Book review: STABLE: The Keys to Heaven on Earth
by April Michelle Lewis
April Lewis’s book is a pluralistic Christian approach to happiness. She notes that it is God’s will that we be happy, experiencing heaven on earth, and that virtually all religions promote common goals of love, forgiveness, altruism and healthy relationships … the very things which contribute to our happiness on earth. Lewis has apparently been through the wringer in life and learned some hard lessons (which she doesn’t discuss), but she eventually overcame them, with the help of God. She describes her success through the acronym STABLE, writing in a conversational, heart-felt tone that makes it easy to get to know her and to join in her journey toward heaven on earth. Here’s what STABLE means:
S.T. = Sound Thoughts, which is much more than just positive thinking. Lewis teaches that we should treat the harmful thoughts which pervade our brains as unwelcome enemies, to be chased away and replaced. Happiness is attainable, and one secret lies in the awareness of an afterlife, as it will someday offer us a feeling of incredible joy. This Lewis deduces from her research into near-death experiences.
A.B. = Always Believe, by which she means belief in God. Lewis thinks atheism is silly, that it is impossible for life to begin without a creator, and she assumes that this creator is a “loving intelligence,” a personal God interested in our well-being. STABLE depends upon faith in God, finding a deeper meaning and divine plan in every circumstance. The meaning of life can be summed up in one phrase–we are here to love and to help others–and God is our ever-present strength. Says Lewis, “I ask God for everything. I talk to Him about everything.”
L.E. = Life of Excellence, the result of focusing our life on others. The excellence in our lives is determined by how we treat each other, how we treat animals, how we treat the earth, and so on. It is a result of living as though heaven were on earth, and it is not merely a switch we can flip on. Practice, perhaps years of practice, is required. Lewis refers to the research of Dr. Martin Seligman, who finds that altruism, volunteering, donating to charities, and helping others is what leads to what he calls Authentic Happiness. It is by giving of ourselves that we achieve joy.
Lewis then begins to steer a bit off course, as she encourages us to chase our dreams as part of the Life of Excellence. The idea is that God has ordained a particular life for us from an early age, perhaps revealed to us by childhood dreams, and we should hold tight and pursue them. When heaven has a plan for you, God will not allow you to look back, so we must work toward our goals and achieve our individual purpose. To be honest, this new emphasis didn’t seem to me to fit the “live for others” mold of STABLE. Anyway, setting that aside…
Encouraging and inspirational, this is a book worth reading.
Inspiring Voices, © 2012, 171 pages