Thursday, September 19, 2019

Book Review: The Joy of Missing Out

The Joy Of Missing Out: Live More by Doing Less. Tonya Dalton. 2019. Thomas Nelson. 240 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence from the introduction: OVERWHELMED. It was a beautiful spring morning, but I was too busy to notice the trees beginning to bud or the clear blue sky.

First sentence from chapter one: Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe. OPRAH WINFREY

Premise/plot: Dalton hopes to connect with her readers who feel overwhelmed and stressed in her new book, The Joy of Missing Out. What does she mean by the phrase 'joy of missing out'?
Noun 1. The emotionally intelligent antidote to busy; intentionally choosing to live in the present moment by embracing open spaces of unrushed time 2. An intense feeling of delight and happiness caused by centering your life on what is truly important and letting go of the “shoulds” and “have to’s” in life. SYNONYMS: unhurried purpose, intentional, priority-centered ANTONYMS: busy, hustle, frazzled, knock stuff out, having a full plate
The book falls into the 'self-help' genre though it is published by a Christian publisher. It's a book about productivity, effectiveness, goal-setting, and priorities. It's a super-practical book packed with cultural wisdom. It guides readers step by step on discovering their own unique 'North Star' and discovering their own core values that will help shape their vision.
Productivity is not about doing more—it’s doing what’s most important. We need to stop trying to get more done and instead reset our focus on our own priorities. When we do that, our ideal life can become our real, everyday life.
When we treat everything as equal, it means nothing is a priority. It all gets jumbled together and we begin to lose sight of what really matters.
You have more time left in your life right now in this very minute than you will have an hour from now. There is not another point in your lifetime when you’ll have the luxury of the amount of time you have right this very second. If there’s something you really want to do, today is the day to start. It’s possible for your future to look brighter, for you to focus on the things that are important to you. But to do that, your priorities have to take priority.
While we may not be sailors, we still need a constant in our life to help guide us through the darkness. Here’s the hard fact: we don’t just find ourselves on a fulfilling, deeply satisfying path—we create it for ourselves. The clarity comes from within us.
My thoughts: If The Joy of Missing Out was NOT published by a Christian publisher, would I be surprised--even shocked--by its contents? Probably not. In fact, I know I wouldn't. This is exactly what I'd expect to find in any self-help section.

But the fact that it is in fact published by a Christian publisher, well, it shook me a bit. Why? Because the word "God" only appears once. The word "Bible" only appears once. I believe the words "church" and "Sunday School" appear once in the same story. And prayer might accidentally be mentioned two or three times even. Perhaps. But there is not one Scripture verse quoted or even alluded to. The book (the Bible) that is supposed to be the one and only authority in our lives is completely and totally missing. (As is all mention of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.) Oprah is mentioned more than God. Think about that. Think. About. That.

Priorities, goals, mission statements, core values, visions...all without any reference at all to God the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit...without any reference to God's His the eternity. There is nothing remotely Christian about this one.

There are plenty of quotes to be found in this one. All contemporary. All cultural. But not one of them is from a Christian theologian, author, or preacher.

“It is our choices . . . that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” J. K. ROWLING
“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.” LOUISA MAY ALCOTT
Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door. COCO CHANEL
As Zig Ziglar said, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” 
Perfectionism is just fear in fancy shoes and a mink coat. ELIZABETH GILBERT 
Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels. LAURA VANDERKAM
What I do every day matters more than what I do once in a while. GRETCHEN RUBIN
The decisions you make determine the schedule you keep. The schedule you keep determines the life you live. And how you live your life determines how you spend your soul. LYSA TERKEURST
Sometimes it helps me to wake up in the morning and tell myself, “Today, I’m going to believe that showing up is enough.” BRENÉ BROWN
The world will see you the way you see you, and treat you the way you treat yourself. BEYONCÉ
As Zen priest and Buddhist teacher Joan Halifax shared, “There is the in-breath and there is the out-breath, and it’s easy to believe that we must exhale all the time without ever inhaling. But the inhale is absolutely essential if you want to continue to exhale.”
Do your thing and don’t care if they like it. TINA FEY
You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. MAYA ANGELOU
I am conflicted in some ways. On the one hand, I think she's lacking a solid foundation, and I question her questions. The questions and framework she wants us to work with--start from--are not based on anything solid and lasting. They are build on cultural wisdom and pragmatism. On the other hand, it is very true we don't need all the things. Some of the conclusions she arrives at seem true enough. We do fill our lives with things that just don't matter, with things that we don't really want. Sometimes we do not know how to say NO. I do believe in using your time wisely and valuing minutes. But her process...well...I'm just not sure it's biblical enough to build your own system around.

If you're looking for a book where you are encouraged and pleaded with to put yourself at the center always then this one might be for you.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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