Candace Payne, the star of the viral "Chewbacca Mask Lady" Facebook video, has explained the source of her joy and revealed that she hopes to use her celebrity to honor Jesus and bring others closer to God.
Last week, Payne shot to fame after uploading a Facebook Live video in which she is shown uncontrollably laughing while wearing a Chewbacca mask. The video has been viewed more than 137 million times in the last five days, according to the New York Times.
Since then, she has been interviewed by BBC, NPR and "Good Morning America," done a carpool with talk show host James Corden, and garnered praise from "Star Wars" producer JJ Abrams and Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew.
Despite her unexpected fame, Payne, who is also a worship leader and attends a church in southwest Dallas with her husband and two children, says she's focused on only one thing: bringing glory to God.
This Sunday, she visited the Southwestern Assemblies of God University's Regional Fine Arts event, where she said she was given a platform for a reason.
"When I was 16, I had a vision and dream from the Lord about my future about being used for His glory," she said, The Christian Post reports. "I didn't understand the interpretation of it. I still, to this day, at 37 years old try to figure that dream out. That dream has never left my heart, nor my mind, nor the way that I walk and follow Jesus.
Payne also told the crowd that she hopes to use her platform to help young people overcome their own creative restlessness by being willing to wait on God's perfect timing.
"I know that God has gifted me in many different areas, and sometimes I wake up and feel like I'm a jack of many trades, and a master of none, because I have that creative buzz in me constantly going," she said. "[What] I would tell myself at your age is this: 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 further in the Kingdom of God is three things: Diligence. Be diligent in the work of the Lord."
She concluded, "Patience. Have those moments where you stop and wait upon the Lord. Don't rush into ministry or a good opportunity because it looks shiny. Wait for the voice of God to direct you. And then the third thing, it's the biggest thing. If I could get to my 16-year-old self, is have obedience. When He tells you move, move."
In a separate interview with the Christian Examiner, Payne explained that the infectious joy seen in the video stems from her relationship with Jesus Christ.
"As far as the joy aspect, it is much deeper than the Chewbacca mask," Payne said. "It was fun watching it go viral and fun watching people get some joy out of it, too," but at the core of real joy is faith."
"Joy will radiate that faith," Payne said, explaining that while she wore the mask, she radiated faith "from Jesus who promises me I will have a fuller life."
"When people see that they are attracted to Jesus and His fullness and everybody loves that, every loves that," she added.
"If I am going to say anything ... our world that we live in has a dark cloud over us that keeps us feeling like we can't ever experience deep joy daily...It really is about thanking God for every single thing we have. When you have a heart that is grateful, we laugh more," she said.
Paraphrasing, Payne reference John 10:10: "10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and [a]have it abundantly. (NASB)"
People often confuse joy with laughter, Payne said, but when you experience true joy, "you will cry more; feel and hunger for thing passionately (when you have faith in Christ); you will experience joy at a fuller level you will ever think possible."