A book about joy? Count me in! Joy and peace have been my two most important goals over the past year and I protect them with everything I have. My Vice President recommended I read “The 4:8 Principle: The Secret to a Joy-Filled Life”. Considering I need to get back into reading, let’s see what Mr. Newberry has to share!
This book is already cool in my book (see what I did there?) because it has a spiritual foundation. The whole premise of the book is based on Philippians 4:8:
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy- meditate on these things. (NKJV)
Basically, like all personal development books, the author is telling us that changing the way we think will change our future and our lives! Let’s do it!
Chapter 1- Life as It Was Meant to Be: Discovering the Secret of a Joy-Filled Life
I think God gave all of us a shot at experiencing proactive happiness I call joy. p. 5
Joy is an outward sign of inward faith in the promises of God. It is a way of acting, and it is evidence of spiritual maturity. p. 6
Joy is the sum and substance of emotional health. It is a state of mind that must be deliberately cultivated if you are determined to live and love and influence others as God intended. p. 6
Virtually any meaningful goal is within reach when you become mentally disciplined. p. 7
Thinking, talking, and worrying about what you don’t want can never bring you what you do want. p. 14
Chapter 2- A New Beginning: Focusing on What Produces Joy
Most negative thinking is simply a bundle of lies that cannot be substantiated. p. 24
Remind yourself that negative thoughts do not come from God. p. 25
Whatever you give your attention to expands in your experience. p. 28
If you dwell on your strengths, your blessings your goals, and all the people who love you, then you will attract even more blessings, even more love, and even more accomplishments. p. 29
Imagine a spark from a campfire flying onto your sweater. As long as you quickly brush it away, it will do no harm. It is the same way with negative thoughts. Train yourself to become aware of them, and then sweep them away without much fanfare. p. 34
There were a couple things from this chapter that really stuck with me. Besides from the constant message of thinking positively, there were also wise suggestions to let go of previous mistakes and to instead focus on your strengths and things for which you are grateful. Sometimes I slow down and somehow I talk myself out of doing the things that I know will get me going again. It’s almost like a default to the lower energy state. Luckily positive energy snowballs. Personal development + Prayer + Positive Actions => Momentum. I’ve also noticed that once my external environment is clean and organized, I can focus more so on my internal state.
Chapter 3- Wow, That’s Me! Embracing Your God-Given Identity
When you fine-tune your thinking to conform to Philippians 4:8, you naturally begin to view yourself and others with much greater respect. Why? Because you’re focusing on people’s positive traits rather than judging them or concentrating on their negatives. p. 41
“Just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions” (NLT). These verses clearly show that what you observe in your own life is merely a reflection of what is going on in your mental software. What we do externally reflects what we are really like and what we are thinking internally. p. 45
Your future picture is your best-case scenario. It is the future you, upgraded and better than ever. When this future vision is divinely inspired, it will pull you over, around, or through any wall of comfort or fear that may be temporarily blocking your way. p. 48
Your self-ideal is what your life would look like if everything were perfect for you.It is a composite of all your goals, dreams, aspirations, and role models combined into a singular vision that is best thought of as your future picture. p. 48
If you feel insecure and think of yourself as inadequate and undeserving, then those very thoughts will get in the way of your full potential. Your self-worth demonstrates how spiritually fit and ready to do God’s work you really are. It also reveals how receptive you are to God’s blessing and favor. p. 54
Chapter 4- Your Potential for Joy: Fortifying your Self-Concept
If you keep thinking of yourself the way you used to be, that is exactly what you will continue to be. p. 64
Focus on improving yourself- you are the only person you can control. p. 68
Speak only what you seek. p. 70
Chapter 5- You Make Me So Mad! Taking Charge of Your Emotional Life
And when you’re truly joy filled, others are inspired to find that source of joy themselves. p. 82
Can you imagine any greater way to draw others to Christ than through your nonstop expression of joy? Could there be a more attractive light than uncontainable joy? p. 82
Whenever you transfer the ownership of your emotional life to someone else, you are losing power over your emotions. p. 82
The Law of Attention: Whatever you dwell upon becomes increasingly prominent in your own mind. p. 91
Refuse to fuel negative emotions by constantly talking about what is wrong…Instead, broadcast your blessings to anyone who will listen. Verbalize your vision for the future to trusted friends and allies. Turn the spotlight of your concentration to your future hopes and dreams, to the grand and mysterious future that God has in store for you. p. 92
The Law of Exchange: You can do away with a negative thought only when you replace it with a positive thought. p. 93
The Law of Reversibility: One of the most effective and least utilized methods for upgrading your emotional life is acting your way into the feelings you most desire. p. 96
Our capacity to act into a feeling is restricted only by our motivation to do so…When you have a compelling reason, you can reach your emotional goals. You can sit around and wait for those feelings to be triggered from the outside, or you can behave your way into those blessings now. Even the word “emotion” itself is 86 percent “motion”. p. 98
Chapter 6- Head Games: Starving Negative Emotions
You can create a virtuous cycle like this by getting really clear on your personal vision and aligning your behavior with that vision, thereby producing the emotional blessings you desire. p. 104
Understand that your emotional strength is directly linked to your moral decisions. The choices you make that violate biblical truth invite emotional discord even though they may initially produce counterfeit joy. This emotional debt must always be paid back, with interest. But when you behave in ways that are pleasing to God, you will be rewarded with the emotional fruit that your soul truly desires. When you live purposefully, think rightly, serve generously, and forgive quickly, you are laying the groundwork for emotional victory. I have found it very empowering to remind myself repeatedly that negative emotions are not God’s will for my life. p. 105
You can put negative emotions in their place. One way to do this is to challenge their authenticity. When you become aware of a negative emotion, simply remind yourself, “This is just the way I feel. It’s not necessarily the truth. It doesn’t need to dictate my behavior.” p. 111
You can do away with a negative thought only by replacing it with a positive thought. p. 112
Staying in the presence of others might inadvertently fuel your fire. Briefly withdrawing, especially from loved ones, allows the time-tested wisdom of “this too shall pass” to kick in and start working to your advantage. Reminding yourself of this spiritual truth supplies a vision of closure and weakens the hold of negative emotions. It gives you something to hope for, a time to practice your faith. p. 117
You can practice compassion…Assume that other people are struggling or in pain. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be acting so negatively, right? pp. 118
Emotions don’t reveal the quality of your life; they reveal the quality of your thinking at any particular moment. p. 122
PART 3- Guard Your Heart: Defending Your Joy
Chapter 7- Your Personal Firewall: Developing Habits to Protect Your Heart
I didn’t get a whole lot of quotables from this chapter, but it was essentially saying to create an environment for yourself that cultivates joy. Use the first and last 15 minutes of your day to empty your mind of destructive thoughts. Influence what influences you!
Chapter 8- Junk Proof Your Mind: Strategies for a Healthy Mind
A healthy mind produces joy, like a healthy body produces energy. p. 148
In life, it’s far easier to be pulled down than lifted up. p. 150
It is easier, especially for children, to gravitate toward those who accept us rather than those who will draw the best out of us. p. 150
Keep your goals far away from people who shrink dreams and who encourage the enemy called “good enough.” Instead, get around people who challenge you you to constantly stretch, raise your standards, and pursue your biggest dreams. p. 151
When people with different values hang out together, somebody ultimately changes. p. 151
Well, it all depends on your particular vision, but if your aim is a joy-filled life, here are seven thought triggers to get you started. Invest more time with people who look like this:
- Their character and integrity are equal to or greater than your own.
- They share your faith, or even better they are further along in their relationship with God.
- Their lives demonstrate the joy-filled fruit of their faith.
- You’d like your children to grow up and be similar to them.
- They hold you accountable and ask you the tough questions that are avoided by the majority.
- They draw the best out of you and remind you that God is doing exciting things through you.
- They are sincerely committed to being positively sharpened by their exposure to you! p. 152
It means that when you must be around a negative person, you inoculate yourself before the contact with ultra-positive exposures and you disinfect yourself afterward in much the same way. p. 154
Your conscious mind can hold only one thought at a time, positive or negative. The only way to eliminate a negative or counter-productive thought is to replace it with a positive, empowering thought. p. 155
Conversely, do not affirm what you do not want in your life. Refuse to get cornered into conversations involving cynicism, doubt, fear, worry, or gossip. Typically, self-talk refers to your habitual inner voice, which becomes evident to others when you speak. As a rule, it is quite contagious. Just as you might cringe on an airplane when you hear coughing, sneezing, and other signs of sickness nearby, you should stay alert to the negativity of those around you. Do not let others contaminate your mind with their pessimism and idle words. Practically speaking, this means talking to yourself and others only about the conditions you desire and the things God wants for you. p. 157
Our spiritual growth and development often mirrors this toddler-style fun. We often make great strides toward our goals, only to wreck that progress with self-inflicted sabotage, forcing us to start over once again. The wrecking ball may take different forms-negative self-talk, fear, neglect, procrastination, worry, and so forth- but it demonstrates how important it is to get out of our own way. p. 158
We have been given the power to have what we visualize, but we tend to visualize only that which we already have. And as long as you fix your mind only on what you currently have, you will very likely receive nothing more. p. 160
I invest most of my discretionary time with people of equal or greater character, and I reevaluate my progress in this area every ninety days. p. 166
Chapter 9- Thanks for Everything: Living with Gratitude
What is the number one thing you are going to be grateful for this time next year? Do the people you love the most know how grateful you are for them? p. 172
When you feel a sense of deficiency, it does not necessarily mean that you are lacking something important. What it does mean is that you have recently been thinking about what is absent, very likely to the exclusion of what is present. p. 173
Closely related to entitlement, but typically on a more personal level, is what I call the Law of Familiarity. This simply means that the longer you’ve been exposed to a particular blessing in your life, the more likely you are to take it for granted. You being to feel entitled to it rather than being grateful for it. p. 176
Worry involves dwelling on potential negative outcomes without doing anything about them…Worry is when you trust your fears more than you trust God. p. 176
Gratitude is a choice. It is a conscious and deliberate decision to focus on life’s blessings rather than its shortcomings. p. 180
Exceptional gratitude refers to acts of thankfulness unprompted by someone else’s tragedy, pain, or misfortune. Exceptional gratitude doesn’t require something to be missing before it’s appreciated. p. 182
This has truly been an awesome read! I forgot how powerful positive thinking was! I changed my thinking and it was impacted my relationships, my energy level, and my outlook on life. Now I am responsible for spreading that joy! Let it shine!