I'm sure this was one of the books that I saw on Facebook or Twitter where the kindle version was being given away for free and that's how I got it. To be honest I don't remember. As I was doing some maintenance on my iPad, I came across it and decided now was the time to read it. Actually, the Holy Spirit made that decision. I've recently discovered that I've been in somewhat of a funk that has been manifesting itself in anger. While I'm still working to track it back to it's source, I know it's part stress, partly feeling overwhelmed, partly feeling underappreciated, as well as other things that have yet to be identified (I'm working on it). What I found in this book with the subtitle "Authentic Hope for the Disillusioned", was just that, hope.
What I Liked
This book helped me understand that my present circumstances are not an indication of God's displeasure. What my circumstances should be teaching me is to trust and rely on Him to be my source of joy. My present circumstances are there to teach me what real and deep faith require. When I let my circumstances dictate my joy, I miss out on what God is doing in me; and when I do that I actually dishonor Him and His plan.
With the book of Philippians as the backdrop, Presson reminds readers circumstances, expectations, brokenness, suffering, affliction, discontent, disappointments, anxiety, entitlement and the like are things that the world points to as reasons why we don't experience joy like we should. He goes on to say that it is our perspective on these things that makes the difference. It is through the right perspective of both our past and our future, that we will find both contentment and joy.
What I Learned
Maybe a better way to share this is what I'm currently learning and processing through because of this book. I can boil it down to these quotes:
"Pain that has been processed yields nourishment for the soul. Most of us need help in how to process the hurt."
"Meaningful relationships are one core ingredient in the recipe of a satisfying life."
"... prayer is one of the best methods of defusing the anxiety bomb because it disconnects one of the wires that powers it."
"The problem with complaining, however, is that it never changes anything ... maybe that's part of the attraction."
"The refusal to accept the validity of pain certainly does not dull it, but rather sharpens its edge."
"Unrealistic expectations prolong suffering and cause joy to be very elusive."
"Volitionally taking up the cross (an emblem of death) is a declaration that I'm crucifying my demand, my requirement to have my own way. It is a decision of self-sacrifice, a daily battle against the demon of selfishness."
(All quotes taken from the kindle edition of When Will My Life Not Suck? by Ramon Presson ©2010 by New Growth Press)
With each of the above quotes I know I have work to do. Thanks to this book I now see a direction to go, I'm no longer stuck (in the suck). I recommend this book to those, like me, who experience glimpses of joy, yet not the kind of joy that is complete like the Bible talks about (Phil. 2:2, 1 John 1:4, 2 John 1:12). Read this book, find joy.