But enjoyment doesn't always come easily. Work seems more holy than enjoyment. Pointing out problems better than basking in the gifts of God.
So when I saw Trillia Newbell's book encouraging Christians to enjoy, I knew I wanted to read it right away. The cover itself is gorgeous--black, contrasting with a beautiful raspberry in a vivid, simple invitation to come and enjoy.
The Book [from Goodreads]
Is It Okay to Enjoy This Life?
Watching a gorgeous sunset. Sharing a laugh with a friend. Tasting a sun-ripened strawberry. Each day is full of opportunities for you to savor the countless gifts the Creator has given.
But do you feel free to delight in God’s abundant gifts, or is your joy sometimes distorted by guilt, fear of idolatry, or simply an overwhelming awareness of sin’s effects on this world?
Trillia Newbell explains how we often miss opportunities to participate in God’s divine delight because we’re discouraged, fixated on selfish fulfillment, or paralyzed by guilt. Enjoy serves as an encouraging reminder of God’s gracious gifts and also challenges women to view all of these gifts—from relationships and careers to food and sex—as reasons to rejoice in the Lord and grow in our understanding and appreciation of who He is.
This thought-provoking book invites you to explore the truth of God’s Word and discover how to nurture daily a spirit of gratitude and deep satisfaction.
I was conflicted a couple of chapters into this book. Trillia Newbell's book is a masterpiece of theology. Her book does a great job explaining the sin that prevents us from enjoying things, and how the gospel helps change the filter of how we can enjoy things. One by one, she takes us through how sin has affected creation, food, our enjoyment of money and possessions, and our enjoyment of our creator. Then she transforms each topic into how Christians should be thinking about it, and how we are free to delight in these things. (I did skip the chapter on intimacy for this stage in my life.)
While it was theologically spot-on, I did struggle with feeling personally affected by the message. I don't know if my heart was cold or closed, but I felt that it was so theological, and spent so much of each chapter focussing on the fall, when I wanted it to spend more time focussing on the enjoyment. Perhaps it was because I knew much of the biblical information and wanted most of the book to spend more time discussing how to enjoy these things. Perhaps, too, it was merely a different preference of writing style, which is always subjective. When I think in terms of enjoyment, I am impacted with a more lyrical writing style with more five-senses description. Each chapter had a tone of instruction to me instead of delight. Don't get me wrong--I strongly believe we need solid theology. But something struck me as off balance in the amount of sin vs. enjoyment in the chapters.
However, I did start to enjoy the last couple of chapters more. I do think this book talks very biblically about these topics and I highly respect it for that. I would recommend it as a theological foundation to springboard into the topic. The enjoyment of believers is a topic worth discussing, and a conversation so important to have in the church. It may be a book I need to give a second chance, while reading it along with the enjoy project at the end of each chapter, which is how the book is designed to be read. Due to time constraints I couldn't this time, but that could have an impact on the way I view the book. I would love to hear more thoughts from others who have read it.
I recieved a free copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah's Blogging for Books. All opinions expressed are my own.