Depression is under-treated because of “advice” like this.

  • Quinsha

    She wouldn’t like me in January after the holidays. I am lucky to get out of bed in the morning, clean the kitty litter, and make dinner later. Pretending a joyous countenance requires more ENERGY than I have during those times.

  • Allyson Smith

    I wonder why women in Quiverfull world have to constantly be told to act like they’re happy. It’s almost like they’re in a state of constant misery, depression, and resentment in a way that non-Quiverfull women are not. But we all know that that can’t be true.

  • Allyson Smith
  • LOL! I don’t have to worry either, my cat is just as much a non-morning person as I am. We enjoy being grumpy together.

  • Too true. The only way I could be less of a morning person would be to develop aversions to garlic and silver crosses.