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“The revellious, Dave?” Yes.

But that word doesn’t even exist.

Correct. “Revellious” doesn’t exist—at least, you won’t find it in Webster’s Dictionary. But… the words “revel,” “reveler,” “revelry,” and “reveille” do exist. So, too, do the words “rebel,” “rebels,” “rebellion,” “rebellious,” and “rebelliousness.” In creating this new word—revellious (and all its many conjugations)—I am, herein, blending the words revel and rebellious.

Why is that? Good question.

The reason is quite simple and, I hope, somewhat intuitive: Being grumpy, cynical, disoriented, and down- or half-hearted are the default states of the ho-hum, immature, irresponsible, unintentional, sleepy, and still- steeped-in-fallenness approach to daily life. To be a reveler—one who revels in the wonders of Life, Light, Love, Freedom, Joy, Goodness, Generativeness, Whole-heartedness, Relational Reconciliation, and Redemptive Intimacy [with God, your own self, those around you, and even nature]—you must rebel, and do so with great joy and tenacity, against the erosive entropy of the above default states.

I am a rebel. I’ve been one my whole life; and, at times, it’s gotten me into trouble. In many instances, what the culture teaches (sometimes even within the church) are lies, and I refuse to accept or live my life in accordance with such lies. This world (including, unfortunately, large segments within the church) tends to wallow in fallenness. I choose not, too. This world also tends to submit mindlessly to, and thus live out, its fears, nightmares, lazy cravings, insane (and convoluted/bass-ackward) rules, and self-administered anxieties. Again, I choose not to.

I can remember for years being criticized by many in the church (the visible, institutional, legalistic, little “c” church) for my emphasis on pursuing those things that “make me feel happy in life.” The kneejerk reactions I often received were those of religious contempt and paternalistic preachiness: Dave, God doesn’t necessarily “will” that you be happy. He wills your obedience. Sometimes, obeying God is hard; and, more often than not, it’s unpleasant. Sure, God wills my obedience, but that’s really just the first rung on the ladder of relationship-building with Him. Contrary to what many might preach (or imply), obedience (often—and errantly—defined as aggressive sin-management) is NOT the pinnacle of Divine intimacy with God. In fact, it’s far from it.

And, granted, while obedience can be difficult and unpleasant at times, difficulty and unpleasantness does not necessarily equate to unhappiness. Just look at Paul and Silas, when, as recounted in Ac 14, they were thrown in jail…

The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. At about midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. [Ac 14:22-25.]

What Paul and Silas demonstrated in Acts was true and genuine happiness. For them, and just like Jesus, it was a state of being and the source of great strength. Paul and Silas—and, of course, their Master Jesus—were (and still are) quintessentially revellious. And happy. And, writing of happiness, what if Jesus not only wants you to be happy but commands it?

Two decades ago, in my attempts to bridge the gulf between my thinking and that of others, I started adopting phrasing I picked up from John Eldredge, like “I go after those things that make me come alive.” And you know what? It worked! People started to get it—at least, to a degree. Still to this day, though, the moment I start saying how I think “being happy” is a primary quality of a JILIF (Jesus-imager, -lover, -imitator, and -follower), I get significant push back: Jesus desires holiness, Dave, not necessarily happiness. For some reason (and I really mean no disrespect to anyone in particular), such familiar refrains resemble what my cat looks and sounds like when she’s in the throes of coughing up a hairball. As if being set apart by God Almighty as His cherished and Hand-picked lover, friend, and partner is not the definition of bliss. Joy, happiness, bliss, wakefulness, aliveness, whole-heartedness—all these words, in their essence, point to the same thing: A life overflowing with revelliousness.

Being a reveler—a happy, joyful, devoted, enthusiastic, and purpose-driven person, and where genuine happiness is a state of being—requires significant, preconsidered intentionality and an almost continual breaking-with-the-herd mentality.

I’ve titled my most recent book Revel: Living a Whole-hearted Life by Design. Revel is a living workbook, and it’s intended to help you create a revelliously whole-hearted life. Just so you know, I write only from personal experience, and I recommend only those things I do (or have done) myself.

There’s nothing contained on this website or in any of my writings that’s not drawn from my direct, first-hand experience. Written differently, there’s nothing contained herein that’s just an abstract regurgitation of something I heard once or read about in a book somewhere. Fake teachers don’t just teach things that aren’t true; they also teach things they don’t do or use. Real teachers, on the other hand, teach the truth and teach only what they do every day. I work very hard to be among the latter.

For example, when I write about the “freedom-creating” act of making my bed every morning, what I’m alluding to is how crafting a military style bunk (I call it “my corps rack”), and how doing it really, really well every morning without missing one for more than thirty-six years: Day 1 – Monday morning, September 10, 1984 (my first morning of N/ROTC basic training at Virginia Tech), helps me begin each day with having already completed one task well. Doing this one simple—yet very disciplined—task sets the tenor for the rest of my morning and, from there, the rest of my day. To quote Jocko Willink, “Discipline… is… freedom.” It is the only image you’ll ever need to reflect.

I just relish the opportunity to come alongside you and help you (in partnership with Jesus) live out the unique glory of Jesus H-he wishes to manifest His life for, in, with, through, and (mysteriously) as you.

I’ll leave you with a quote from one of my many mentors:


It’s possible, ladies and gentlemen, to redesign your life…
even as you’re approaching the end of the very last day of it.

– Les Brown