Thursday, February 17, 2011
When I Don't Desire God
Author: John Piper
A few months ago, I mentioned that I was having a hard time finding joy in this season of my life. A friend and fellow blogger/writer, Erynn, left a comment suggesting that I read this book by John Piper.
It took me a while to get around to it, obviously. And the reasons are several. First of all, I'm not a big fan of reading non-fiction. Not sure what it is about me, but when I'm taking the time to look through someone's words, I like it to be entertaining. It wasn't that I didn't take her suggestion seriously, I just didn't think I would enjoy reading an instruction manual on how to find joy.
Secondly, I knew it would be a book that I would have to spend money on. If you know me at all, it should be fairly apparent that spending money is not something that I enjoy doing. Even if it is for an instruction manual on how to find joy.
But I got around to it. And I want to thank Erynn for suggesting it. It was a good book with a lot of good insights into a lot of my issues. Okay, not really insights into my personal issues, but insights into the roots of those issues.
Here's the thing: this book didn't change my life. I didn't go into this thing expecting a miraculous turn around. I didn't think that I would read a few magic words and then suddenly be Mr. Sunshine. And that's not what's happened.
Honestly, most of what I read I already knew. In fact, a lot of the things that Piper writes about in finding joy, I briefly mentioned in that post about not having joy so many months ago. But what I read in this book served as an excellent reminder and gave a few added tips.
There's a part of me that wishes I had taken notes as I made my way through the book. It isn't that I have a horrible memory. It's just that, again, sometimes it helps to have reminders when it comes to these things. Kind of like the situation where you're able to dispense advice to friends or family, but you can't seem to follow that advice yourself. Hearing the words from someone else can sometimes be a real wake-up call.
The biggest thing that I'm taking away from Piper's book is right there in the subtitle: How to Fight for Joy. Piper spells it out very clearly, that joy doesn't just happen. Joy is something that we have to fight for. Every single day. He also makes it clear that it isn't a fight that we can win on our own. The strength it takes to fight for the joy that God wants us to have can only come from God.
Repeatedly, Piper throws out the line, "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." What this says is that God wants us to find our strength, our hope, our joy in Him, gaining true satisfaction in this life. In doing so, it brings glory to Him.
I said that this wasn't a magical book that changed my life as soon as I finished it. The fight for joy will be a daily battle and I'm hoping that Piper's suggestions have put me on the right track. Some of the things that I know I need to do will be difficult. Some of the issues I need to face will really take a lot of work. These are things that I won't get into right here and right now. But I'll keep you posted on how this whole joy thing works out as we go along.