I won’t call this a “book review” because I’ll probably share more about how reading this book made me feel than about the content. Let’s just pretend I’m sitting down with you over a cup of tea to chat about my thoughts on a good read that touched my heart.
Choosing Joy: The Secret to Living A Fully Christian Life by Dan Lord
I received this book as a Christmas present 4 whole years ago and read it almost immediately. I’m not sure why I waited so long to share my thoughts, but the timing seemed right now because:
- I realized how much it has impacted my attitude about suffering, and
- It is now available for only $5 on Amazon, which is a steal! Buy it here.
When I received this book 4 years ago, I was looking for ways to stay positive in the face of infertility. Maybe I even wanted to be thankful for this difficult journey. I heard gratefulness was a thing people much better than me felt in the face of hardships, but it seemed like a place I would never get to on my own.
Aside from not being able to produce children on-demand like (what felt like) the rest of the universe, we had (and still have) blessings coming out of our ears. Our family was otherwise healthy. We had a roof over our heads, food on our table, and lots of love to go around. So much love.
I desperately wanted to choose joy in every circumstance, especially the hard ones, rather than waiting for joyous feelings to arise as a result of good things happening.
“In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians, 5:18
The entire book spoke to me, but for the sake of this chat, I’m going to focus on Chapter 8, “Abandonment to God’s Will.”
In this chapter, Dan writes about how it is usually easy for us to see God’s will in positive circumstances, while in negative situations we can’t fathom that God would allow such things to happen to us. One example he shared was getting a flat tire on the way to work due to poor craftsmanship on the part of the tire manufacturer.
And this is the paragraph that touched my heart:
“…every situation that comes along in your life falls within God’s will. That flat tire falls within God’s will, even if its collapse was directly the result of shoddy work by lazy, ignorant people at a tire making plant. The point here is not to make a sudden deep-water exploration of the mystery of evil in the world, but simply to acknowledge that God knew your tire would go flat right then —and he allowed it. It was his will to allow it. The question now becomes: how will you respond?”
It helped me see that why people are suffering matters a lot less than the fact that God allows it and uses it for our good.
Years have passed since I read the book, but every time I feel doubt creeping in about whether or not a difficult situation is really God’s will, I refer back to this chapter and remember that whether or not it is His perfect will, He has allowed it. That is comforting because I know God loves me.
Instead of questioning God about why, I think of the question Dan posed.
“…how will you respond?”
As a result something beautiful has happened. I’m in that place where I can be thankful for infertility. Yes, I still have days where I struggle and grieve the expectations I’ve had about how I would grow my family since I was a little girl. But I’m grateful for the beautiful friends infertility has brought into my life, for how it has helped me uncover and heal health issues, for how my husband and I have grown together through it all, for how it has made me more compassionate and understanding, and for the opportunities we’ve been afforded to help others in ways that would not have been possible if we had children. This gratitude didn’t appear overnight, but it did happen. If that’s not a cause for joy, I don’t know what is!
What are some good things that have come out of hardships you’ve faced?