When I first picked this book up, I thought, from the title, that I was in for page after page of Pollyanna-type positive mental attitude. One of my least favorite sayings is, “Happiness is a choice,” which is true, but when you’re unhappy, you don’t want to hear it. I was afraid this book would be a never-ending list of reasons why my happiness is up to me. I misjudged it.
“Life is Easy—I Just Decide It’s Hard” is actually a wonderful book which takes the scriptures and helps us understand how we can overcome some of life’s most insidious emotional struggles by using the principles of the Gospel in our own lives. The book begins by relating the story of Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail, and how he cried out for relief from his anguish, asking God where He had gone. Joseph had every right to feel alone—he was incarcerated in a tiny cell that didn’t even allow him to stand up straight, he had been there for seven months, and he and the other men were ill. We now know this prayer as section 121 of the Doctrine and Covenants.
When the Lord speaks to him, the answer he is given can be applied to us in every one of our heartrending situations. He first calls Joseph “my son,” reminding him who he is. He then puts Joseph’s situation into eternal perspective, telling him that it would be for a small moment, and then He reminds Joseph of the blessings he will receive if he is faithful.
As we head into the rest of the book, we see such topics addressed as guilt, and how to know if we are experiencing helpful guilt or damaging guilt. We read about perfectionism and how our desires for perfection can make us miserable and keep us from fulfilling God’s design for us. Other topics are anger, fear, worry, and procrastination.
This book is going to take a place of honor in my religious nonfiction collection. I know I’ll be referring to it time and again whenever I start to feel down on myself. The only complaint I have to offer is that the title is misleading in its simplicity. That’s it.
(This book was published in 2007 by Cedar Fort.)