“Our expectations of life (what we really want it to be) often overshadow the good things that are already in front of us.”
I have been a part of several launch teams of books in the recent years. I have been reviewing books for B&H for a couple of months now, and I firmly stand behind each of those books in the message they convey and meaning they bring to life. But this book I am sharing today, and have been posting about over the last couple of months is something completely different.
In fact, I had to put the book down for a couple of weeks because it was too real. Too hard. I stumbled into the book launch group when I was trying to figure out what was next for me. This book changed that whole tune I had been writing in my head for a few months and I wanted to share a few insights from it, while encouraging you to pick this book up on January 5th.
Part of me wants to give you all my copy, however it’s marked up, written in and honestly something I hold very closely right now. It’s been a while since a book has wrecked me, shaken me to the core and ultimately shown me that I have been viewing life through the wrong lens-choosing everything but joy when joy is right in front of me and freely available in all things. (Coincidentally I am re-reading Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts currently as a follow-up)
In Choose Joy, we meet Sara Frankl, a blogger and single Christian woman battling debilitating health issues and confinement to her home. That’s where the blogging community takes root and we see Sara find hope, find purpose in life, in the midst of excruciating pain and separation from the relationships she found most dear.
The book is a work of Sara’s and her fellow blogger, Mary Carver, who put this book together based upon Sara’s posts postmortem. While I did not know Sara during her blogging days, I feel like she and I are heart sisters now. We share the same name, and she passed at the age I currently am. Something about those struck me hard during the review of this book and I can’t quite shake it. Her profound ability to seek out good and joy in circumstances shows me that the petty irritations of life are just that…petty.
She points out in the chapter entitled “On Wanting What You Have” that she doesn’t take anything for granted and that instead of yearning for what she may lack she loves what she has. In a time where our deficiencies are the focal points of our lives rather than our abundances, this hit deep. This woman was not able to leave her home for well over a year due to her health, and yet she was choosing to love that which she had. How much more so can I choose joy in what I have instead of seeing what I don’t?
It holds true for our purpose, what we are meant to do as well. “We find what we are meant to do when we stop focusing on what we are kept from doing.” So many times I look at what I am not allowed to do, what I am being kept from (often by God’s divine hand) instead of choosing to focus on what I am able to do, what I can do…what I am meant to do.
In the midst of so many questions in a season of life I find myself in, this book, Sara’s voice and words and heart and joy, found themselves a home to rest in with me. They are motivation, truth and gut-wrenchingly honest about choosing joy amidst pain and suffering. I felt it fitting to share a little about this soul-changing book on the eve of a new year.
As 2016 dawns, I pray that I embody an ounce of Sara’s wisdom, grace and choices in finding joy so that I “choose to look at blessings rather than burdens” each and every day.