As of 2016, the Self-help/Self-Improvement industry was worth 9.9 Billion in the United States (as per the website: market research.com https://blog.marketresearch.com/whats-next-for-the-9-9-billion-personal-development-industry).
This number is so massive that I can hardly wrap my mind around it. And yet, it makes sense. Everyone wants to be happy. Everyone is searching for a roadmap to happiness. Have you ever met anyone who is refusing happiness on principal or as a personal choice? This need that we all have translates into books, gurus, coaches, and how-to manuals and creates an industry that is projected to reach 13.2 billion dollars by 2022.
How is it that this industry keeps increasing and the rate of happiness keeps decreasing? Could it be that our search for happiness results in partial answers and guarantees only short-term solutions? Could it be that we are craving a deeper sort of Happiness? Have we been searching for happiness when we should have been searching for Joy? And what is the source of Joy?
As Christians, our source of Joy is our Lord.
Did you just roll your eyes? Is this answer too much of a cliché? It is the truth that we choose to ignore while chasing any other sort of happiness. The problem is that we have not been taught how to live the Joy that comes from our Lord.
Enter my dear friend and mentor, Phoebe Farag Mikhail. She has written a PHENOMENAL book about this subject. Consider it the ultimate Christian roadmap for living and enjoying the deep Joy that can only be found in our Lord. The book is called: Putting Joy into Practice, and it will be available on Amazon on April 16th, 2019. However, you can order your copy now. I strongly encourage you to do so (there is a link at the bottom of this article).
Phoebe is a wife, mother of three children, writer, speaker, educator, and advocate. She blogs about faith, family, relationships, and community at Being in Community (beingincommunity.com). She serves alongside her husband at St. Antonious & St. Mina Coptic Orthodox Church in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and works in international development. I recommend that you follow her blog for some outstanding articles: https://beingincommunity.com/.
I was blessed to read an advanced review copy of this treasure. Never have 173 pages had such an impact on my spiritual life. The book is written in a friendly, easy to read and even easier to understand tone. While the book is loaded with biblical references and quotes from the early fathers, it does not feel like a long sermon and does not intimidate the reader. On the contrary, it is such a soothing book like a warm blanket and a cup of tea on a rainy day- but for the soul!
If you are the type of person who likes a step-by-step list of “what to do to experience Joy”- this book is for you. Phoebe outlines 7 spiritual practices that can transform our lives. Let me assure you that this book is NOT full of clichés- I guarantee that you have not come across these ideas before, in any other Christian book. The ideas can be tailored to your family situation, age, geographical location. They can be put into practice by anyone, anywhere and the result will be the same: JOY.
Phoebe’s honesty about her own struggles to find Joy is so refreshing, here is a woman who is not preaching, she is sharing what she has learned from her own experiences because she wants to help us live a Joyful life starting today!
Here is one of my favorite quotes (there are so many. Actually, most of the book is highlighted!!!):
“We might not be happy every day; in fact, we might face suffering every day. But we can have joy every day.”
Or this powerful and insightful one:
“The church fathers and mothers point out that the ‘enemies’ against whom we pray for vengeance are not other human beings, but our own passions.”
Phoebe has managed to convince me to explore specific ministries that I find intimidating such as visiting the sick. It was an eye-opening experience when she explained that not all visits will go according to plan. Her reassurance of the benefits of this ministry and how it outweighs our own misgivings have won me over!
Consider this beautiful quote regarding visiting the sick:
“Where do we draw our joy from if the visitation itself is so thankless? The key to having more joy is being joy itself, and the way to be joy is to be filled with the Spirit, not with our own pride or power.”
This book is full of inspirational quotes from the Ancient Church- I am amazed by the sheer amount of research that has gone into this work.
And yet, my review does not do it justice.
You have to read it to realize how every page is a gift.
You have to read it to finally find the answer that modern society has been searching for: stop chasing Happiness, live a life of Joy in our Lord.
Click here to order your advance copy of Putting Joy int Practice:
One Joyful author!
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