Monday, April 25, 2022

Book Review: What If It's Wonderful?

 



Happy Monday, My Lovelies!  Today I'm sharing my review of What If It's Wonderful by Nicole Zasowski.  It's a faith-based self-help book about finding joy and approaching life with an expectant heart.  Nicole is a licensed marriage and family therapist, and this book is life changing, y'all, not to mention timely.


According to Goodreads:

Don’t spend your life practicing disappointment and rehearsing tragedy when you can experience God’s gift of joy and celebration today.

Author and marriage and family therapist Nicole Zasowski knows that it’s difficult to trust joy and find the courage to celebrate when you have endured seasons of disappointment and despair. When God has been your faithful anchor in the storm, does joy then leave you unmoored? Nicole reminds us that we can stay tethered to the hope of Christ in seasons of celebration, because even joyful days hold the learning, growth, and intimate encounters with Jesus that our hearts crave.

What If It’s Wonderful? offers a new perspective. With a compelling psychological and spiritual case for the importance of embracing joy and celebration, even when it feels scary, it will help you

  • identify common barriers and hesitancies to experiencing joy, debunk their lies, and overcome your fears,
  • confront toxic messages you have received about joy as you learn to see celebration as an avenue of growth and intimacy with God,
  • approach life with an expectant heart, a receptive posture, and courage to trust God’s good gifts, and
  • stay emotionally healthy and spiritually alive in seasons of joy and celebration.

Things don’t always have to be hard to find God and to stay close to him. Release your fears and accept his beautiful gift of joy and celebration.


My Review:

There are so many helpful nuggets in the 200 page book that I truly don't even know where to begin.  I probably have about forty page markers in this book, and I am planning to go through it and write notes from it in my Bible journaling notebook.

Zasowski wrote this book in response to the fears and anxiety she faced during COVID.  She reveals that this time has been truly unique in that all her clients have been experiencing the same trauma from the pandemic.  Concerned about her own anxiety, she and her family began a tradition every Saturday night during summer where they lit-up their fire pit in their front yard and offered s'mores to their neighbors.  As people walked by they, too, were asked to join in the fun.  It was a celebration for no particular reason, yet passersby would often ask, "What are you celebrating?"  Sometimes the answer was "summer" or "Saturday" or "You!"  One man asked why they were doing this every week, and Nicole's response:

"Because celebration is changing everything for me."

She backs-up her assertions for the need to have joy and celebration with scientific evidence.  But what I appreciate most about this book is the biblical principle that God wants us to celebrate his goodness and grace, and he wants us to be happy for our friends and family when they are celebrating triumphs, too.  The second of the Fruits of the Spirit, our gifts from the Holy Spirit, is joy.  He wouldn't have given us joy if he didn't want us to celebrate what we have, where we are, but more importantly, what our future is in Christ.  

The book is divided into two sections:  Part I, Release Your Fears, explains why Christians are hesitant to celebrate.  Mostly it's because of shame (i.e. we don't deserve it) and protecting our hearts (i.e. constantly preparing for the worst case scenario).  Part II, Choose Joy, is the longest section, and it gives practical advice on how and why to choose to find and share joy.  Part of it concerns sharing gratitude to deserving people in your life, and part of it challenges readers to savor where they are in the here and now.  Perhaps the most compelling and helpful chapter is "Joy In Sadness." Joy is not a denial of sadness: Christ tells us we can choose joy in the midst of our sorrow by transforming pain into joy.  John 16: 22 says: "So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you."  This verse has three wonderful promises from Jesus that will happen in our future!  My favorite line from the entire book:

Perhaps this is the most distinguishing characteristic of the joy that Christ offers:  it extends beyond the boundaries of our circumstances.  

Again, I highly recommend this book.  Nicole Zasowski's writing style is so accessible, and her stories and anecdotes illustrate her struggles in finding joy and having an expectant heart.  Some of her stories made me cry, yet others made me celebrate with an out loud "YES!"  Although she is in a different stage of life than I (she's a young mother) anyone can learn from this book.  The book is a blessing!

I'd like to thank TLC Book Tours for including me in this important book tour, and Thomas Nelson the publisher for sending me a copy of What If It's Wonderful? in exchange for a fair and honest review.  


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Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill


9 comments

  1. It certainly sounds like a wonderful book. Off to check it out and see if my library has a copy!! Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Sounds like a wonderful read. It is so true that we all in many ways have a hard time experiencing joy and trusting in it. I think in the day and age we live it is hard to remember to trust in God and the joy and love around us. We are bombarded constantly of all the hate and heartache in this world right now. Wouldn't it be nice to turn on the news and have a full new report of only good, kind and loving stories. Have a good day today. xoxo Kris

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  3. This sounds like such a great read for all of us, thank you for being on this tour! Sara @ TLC Book Tours

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  4. this sounds wonderful, we all need encouragement, faith and support...

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  5. This book reminds me of my friend Dick who is presently decided to give up his treatments for multiple cancers that have spread over the course of several years. If you read your FB page, you'd hardly know it. He decided he'd never painted and started painting every day. He sings glorious praises of every delicious meal his Susie ("she's a doozie") prepares for him. He writes little poems and limericks with great wit and humour. Every now and then (and probably more than every now and then) he has a bad day and he'll share -- but in an upbeat way, a way of "this is today; tomorrow will be better." He reminds me of my mother, who taught me how to live while dying, instead of dying while living. Finding joy is absolutely essential, in my mind, to living a good life, even when the chips are down. This sounds like a wonderful -- and valuable -- book.

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  6. This really does sound like a good read. I love positive thinking reading material. It has sustained me in my worst of times.

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  7. I have a young friend who will be managing a new indie bookstore in Syracuse very soon! I look forward to going to it!

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  8. This sounds like a wonderful book with inspiration and encouragement for living and trusting. Something we all have in common.....

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