In Enjoy, Trillia Newbell hopes to help readers realize that the many nuances of life can all be enjoyed for the glory of God. Newbell asserts that God has graciously placed in each of our lives numerous opportunities, things, and people of which we can freely enjoy. Although the Fall has significantly twisted the ability for us to appreciate and experience the pure pleasure that existed when God created the world, we can still receive these blessings with thanksgiving, gratitude, and joy. Throughout the chapters, Newbell discusses many different aspects of everyday life including relationships, art, work, marriage, music, rest, possessions, food, and creation. In each of these areas, the author highlights how we can turn what seems to be mundane into opportunities to capture a glimpse of God’s beauty and magnificence in what He has placed in our lives. For example, in one chapter, she argues for a renewed appreciation of food as a gift that God gives us to enjoy both individually and corporately. Combinations of different flavours and cooking styles allow us to appreciate the creativity of God and the diversity of His creation. Meals enjoyed in the context of family and friends help foster loving bonds and lasting relationships. Moreover, the Communion meal we partake as members of God’s household remind us that Christ is the eternal bread and wine which saves us. Thus, the food we eat in the present is not only for sustenance and pleasure but is also a foretaste of the wedding banquet that we will participate in when the Groom returns to wed His bride. Throughout the book, the author is cautious to steer away from prescribing instructions so as not to inadvertently promote legalism when one should simply be enjoying what God has given. However, Newbell does provide a set of suggestions at the end of each chapter to help readers being to look for ways to view life with a transformed perspective that focuses on both the small joys of the present and the grand joy we will experience in the future. At the end of the book are discussion questions pertaining to each chapter which would be of use to those engaging in group study.
I would recommend this book to those who struggle to find joy in the lull of the routine activities and occurrences in life. Newbell reminds readers that God’s manifold blessings are signposts that point to Him as the ultimate Giver and Source of all good things. Thus, instead of unmitigated indulgence or frugal abstinence, God calls us to take hold of and experience the beautiful things and people that He has placed in our lives in the present. While doing so however, we are to keep our eyes fixed on the eternal blessings that we will one day receive when Christ returns. What I find most compelling about Newbell’s book is the call to slowly and thoughtfully savour the goodness that God graciously showers upon us. When we allow these ordinary occurrences to slip through, we lose crucial opportunities to receive, relish, and praise God for the grace and love He lavishes upon us.
In compliance with Federal Trade Commission guidelines, I received a review copy from The Crown Publishing Group in exchange for a book review.