Choose Joy by Kay Warren
Source: Sacramento Library
Rating: 7 out of 10
Challenges: [CULTIVATE] JOY
Synopsis (from the book description): Why are some people–even in the toughest times–always filled with joy, while most of us can’t seem to find lasting joy no matter how hard we search? Do joy-filled people know something we don’t? The answer is yes! And in her warm, candid style, Kay Warren shares that life-transforming truth with you.
Overall Impression: I’m always a little hesitant to read books like this one, with the sun-shiny cover and the flowers and the gold ink letters. Thankfully this book didn’t feel as fluffy as the cover, though I didn’t find it particularly new or captivating either. In the book, Warren defines joy as “the settled assurance that God is in control and all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right, and the determined choice to praise God in all things.” I think this is a very astute (though it doesn’t contain nearly enough exclamation points). She talks about joy and sorrow running as parallel train tracks, “running inseparably throughout our days… One of the toughest challenges in life is to learn how to live on both of those tracks at the same time.”
But how do we do this? Throughout the book, she gives some good real-world examples of how to cultivate more joy in life, such a focusing on grace, trusting God for the future, creating balance in life, and practicing acceptance. She also talks about how to be a joy-builder in the lives of the people around us, instead of a joy killer. For me, the idea that stood out most was to “avoid the small potatoes.” These are the stupid little things that get to me throughout the day. Little annoyances that turn into complaints. These complaints can launch me into a bad mood, and sap all my joy for that day. Just this morning I was all grumbly because this pigeon was cooooooing outside my bedroom window. Instead of just shutting the window, I lay there, saying, “Leave, evil pigeon!” over and over. It never left, and I never went back to sleep.
As Tim Hansel said, “Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional. We cannot avoid pain, but we can avoid joy.” Warren makes a good case for joy being an active choice, one that we have to daily choose to make.
Positives: Puts joy back into focus for readers — I think we spend so much time focusing on the negative that joy escapes us too easily.
Negatives: Nothing revolutionary, and some of the cheesier stories in it made me roll my eyes a little.
Other books I’ve read by Kay Warren: none
Other blogger opinions:
MizB: “I wasn’t wowed by this book, but found it to be okay.”
Daniel Threlfall: “Recognizing that “joy is a choice” is not significantly profound, but is nonetheless true.”
Chris Luksha: “I really can’t write much more about it from my standpoint as I just didn’t like her writing style. It was not for me, and not, I believe, for men in general.”