Happiness is an emotion, right? Or is it a choice? Or is it both? Or, to get spiritual on us Christians, is it not even about happiness-we should just choose joy and never worry about being happy. Right?
Kristi Watts, former cohost on The 700 Club, is known for her interviews with authors, celebrities, and public figures. She recently released her book, Talk Yourself Happy: Transform Your Heart By Speaking God’s Promises under her new ministry, Kristi Watts Ministries. Based off the initial title, I pretty much dismissed this writing. I couldn’t possibly agree with her. <–Me being super spiritual and just a hint judgmental. 🙂 However, when I read that little subtitle at the top corner of the cover, I was intrigued. Maybe she and I are more aligned in thinking and beliefs after all? I decided to read to find out.
In this book, Kristi Watts writes about her experience in the depths of depression and personal struggle after major loss in marriage and career. She was discouraged, depleted emotionally, and so disappointed in the life God had allowed her to have. She was certainly not happy or joyful, and she gets pretty vulnerable about it in the chapters. From the very first page of the introduction, she shares her raw and honest thoughts about what was going on. It felt a bit icky, like reading someone’s journal. It was hard to read at times, and it was unfiltered–not at all edited for happy, pleasure reading. However, that’s how our lives are, right?
Sidenote-if you don’t like reading personal narrative and learning the story behind someone’s spiritual discovery, don’t pick up this book. You won’t like it. Kristi does share, and even I struggled through parts of her story. I found her narrative to be relatable, but also somewhat distracting from the principles she was teaching.
Highlight-I loved seeing the outline of her own journey, and how she used those peaks and valleys to share with us a Biblical method for encouraging yourself in God’s truths. This follows her chapters…
Perhaps the best and most valuable part of Kristi’s book is the Conclusion: How to Talk Yourself Happy, and the Scripture Wrap in the back. These are powerful tools. Each chapter also included pointed questions and application points that I found valuable for someone who might be struggling or wanting to improve their state of mind. These include some excellent strategies based in Scripture, solid application for the believer, and as I mentioned, the Scripture Wrap is invaluable. Whenever our solutions are based in Scripture, we are pretty set to know we are grounded in truth.
Something I struggled with was her claiming of individual promises that were not rooted at all in Scripture. This is a personal conviction of mine, and I’ll spare you the soapbox. Here’s a great little article on God’s promises that goes into specifics. Be careful claiming personally what God never gave you personally. There are many promises you are entitled to as a child of God, but you can set yourself up for incredible disappointment by looking to something that’s not yours to begin with.
Warning: while I felt I understood Kristi’s translation of joy vs. happiness, and that she was truly talking about setting our happy affections in the truth of God’s word, we have to remember that our happiness is something that comes and goes. ANYTHING that distracts us from living in our identity in Christ, or that provides temporary satisfaction, is simply that-temporary satisfaction. Remember, Paul warned us with this:
“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”
Colossians 3:2, KJV
One last thought, and I’ll shut up. This is a tiny wording thing, but really significant as I have seen it play out in individual beliefs and applications. I have spent a lot of time teaching and re-teaching believers in this area, and when we get this, it makes a world of difference in our application of Scripture. In Romans 12, Paul teaches us, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2, ESV) The key to transformation and changing our thoughts goes back to our minds-our thinking. If you are a child of God, He has already renewed your heart (your spiritual heart), right? So, I challenge you to use proper Biblical terms and let’s speak the truth according to God’s perspective and reality. Ours is always skewed. 🙂
I can warily recommend this book. I would only encourage those who are already grounded in their faith to read it, perhaps those who are experiencing some emotional struggle or depression, but who are seasoned believers and can rightly discern God’s truth. In the end, it did have some incredible strategies and great questions. However, you may get a little tripped up on some seemingly small things, but they may end up being really big and impacting if you don’t realize you are building a belief on them.
Disclaimer-I was not paid or compensated for this review in any way. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.