This review was originally published in the Reveille/Between the Lakes
I like to think I’m a pretty positive, glass half full type guy. But, admittedly, over the past few weeks and months, I have been mired in a little bit of a blue funk. I wanted some of that joy back. I wanted to smile again, not just a little smirk but a Joel Osteen like smile that lights up his face from ear to ear.
So, speaking of Osteen, I decided to read his latest book, Every Day a Friday: How To Be Happier Seven Days a Week. The book, his latest, is based on studies that show people are “happiest” on Fridays as they look forward to the weekend. Or, as Osteen put it, “People are excited about the coming weekend, so they decide to be happier. They make up their minds on Fridays to enjoy their lives more.”
Now, out of disclosure, I have to admit I’m not a Joel Osteen fan. Theologically, I agree with many of his critics who claim he preaches “Christianity lite.” If you do listen to his sermons, he comes off as more of a motivational speaker than a pastor. His Scriptural references support his motivational themes rather than the other way around.
But I decided to pick up the book anyway.
It’s a fairly quick read. There are no new revelations about happiness and how to achieve it. Most of the illustrating anecdotes are well known and the one line directives – “Happiness is a choice” … “We can’t control all our circumstances, but we can control our reactions” … “When things are difficult, smile by faith” … “You can’t do anything about your past, but you can do something about your future” … “Every setback is a set up for a comeback” – are tried and true.
But I did find as I flipped through the pages, those pithy phrases resonated with me. They reminded me how much control I had over my happiness. In the style of a Norman Vincent Peale or Zig Ziglar, Osteen pounds home the elemental keys to joy and happiness – don’t give away your power, know what to ignore, live without crutches, laugh often, celebrate yourself, travel light and be a dream releaser.
After reading the book, I have found a new sense of joy. I have been waking up looking forward to the day rather than regretting it. I haven’t allowed people or circumstances to sour that joy. I consciously choose to enjoy the present and look to the future rather than dwelling on the past. It brought me back to my reality.
Sometimes, you just need a little reminder.
Every Day a Friday: How To Be Happier Seven Days a Week, Joel Osteen, FaithWords, New York. 287 pages. ISBN 978-0-89296-991-3 (hard cover) Also available in large print, paperback, e-book and audio edition.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: The bible says to be sober-minded, not sober-faced.