Book Review: Living Joyfully in Troubled Times

November 17, 2016

Living Joyfully in Troubled Times
Toni Sorenson
128 pages
Hard copy edition

From the Publisher: Many of us remember our divine nature only when life’s blessings smile down on us. But God’s love for His children transcends all trials and trying times. No matter what we are going through, joy is possible for all of us. There are many things in this world that cause us to become discouraged and depressed, but we can make the choice to be happy regardless of our circumstances.

Just as Adam and Eve chose to fall that men might be, we, too, must choose to live so that [we] might have joy. We have the power within us to decide to face our adversities with faith, hope, and optimism. Joy is not an achievement; it s a journey, and a loving God wouldn’t have commanded us to find it without providing directions. Dear Reader, We live in a glorious world. More joy abounds than we can imagine. We just have to know how and where to find it. That s what I hope this book becomes to you a roadmap–to joy. Toni Sorenson


I was drawn to this book the other day while browsing the book store. The back of the book really spoke to me – there IS Joy!  No matter what we are going through. I am a big believer that there is good in every day – but sometimes it is just hard to see.  Sometimes it is so easy to get caught up in everything around us and the negatively in the world.  But it is there and God wants us to see it.  That is what this book is about.  Finding the joy.


The book is broken down into 8 easy to read chapters.  Sorenson poses questions we must ask ourselves, like, “Do we know and realize our eternal worth?  Do we know our individual eternal purpose?  Do we spend time doing what we truly love? Do we even know what we love most?  I’ll admit.  I sometimes have a tough time answering those questions.

Thoughts are a big part of how we feel.  This isn’t new news, but it is something that we need to recognize – and work on! I know I work on this daily.  I love that she points out that Heavenly Father gifts us our minds and we have the ability to change our own thoughts for the better.  He doens’t want us to be sad and lonely – he wants us to have joy – and we have to choose it.  I also agree with the point that she makes that happiness is not something that simply happens, but a HABIT that we create.

If we think happy, kind healthy thoughts, our lives reflect happiness, kindness, and health. p 25

This book really focused on what we can control and how that can help us find joy and happiness.  It is easy to do when we have everything going our way, but is harder to do when things fall apart.  I’ll admit right now – that the past couple months/year even, the answer I’ve been getting to my prayers has been “be grateful”.  I was hoping that this book would give me a different answer.  But of course, it wasn’t.  The answer is always to be more grateful and find joy. Even when I want to kick and scream that I don’t want that to be the answer, it is always right.  Be grateful.  Obviously, this is easier said than done, but something that we all can work on.  Being joyful and finding something to be grateful for each and every day. I might not be able to control it all. But I an control my own thoughts.  And I can control how I feel.

There is an old adage: you are as happy as you make up your mind to be.  You can design a joyful life – actually, you’re the only one who can design a joyful life for yourself.  You choose to be grateful, to be ambitious, to be dedicated, to be obedient to God’s commandments.  Choose your thoughts and your actions will follow. p.35

I would like to have seen this book touch a little bit more on the subject of clinical depression.  I believe that our thoughts CAN make a huge difference.  But I also feel there are times that we can do all that we can do, and we can turn it over to God,but we still need clinical help.  And that is SUCH an important step to realize.  I felt that this book was lacking in that area.

But overall I felt like it was a great book and had lots of helpful, spiritual help if you struggle trying to find joy in the crazy world that we live in. I think my overall takeaway from this book was this:  We an always pray  We can pray to have more joy.  We can pray to find a passion.  We can pray to find something to be grateful for.  Our answers might not come in the way that we want them too – but we can always pray.  God wants us to be happy and He wants us to find joy.

Final Score:

4 stars

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“Joy is not an achievement; it is a journey,”

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