On the bookshelf: Choose Joy by Kay Warren

Joy doesn’t come naturally to most people. If left to our own devices, we whine, complain and deem it necessary to share our misery with others.

Joy, then, is a choice.

This is the theme Kay Warren explores in Choose Joy: Because Happiness Isn’t Enough. Weaving Biblical examples with personal stories, Kay reminds us that choosing joy comes long before the trials begin. It begins with recognizing that Jesus himself was a man who knew joy and continues with adopting a way of thinking that drinks deeply from the living water God himself offers. Finally, with this foundation firmly in place, joy is nurtured through our actions from internal actions to our interactions with others.

Written in a highly personal style, each chapter reads like a conversation over coffee with an old friend. It is encouraging to read about her journey to choosing joy. Too often, we think that joy comes easily to women like Kay. She’s married to a well-known, popular pastor of a megachurch. She’s a published author. She advocates for those suffering with AIDS and HIV. And, she has a loving family.

Yet, this self-described Eeyore reminds us that choosing joy is a journey framed by the choices we make every day. In a strange sense, it helps to know that even this role model would be annoyed and frustrated by something as simple as parking spaces.

Available April 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Thanks to Revell for providing me with a copy of the book to review!

An act of devotion

Fork

Photo by jcarlosn on Flickr

They slowly followed the young man to the table. He walked well, but slowly. She walked slowly, but not as well with a slight tilt to her head and an arm in a permanent bend.

He smiled at them, handed them menus and helped them settle in — both of them on the same side of the table.

Curious, that. I turned my attention back to the conversation at the table. There is, after all, a delicate balance to people watching.

Their order came quickly. Two identical plates piled high with broccoli.

I feigned interest in the repeated scenes of an empty racetrack and the incessant scroll along the immense television screen mounted on the wall behind and above the elderly couple at the next table. My peripheral vision focused on the action.

An act of devotion. An act of love. An act of beauty.

He gently reached over and cut her meat. Picking up her fork, he jabbed a chunk of chicken and turned the fork, placing it in his wife’s hand so she could eat. Then, he turned to his own plate to have a bite for himself.

The process continued, their gray heads almost touching as the fork was passed back and forth in quiet conversation.

They smiled at the server when she came to deliver their bill and graciously refused dessert before they began the slow journey back out the door.

This. This is commitment.

This is devotion.

This is love.

A Song for Sunday: From the Inside Out by Hillsong United

You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

– 2 Corinthians 4:5-7