In the age of viral media, it’s not uncommon for a video to go crazy viral or a post to been seen by millions of eyes.
In fact, never before in history has someone had the ability to be plucked from obscurity and rise to a national — or international — platform as quickly as in this 21st century digital age.
We see it all the time: from the announcement of Sarah Palin as a running mate in 2008; thrusting her into the spotlight from obscurity, to the boy who cried “Damn Daniel” on Vine and ended up on the Ellen show and just about everywhere else. It’s surprisingly easy to make a name for yourself and garner 15 minutes of fame.
The newest member of the “Gone Viral” club is none other than Texas native Candace Payne. A wife of nearly 15 years and mom to two youngsters, Payne seemed to be all over your Facebook Newsfeed and everywhere else on the internet over the last few days when a Facebook Live video of her unboxing a “Chewbacca” mask and laughing hysterically went mega viral.
We’re talking – “It broke the internet.”
Literally, Candace Payne’s video has set new records as being the most-viewed Facebook Live video with over 133 MILLION views.
But just hours after her video blew up the internet, Payne goes on record with the real reason she put on that mask, and we – for the first time – have begun to understand why Candace’s little stunt is about more than just a funny moment dressed as Chewbacca in the front seat of a car.
She walked into Kohl’s to buy yoga pants, but little did Candace know that God had other plans for her.
“I honestly wasn’t there for the mask,” Payne told Good Morning America. “I was there for myself for some yoga pants because I’m trying to work out more. And it’s not really going that well, but I ended up going to the toy section because I got discouraged about the yoga pants and I thought, ‘Maybe not today. But I can get a toy for my kids.’ And I walk through the toy section and I accidentally bumped my shoulder into this box. And I had seen this before, but I didn’t realize it made sounds until that moment. It accidentally started making the growl, and I went, ‘I need to get that. Like, I don’t think my kids need that, I think I need that.’”
A few minutes later, Candace is in her car only 30 minutes away from needing to be “responsible” as she puts it, and pick up her children from school. But with only a few minutes to spare, she couldn’t contain herself and decided to do an ‘unboxing’ in her car and show her friends on Facebook her new find.
So with a smile that’s worth more than its weight in gold, she introduced herself to the interwebs and began to take the “Chewie” mask out of the box and put it on.
Then laughter ensued. Candace says she tipped her head back and caught a glimpse of herself in the rearview mirror and she couldn’t contain the belly laugh that came out of her. And as she saw the reactions of people responding live to her post, she got even more vivacious. To the point that she couldn’t stop laughing and tears flowed out of her eyes.
I was struck by a very distinct feeling the first time I watched Candace’s hilarious video. I’ve seen plenty of viral videos before — in fact, it’s a part of my job. But something is different about Candace Payne.
“For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” -Romans 14:17
Candace is no ordinary “15-minute-famer.” In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if Candace’s influence extends long past 15 minutes.
Not only is Payne adorable and obviously so much fun, it turns out that she’s someone who loves Jesus too. And boy does it show. Candace is active in her church, The Oaks Fellowship in Red Oak, Texas (just outside of Dallas) and she’s a dedicated wife and momma.
Just 48 hours after her video had gone viral, Candace got up on stage with a message to young creatives at an Arts conference in Texas, and gave nuggets of wisdom that are clearly directly from Heaven.
“When I was 16, I had a vision and a dream from the Lord about my future being used for His glory. I didn’t understand the interpretation of it. I still to this day, at 37-years-old, try to figure that dream out. But that dream has never left my heart, nor my mind, nor the way that I walk and follow Jesus. And I know that God has gifted me in many different areas and sometimes, I feel like I wake up and I’m a Jack-of-many-trades and a master-of-none because I have that creative buzz in me, constantly going,” said Candace.
But here’s where her words get really good.
“It doesn’t matter how talented, how anointed, how gifted, how passionate, or how willing you are if you’re not fit to do the things that God has called you to do… And that is spiritually fit. The thing that will take you further and farther in the Kingdom of God is three things: diligence, patience, and obedience… Do not try to make a name for yourself. His name will always outshadow yours.” -Candace Payne
And that’s not all of the mic drop moments Candace spoke. Take a look at her whole encouragement to the kids at the Regional Fine Arts event:
“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” -Romans 15:13
One of the markers of Jesus’ work in your life is that you have joy. It doesn’t mean that you never feel sad or have a bad day, but it does mean that an unspeakable exuberance and delight fills you that sometimes there aren’t words to explain.
Often, a hallmark of the Holy Spirit’s work in your life is joy. And many times that comes in the form of laughter — deep, beautiful laughter — that not only releases joy in you, but in the lives of others.
Candace Payne’s video went viral not just because she’s delightful and hilarious and so much fun to watch (although all of those things are true). Her video caught the attention of millions of people because she is FILLED with the love and joy of Jesus. And God used a beautiful daughter from Texas, in a Chewbacca mask; deciding to look past her discouragement about not finding yoga pants that fit, and find happiness in something as simple as a plastic Star Wars toy to bring joy to people’s lives.
“Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.” -Philemon 1:7
Don’t believe me? As if the record-breaking 133 Million views isn’t enough (that’s more views than Mark Zuckerberg has friends, by the way), then listen to the response of people who watched her video:
Candace shared on Good Morning America that the best note she received as a result of her video is from a mom who has a daughter with autism who laughed over and over for the first time in over two months as she watched Candace’s hilarious stunt.
“From one mama heart to another mama, to see a child laugh that you haven’t seen laugh, those are the stories that I’m going to take with me everyday,” said Candace.
The world is hungry — no, they’re starving — for the joy of the Lord. The Bible says that His joy is our strength. If you are lacking joy in your life, start by asking God to give you His joy and then belly-laugh along with Candace. Then go and spread your joy with others and you’ll find that your joy will be always flowing.
And apparently Candace agrees with me as she said this morning on Good Morning America:
“I think the world as a whole, is in need of a good laugh. I think we’re in need of somebody to lift our spirits, to not take ourselves too seriously and to break some cynicism — worldwide.”
Thank you so much Candace Payne for sharing the joy of the Lord that is inside of you with the world. You have no idea how inspiring you really are… Or maybe you do since you let the fruit of the Spirit come out of you so freely. Either way, thank you, from the bottoms of our hearts for bringing more joy to the world through your laugh and letting your light shine.
“Those who have been ransomed by the LORD will return. They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness.” -Isaiah 35:10
Please share this if you believe that the world needs more joy!