Today’s Sneak Peek is with a friend who embodies the theme of her new book. Trillia Newbell is one of the most enjoyable ladies I know, with a warm smile and infectious laugh that makes you want to stay and chat a little bit longer.
Her new book Enjoy: Finding the Freedom to Delight Daily in God’s Good Gifts, invites us to the forgotten feast of joyful living. She reveals how we can find delight in our duties, pleasure in our play, fellowship in our friendships, and wonder in our world. Most of all, she faithfully encourages our enjoyment of God as we enjoy the gifts he’s given.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
You bet! I’m a wife, mom, and writer. If you follow me on social media, you won’t be surprised to know that I love my little family. I live in the Nashville area and work as the director of community outreach for the ERLC. My blog tagline “where faith and life collide”, sums up my writing—it’s quite broad but typically focused on living out the Christian faith regarding race, fear, faith, enjoyment, and more. I’ve endured various trials in life, so I will occasionally write about suffering and our good and faithful Savior as well. Something unique about me is that I was a fitness professional for many years and continue to love cycling and being active.
When did you first start writing? What do you enjoy about it?
I first started writing in college. I loved research and looked for those courses that would be heavy on research. I also wrote occasionally for my college newspaper—I started college as a broadcast major before switching to political science. Fast-forward to marriage and children, I decided that I’d like to begin writing again and began doing freelance journalism for The Knoxville News-Sentinel. I loved writing feature stories about others, learning about people’s lives and what makes them tick. Everyone is so unique and interesting.
As I continued to write for my paper, I also wrote for various national magazines and websites. Then one fall, I realized I wanted to write from my Christian perspective more personally and explicitly. As the Lord had it, blogging at that time was beginning to become more accessible to non-techy people like myself so I began writing a blog. The rest is a bit of history.
I love ministering and serving others through writing. It’s a joy to receive notes from those who read my work and to hear how God is encouraging them through this ministry tool. Mostly, I love to speak, write, think, and reflect on the Lord. I have grown and been challenged as I reflect on his words in the Bible. God has used the medium of writing tremendously in my own heart. He is good like that!
Is writing ever difficult for you? How so?
Why, yes. Yes it is! I think the most difficult part isn’t the writing itself, but the doubting that happens after I’ve written. It would be different if I were simply writing a journal that no one would read, but because I am writing words that I hope might encourage others, I can feel a good fear in that. I can struggle with a sinful fear of man—afraid that what I’ve said isn’t up-to-par. But most of my fear is centered around trusting that my writing represents the Lord accurately. I won’t get it right all of the time, but it’s my goal to try my very best to prayerfully consider my words, how they will affect the reader, and what they say about God.
What led you to write Enjoy?
In many ways, Enjoy is my manifesto or the way I view much of my life and faith. If we are supposed to glorify God and enjoy him forever, then I’ve sought to try to understand what that looks like both theologically and practically. I wrote Enjoy because our hardships and the evil in the world can often distract us from rather than direct us towards our Savior. I also wrote the book because I’ve lived through various trials and I’ve learned to be sorrowful, yet always rejoicing. And really, I wrote it because I love God and love people and believe that as we learn to rightly enjoy Him and all he has given to us, our eyes will be fixed on eternity where we’ll be delighting in him forever.
What’s the central message you hope readers will take away from your book?
So often we make God’s gifts about us and not about him. Focusing rightly on the gifts, as they are—gifts—helps take our focus off of what we have or don’t have and turns our eyes onto the One who has given us all we need. The central message of Enjoy is that we have freedom to enjoy all that God has given to us, namely himself.
How has writing this book affected your own life?
Gosh—where do I begin?!
I love to cycle and, before I wrote Enjoy, I couldn’t figure out why something I loved and enjoyed so much was simultaneously difficult for me to do. I would get on the bike to ride and almost immediately begin to think of all the other things I needed to be doing. This rehearsal in my head would lead to guilt. I struggled to find the freedom to rest and exercise. In my mind, I needed something to validate the ride beyond the sheer fact that I truly found it refreshing to do so. In many ways, the Lord was revealing to me pride and legalism. Pride because I didn’t think I could afford to rest—only God doesn’t need rest. Legalism because of the guilt I felt for not constantly being a workhorse.
Also, my husband and children are so easy for me to enjoy. I write in the book about relationships and they are the sweetest gifts from the Lord apart from Himself to me. And, yet, what can be the hardest thing for me to enjoy—rest—can also be a tension within my most precious gift. My struggle with rest isn’t always physical; it’s often in the mind. I’ve learned that I need to actively stop thinking about work in order to be fully engaged in rest and play with my family.
Here are some quotes from Enjoy:
What God chooses to give us is infinitely better than what we think we want or need. (p.13)
The gospel stokes ambition by making audacious claims upon it. We can pursue all sorts of work with the end of glorifying Jesus in mind. (p.78)
We must not take ourselves so seriously that we forget the wonder, we forget to delight, we forget the joy of living, and most important, we forget the God who gives it all to us. (p.99)
We delight and give thanks not solely because he gives good gifts but also because he is God. (p.179)
Here’s what others are saying:
“In Enjoy, Trillia Newbell draws us toward a better understanding of the goodness of God. She invites us to give ourselves permission not just to see his goodness, but to savor it in tangible ways in the simple pleasures of life. Her message is challenging and freeing, practical and personal, spoken with the graciousness that characterizes her life and ministry. I was drawn to reflect on my tendency to misuse or take for granted God’s good gifts, and I was reminded that enjoying them as they were intended to be enjoyed is nothing less than an act of worship.”
—Jen Wilkin, Bible teacher and author of Women of the Word
“I can’t think of anyone who better epitomizes the theme of this book than Trillia Newbell! Her joyful spirit and big-as-the-world smile are infectious and emanate from a woman who, in the midst of a broken world, has found true, robust joy in our God who is making all things new and has given us countless good gifts to enjoy.”
—Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author, host/teacher of Revive Our Hearts
“Trillia Newbell writes with wisdom and grace on why Christians can and should take joy in the gifts that God has given us. This practical book will help all Christians see how the gospel transforms every part of our lives. Trillia Newbell is a gift to the church.”
—Russell Moore, president, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
“I grew up in the church. I’ve heard literally thousands of messages canvassing almost every topic you can imagine. Almost. I have never in my life heard a single message that God has green-lighted me to simply enjoy him and all of the gifts he has for me—until now. My friend Trillia Newbell has done both Christians and those curious about Christ a great service. She’s eulogized the ‘curmudgeon God,’ portrayed by so many Christians throughout the centuries and has unleashed a smiling God who wants his children to come alive through the gifts he’s given us. I so wish I had read this decades ago.”
—Bryan Loritts, lead pastor of Abundant Life Christian Fellowship and author of Saving the Saved
“Trillia J. Newbell has an infectious joy. Her joy in the Lord and the good gifts he gives us bursts forth from these pages like a firecracker on a summer night, like a flow of water between the rocks, like an uncontainable word of praise for a job well done. This book, like its author, is a delight.”
—Karen Swallow Prior, PhD, author of Booked and Fierce Convictions
“As you walk with Christ and mature, you come to realize true Christians live in a state well described by the apostle Paul: ‘Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.’ Trillia Newbell has the ability to point you to real joy in Jesus while not ignoring the pain that’s an ever-present reality for us all. You will find real comfort in her biblical exposition of this world’s beauty without sugarcoating the bitter parts of Christian life. I truly appreciate an author capable of such balance.”
—Aixa López, blogger at Corazón a Papel (Heart to Paper); pastor’s wife; and board member, Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) of Guatemala
“God is mighty and powerful, all knowing and everywhere at once. These are good truths. God is also a loving Father who gives good gifts to be enjoyed deeply by his children. Christians should belly laugh often, enjoy dinner with friends, and be awestruck by the beauty of God’s creation. In Enjoy, Trillia does a masterful job of helping us learn to enjoy God’s good graces to us.”
—Matt Chandler, lead pastor, teaching, The Village Church
If you had an afternoon to do whatever you’d like, where would we find you?
Hanging out with my family at a park.
Trillia Newbell is the author of Enjoy: Finding the Freedom to Delight Daily in God’s Good Gifts, Fear and Faith, and United. You can find her at trillianewbell.com and follow her on twitter at https://twitter.com/trillianewbell