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Chris Stefanick on Living Joy


Catholic speaker, author, and television host Chris Stefanick discusses his new book, “Living Joy: 9 Rules to Help You Rediscover and Live Joy Every Day.

Chris highlights the difference between joy and happiness. “A lot of the time we associate happiness with our passing circumstances. So often, when we’re feeling down or need a lift, we’re thinking, ‘I’ll be happy when this happens. When I get the raise, when I’m the boss, when my kids start respecting me all the time.’ But joy is a more permanent, deeper disposition of a soul that depends on a change in you and not on your circumstances. That’s rough because changing ourselves isn’t fun or easy. However, it’s also great news because I can’t control my circumstances, but I can control more with the grace of God.”

“It’s part of human nature to focus on the negative things that can destroy us or hurt us … If you’re cut off in traffic, for the rest of that day or maybe week, you’re looking for that one guy who cut you off. We obsess over the negative things. I’ve never come home from a hard day at work and said, ‘I just can’t stop thinking about that one nice guy who let me go in front of him in traffic.’ No, I lock in on the jerk who ruins the rest of my day, right? So it takes a lot of effort to not be in that negative space. It takes work to live and on a higher plane.”

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Father Dave asks Chris to share a good starting point for living out joy. Chris shares that the easiest starting point is to practice gratitude. “There is such incredible power in gratitude. Some historians think that the city septic system was running by Saint Paul’s cell in prison. These are not happy times for him. He’s waiting to be killed, and he tells us to rejoice in all circumstances. He says, ‘Rejoice in everything by prayer and petition with, and with Thanksgiving make your requests known to God.’ He writes that this is the will of God for us in Christ Jesus, to give thanks in all circumstances. This has unreal wiring on what our brain is focused on. Instead of focusing on things that bring us down constantly.”

“Gratitude is that practice of not just saying thank you, but of reworking what our minds are focused on. In the book, I go over how we’ll need to form that habit every day before our eyes open. Your brain wakes up and it starts to jump into its job, which is to help you stay alive and finds all the problems waiting for you that day. But it’s important before your eyes open to start redirecting your thinking to giving thanks … It doesn’t change your situation, but it changes you.”

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“This whole Christian life following Jesus is a path to joy. It’s not an easy path. It’s sometimes a path that requires dying to yourself, which is not fun. Recent studies have found that money can actually buy happiness, but only when you give it away. It’s literally proven that giving money increases your joy. So all of these studies always verify things Jesus said 2000 years ago. Pope Francis drew out this obvious connection in Evangelii Gaudiam. Because if there’s a reason that the Christian message falls on deaf ears, it’s because people see us coming from miles away and think, ‘You’re coming to take away my happiness.’ Joy is important. It gives us strength to get through trials. It helps make temptations easier to conquer. It helps us get through things like lockdown. And as Pope Francis drove home, it makes the faith attractive. Because if people see you coming from a mile away and think, ‘Oh, the Catholics, they want to take something from me.’ But they see a smile on your face. It’s like, ‘maybe he’s got something I want.’” (Original Air 12-02-20)