This week the Book Stop blog is featuring book excerpts from chapter four of Kay Warren's new book Choose Joy. For background on the book, see the article Kay, Warren, Saddleback Church Co-founder, Helps Christians to 'Choose Joy'.
Kay Warren, Choose Joy, Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, © 2012
Used by permission. All rights to this material are reserved. Material is not to be reproduced, scanned, copied, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without written permission from Baker Publishing Group.
Then there’s my favorite because it’s me: Eeyore. Eeyores are creative, intense, perfectionistic and feel things very deeply. They tend to be pessimistic and even gloomy at times, but often that’s because Eeyores carry the pain and sorrow of the world on their shoulders. Sometimes they’re not much fun to be around! But if you want a creative idea, an in-depth conversation, or an empathetic ear, call your Eeyore friend. Eeyores add a rich dimension to relationships and conversations because they have such depth and breadth of emotion and are able to pull the rich emotions out of others as well. The world would be a shallow, cold, uncaring place without Eeyores.
It’s easy to look at one of the other personalities and say,
I could be joyful if I were like Tigger! I could be joyful if I were as carefree as Winnie the Pooh. Of course I could. But here’s what we need to be aware of. Each personality type has strengths AND weaknesses. Just because your friend is an extroverted Tigger doesn’t mean she understands joy. Tiggers have dangers too. They tend to depend on the force of their personality and not the Spirit of God. Why do they need God when they’ve got their personality? And sometimes Tiggers get so used to the sensation of being “up” that when they hit a wall emotionally, it is likely to be very confusing and disorienting to them; they don’t know what to do with low emotions.
Those who are Rabbits can find joy in completing their tasks and checking items off their to-do list instead of in God. Accomplishing tasks can become a substitute for a meaningful walk with God. Winnie the Poohs can be a little smug and take great pride in the fact that while the rest of us are spinning like crazy tops, they’re walking calmly through life. Why would Winnie the Pooh need God for joy? With a relaxed attitude, shouldn’t everyone be able to experience joy? Eeyores probably face the greatest challenge of all the personalities when it comes to choosing joy because their natural bent is toward introspection, pessimism, and perfectionism.
But no personality has either an edge or an excuse when it comes to experiencing joy. The Lord recently told me, “Kay, I want you to stop using your personality as an excuse for not experiencing joy on a daily basis; you’ve become a prisoner of your personality. I want you—a naturally gloomy little Eeyore—to experience joy.” Have you discovered this about yourself yet? Can you see how easy it is to become a prisoner of your personality type? Over time we can develop more loyalty to our personality than we have to God and his command to choose joy. I will always be an Eeyore. You will always be a Tigger, or a Rabbit, or a Winnie the Pooh—but we don’t need to hide behind our personalities or rely on them to determine the level of joy we experience in life.
True joy—apart from our emotions or human inclinations—is possible. Joy is a gift of the Holy Spirit intended for all personalities at all times.