**I received this book for review courtesy of the author; all opinions expressed remain my own. This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.**
“I think we actually have a joy crisis on our hands. We’re living in a society that’s so characterized by stress, worry, busyness, and fear, and we don’t seem to understand how the removal of joy from our faith experience is affecting not only our ability to trust God but also our ability to grow in endurance, character, and hope.”
Reading through Talasi Guerra’s new book, “Joy Like a Mountain” these words jump out at me — a joy crisis. In the following pages, this is exactly what Talasi aims to explore. Challenging her readers to dig deeper, she asks, “In a world characterized by stress, worry, depression, and fear, what does it take to generate joy and reclaim the lives we were created to live?”
Exploring the critical connection between joy and suffering, Talasi offers a profound view of how intentional joy can revolutionize the gruelling journey up the mountain of life.
Over the past few years, my own understanding of joy has grown. Faced with numerous losses and deep grief, the incredible appearance of joy amidst suffering is a gift God used to transform ashes to beauty. And that’s one of the reasons, I appreciate the message behind Talasi’s book.
As if chatting with a friend, you can hear Guerra’s voice “speak” from the page as she writes. Honest and Christ-focused, her book is centered around a mountain-based analogy — an image that captures the rocky, glorious, and hopefully joy-enriched climb of life.
We can have inexpressible joy on the journey, despite the enemy’s futile attacks, because we know that Jesus has won the ultimate victory. We know where we’re going. We know the destination. Here and now, the mountain path might look hazy and confusing. Some days, it might even look impossible. But no matter what we face, we can trust in the guarantee.Talasi Guerra, Joy Like A Mountain
This is a short but impactful read for those on a quest for joy. While some aspects of the book occasionally felt repetitive, I appreciated the gospel-focused reminder that this spiritual discipline can be sound in all seasons. Reflections questions at the end of each chapter encourage readers to dig deeper into their own understanding and unpack some key elements to finding joy. For those feeling the weight of a “joy-crisis” within their own lives, this book is a great tool to start with.
Interview with Talasi:
Q: In your book, you talk about a “joy crisis.” Can you explain that?
There’s no question that mental illness poses a significant threat to the health and wellbeing of our population today. According to the World Health Organization, “one in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives.”
Naturally, many might be inclined to refer to this phenomenon as a “mental health crisis,” but I think that the crisis runs even deeper than that. Romans 5:3-4 says, “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” These verses suggest that it’s not only suffering, but joy in the midst of suffering, which produces three essential components in us that we can’t navigate life without: endurance, character, and hope.
I flesh this out in a lot more detail in the book, but the idea is that because we tend to neglect the discipline of choosing joy despite our circumstances, the results are a decline of endurance, character, and hope in individual lives and in the populace as a whole. This leaves anyone suffering from the joy crisis at a severe disadvantage as they navigate life.
According to Jesus, there’s a direct correlation between keeping his commands to remain in his love and experiencing full and complete joy. And this is noteworthy because it means that joy is not only a thing of choice but also a thing of obedience. When we choose to walk with the Guide and obediently follow his lead, we’ll learn a new kind of joy that is richer and more beautiful than anything else the mountain has to offer.Talasi Guerra, Joy Like A Mountain
Q: How have you experienced this crisis personally?
As an adolescent, I never learned how to navigate my negative feelings in a healthy way. As a result, I fell into crippling depression and a life-threatening eating disorder. I experienced, first-hand, the bleak reality of living a life devoid of endurance, character, and hope. It was all I could do to simply survive. Even after I recovered from my eating disorder in 2007 and began to get my physical health back on track, I still had a long way to go when it came to internal healing.
For me, the joy crisis is personal because it ravaged my life for so many years. It’s also personal because I’ve seen its effects all around me, particularly in the lives of the young people I have worked with over the past decade. I feel that as believers, we have a responsibility to address this crisis—both for ourselves and for the next generation.”
Q: I love how your book is so Biblically grounded, but also has many moments that read like a story. Did you start out with the intention of writing such an allegorical narrative throughout the book?
“No! Although it was probably my favorite part to write, I didn’t exactly plan for it or see it coming from the very beginning. I always knew that the mountain motif would play a huge role in the book, because I had the title in mind and had begun to develop the analogy before I started drafting. But I had no idea how deep this analogy would end up going, or that pieces of the book would morph into such a rich allegorical retelling of the gospel narrative.
But fairly early on in the process I just sort of found myself getting lost in this beautiful story in my mind. I have always had a very active imagination, and I have always loved stories and storytelling. So as the allegory began to take shape, it brought the rest of the book to life in a new way for me. Suddenly everything that I knew I wanted to say about joy somehow, now, had so much more meaning.”
We must radically implement the discipline of joy in our own lives so that we can reach out to the world around us with its message of hope and healing.Joy Like A Mountain, Talasi Guerra
Q: In your book you give us several tools for choosing joy. What are some practical ways for readers to begin cultivating joy within their lives? Are there any extra resources you recommend?
“I think it all starts with a few intentional choices. When I began this journey over a year ago, I decided to start journaling on a Bible verse about joy every single day. At the end of each day, I took a few minutes to reflect on three questions:
- Did I choose joy today?
- What made choosing joy a challenge today?
- What did I learn today?
I found that setting aside this little bit of time to cultivate joy in my life made a huge difference. Out of this practice, I ended up developing a resource called The 7-Day Joy Challenge. This is a bite-sized, week-long devotional plan that helps readers cultivate intentional, biblical joy in their lives. Click here to learn more about it or sign up to receive it in your inbox one day at a time.”
Click here to find “Joy Like A Mountain” on Amazon.
Grab a copy to embark on your own joy revolution!