This morning I finished Matthew Kelly‘s 2016 book Resisting Happiness. I opened this book several weeks ago while staying at a friend’s, after reading the cover blurb: “A true story about why we sabotage ourselves, set aside our dreams, and lack the courage to simply be ourselves…and how to start choosing happiness again.”
It seemed relevant.
Although his books are very popular in our local parish and in the Church more broadly, this is my first cover-to-cover reading and mini-review of a Matthew Kelly book. Resisting Happiness was clear and concise, personal and practical, naming and describing dozens of little things we do that keep us comfortably stagnant and offering simple ideas on how to overcome those tendencies and start living intentionally for God.
At this stage in my own journey, the book seemed less written for me than about me, based on the last four years of my life. For example, in the first chapter, Kelly talks about the number of people who ask him for help publishing a book. Most have yet to even write a book, and when he tells them to finish the book and send him the manuscript, the vast majority are never heard from again. We must (I must) recognize that resistance is a all-day, every-day struggle. I need to work especially hard on those times when I am on topic but not on task (e.g., when I’m “writing” but haven’t written anything because I’m reading up on best practices, or checking out an article marginally related to the topic, or looking into publishing ideas for a book that doesn’t exist!).
And much of his advice for overcoming resistance on a day-to-day basis is so simple it’s rather brilliant. For example, when reading, writing, or studying, Kelly suggests consciously offering your work as a prayer for particular people or intentions, writing a person or intention at the top of each new page, thereby elevating your work to God’s work, praying without ceasing throughout the day, and offering up your struggles on behalf of others.
I have held onto this book and recommended it to my bride. If nothing else, reading it will give her a much clearer picture of why am I the way am I these days. If you feel stuck or lukewarm, or like me, settled and yet restless, this book is for you!