Thursday 10 September 2020

I Heard God Laugh - Matthew Kelly - A Practical Guide to Life's Essential Daily Habit

I Heard God Laugh
A Practical Guide to Life's Essential Daily Habit
Matthew Kelly
Blue Sparrow Publishing 
Dynamic Catholic
ISBN 9781635821383
eISBN 9781635821390

Over the last 6 years I have read books by Matthew Kelly 29 times, and that does not count some of his children’s books that have been read many times over.  I am always excited when a new volume from Matthew is coming out, and eagerly await its release. This was the second of two that released around the same time, the other being Coach 365 Days of Inspiration for Coaches and Players. Next to Rediscover the Saints, this is my favorite book by Matthew Kelly, that I have read to date. This is one of those books that every Catholic, nay every Christian could benefit from reading. It is a fantastic read, and as soon as I finished it, I put but in my 'to be read pile'. It will be a book I know I will return to again and again. The description of this volume is:

“Is Your Life Working? Most of us are trying to put together the jigsaw puzzle we call life without a very important piece. Over time this becomes incredibly frustrating. In this extraordinary book, Matthew Kelly powerfully demonstrates that we cannot live the life we have imagined, or experience the joy we yearn for, unless we learn to tend the soul. From there, with his classic style of practical wisdom, he teaches us how to remedy this problem.

When our bodies are hungry, our stomachs growl. When our souls are hungry, we become irritable, restless, confused, overwhelmed, exhausted, anxious, discontent, and tend to focus on the things that matter least and neglect the things that matter most.”

I highlighted several passages on my first reading of this volume and some of them are:

“We cannot live without the hope that things will change for the better, and we are not victims of our circumstances.”

“You are who and what you are still capable of becoming. You are your realized and unrealized potential. God sees you and all your potential, and he aches to see you embrace your best, truest, highest self. He yearns to help you and to accompany you in that quest.”

“Wherever you are, whatever you’re feeling, however life has surprised and disappointed you, I want to remind you of one thing: The best is yet to come! There are times in life when this is easier or harder to believe, but the best is truly yet to come.”

“The essential piece most people are missing is a vibrant spirituality.”

Nothing will change your life so completely, absolutely, and forever like learning how to really pray. In prayer we learn who we are and what we are here for, what matters most and what matters least. Through prayer we discover the-best-version-of-ourselves, and are given the courage to celebrate and defend it in each moment of each day. In prayer we learn how to love and be loved, because we discover that we have been loved, are loved, and will continually be loved by God.”

“If you truly want to seek and find these answers, this is work for the soul. These are matters that are between you and God.”

“The essential practical virtue of prayer is patience—which is also the essential practical virtue in all relationships.”

“I am often asked: “Why do you pray?” I pray because I cannot thrive without it.”

Those few samples will give you an idea of the worth of this volume. This is a book about making prayer central to your whole life. It teaches, it encourages, and it challenges it. Matthew outlines:

The Prayer Process:
1. Gratitude
2. Awareness
3. Significant Moments
4. Peace
5. Freedom
6. Others
7. Finish

The book also contains the prayer of surrender. The chapters in this volume are:

Part One: The Unexpected Life 
A Question to Begin 
The Missing Piece 
The Habit 
The Promise of This Book 
Finding Your Reason 
Habit and Potential 
The Challenge 
Soul Note 

Part Two: My Spiritual Journey 
The Invitation: Ten Minutes a Day 
The First Surrender 
The Day My Life Changed Forever 
My Hope for You 
Soul Note 

Part Three: Life’s Essential Habit 
Teach Us to Pray 
Sharing the Joy 
The Prayer Process 
Your Best Days 
The Basics What Is Your Image of God? 
There Is Power in a Name 
Begin Today 
Soul Note 

Part Four: Six Powerful Spiritual Lessons 
The Longest Journey 
Six Seismic Shifts 
The First Shift: Begin the Conversation 
The Second Shift: Ask God What He Wants 
The Third Shift: Give Yourself to Prayer 
The Fourth Shift: Transform Everything into Prayer 
The Fifth Shift: Make Yourself Available 
The Sixth Shift: Just Keep Showing Up! 
Six Life-Changing Awakenings 
Soul Note 

Part Five: The God Who Gave Us Laughter 
Does God Have a Sense of Humor? 
I Heard God Laugh 
The Deep Waters 
The Delight of God 
Busy Is Not Your Friend 
Soul Note 
Epilogue: Do You Hear That?

This is one of those books I wish I could put in the hands of all my friends. A book I would love to have given to my daughter’s grade 8 graduation class last year. And especially in 2002 it is a book many of us would benefit from reading. I strongly encourage you to order 2 copies of this book, one for yourself and one to pass on.

This book is one of Kelly’s best and one all Christians should read!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Matthew Kelly:
I Know Jesus
The Long View
Decision Point: The Workbook
Decision Point: The Leader Guide
The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic
The One Thing
Off Balance: Getting Beyond the Work-Life Balance Myth to Personal and Professional Satisfaction
Why Am I Here?
Perfectly Yourself: 9 Lessons for Enduring Happiness
Perfectly Yourself Discovering God's Dream For You
Building Better Families: A Practical Guide to Raising Amazing Children
The Dream Manager
The Seven Levels of Intimacy: The Art of Loving and the Joy of Being Loved
The Rhythm of Life: Living Every Day with Passion and Purpose
Building Better Families - 5 Practical Ways to Build Family Spirituality
The Book of Courage
The Shepherd: A Modern Parable about Our Search for Happiness
Mustard Is Persecution, Matthew Kelly Foundation
A Call to Joy - Living in the Presence of God
The Rhythm of Life: An Antidote For Our Busy Age
Words from God
Resisting Happiness
The Narrow Path
Our Father
The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity
Why I Love Being Catholic
Good Night, Jesus
In a world where you can be anything ...

Beautiful ... Series:

Rediscover Books by Matthew Kelly:
Rediscover Catholicism: A Spiritual Guide to Living with Passion & Purpose
Rediscover Advent
Rediscover Lent
Rediscover Jesus: An Invitation
Rediscover the Rosary: The Modern Power of an Ancient Prayer
Rediscover the Saints

Audio by Matthew Kelly from Lighthouse Media:
Becoming The Best Version Of Yourself
The Best Way To Live
Don't Just Try, Train
Faith At Work & The Holy Moment
The Four Signs Of A Dynamic Catholic - Excerpt
The Jesus Question
My Spiritual Journey
Our Lives Change When Our Habits Change
Raising Amazing Children
The Seven Levels Of Intimacy
The Seven Pillars Of Catholic Spirituality

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