Have you ever sat down with a group of moms? On a good day, it can be a lot of fun laughing and celebrating all things parenting. On many days, however, the conversation spirals into complaints and even whining. Now as a card carrying optimist, I’m not usually given to negative thinking for very long, but even I have days when it seems life has drained the joy out of my world.
For Christian parents, our journey has an added twist. What is the second fruit of the Spirit? Yep. After love comes joy. If we are letting the Spirit work in us, we should be joyful more often than not. So what needs to happen to bring the joy back into our lives?
Enjoy:Finding the Freedom to Delight Daily in God’s Good Gifts by Trillia Newbell is about finding that joy in God’s blessings. It’s also about gratitude, but it’s ultimately about more than just joy and gratitude. Newbell takes the time to consider ten or so categories of gifts from God ranging from intimacy with our spouses to material possessions to our complicated relationships with food, work, rest and more.
In each chapter, the author examines the reaction many of us have to that particular gift from God, turning it from something we were meant to enjoy into a burden or some other negative image. She examines the scriptures and shares real world examples to help the reader move into a place where she can more readily learn to enjoy these gifts from God.
Although the chapters will be a little light on scripture for some who may want to use this as a Bible study, it contains more references than many similar type books. I appreciate she takes the space to write out the scripture instead of assuming the reader will take the time to look up the various verses. There are also rather extensive thought questions at the end of each chapter you can use for personal reflection or to discuss the book with others.
As an optimist and one who tries to regularly appreciate God’s gifts, some of the chapters were more refreshers than new information. Those who have issues enjoying and appreciating God’s many blessings will find a lot to help them make the mindset shift they want.
The chapter on Delighting In the Giver should be a must read for everyone. I think many Christians find they struggle in this area. It seems hard enough to get a family of little ones to worship or to find the time to read the scriptures or pray more than a sentence or two at a time. The concept of actually enjoying the spiritual disciplines and our relationship with God seems like the impossible dream. Yet Newbell manages to find ways to help remind us those things we sometimes view as our “God” chores were actually meant for us to enjoy. Otherwise, there are a lot of Psalms about delighting in God’s Word (and more) that are useless!
If you are a grateful optimist, you may not get as much value from this book as someone who views life through a slightly less rose-colored lens. I think there still are at least a couple of chapters from which just about any Christian could learn. And although she doesn’t address parenting per se, I think readers will come away with a renewed awareness of all of their blessings from God – including those precious little ones you are raising.
This book was given to me for free in exchange for my honest review. An affiliate link is included for your convenience.