Today, I continue my ongoing series of conversations with published authors as I’m joined by Jenn Johnson, author of the lovely new book All Things Lovely: Inspiring Health and Wholeness in Your Home, Heart, and Community. Jenn has compiled a rich bounty of “lovely things” that help celebrate the best parts of life. With uplifting prose and beautiful imagery, Jenn reminds us to be intentional about every aspect of how we live. This is a book you’ll want to have nearby for inspiration, advice, and encouragement! I hope you enjoy our chat! Lisa
Jenn, blessings to you and your lovely family, and congratulations on the publication of All Things Lovely! Please briefly introduce us to yourself and your family.
I am a worship leader, songwriter, and author. I’ve been married to my amazing husband for almost twenty-two years. We have five kids: three biological and two adopted children. My husband and I have been pastoring worship at Bethel Church for twenty-one years.
Jenn, you share in the introduction to the book that you hope to inspire people to get healthy emotionally, spiritually, and physically but that this is a “come as you are” resource. What was your motivation for putting all of this insight into book format?
I think “come as you are” means coming to God and our own lives in an honest way. It means being willing to have nothing hidden and, as the Bible says, “have God search me and know me.” As far as getting healthy goes, this means having intentionality in your life whether it’s in your home, organization, what you put into your body, or how you exercise. Also, we get emotionally healthy by dealing with things that have gone on in our lives, whether that be through counseling, inner-healing, or prayer.
The book looks at four primary areas: Home, Heart, Health, and Hospitality. Is it really possible to focus on so many things at one time? Where would you point someone who feels just plain overwhelmed right now to get started?
First of all, I feel overwhelmed as well, so don’t worry about feeling overwhelmed. A phrase that really helped me was something that one of our pastors said: “There is enough grace to get everything done that needs to get done today.” It’s a matter of connecting with God in those four areas, for today, and asking Him how He wants to help you. The key is taking an issue in bite-size pieces versus being overwhelmed by the bigger issue as a whole.
Do you have a favorite chapter in the book? What is that chapter particularly meaningful to you? Was there one that was challenging for you to write?
I think my favorite chapter is on community because it’s one of the things I love the most. Community is one of the most important things in our lives, outside of our connection to God. The chapter that was most difficult for me to write was probably worship because it’s such a huge topic, so making one chapter was really difficult.
I’ll admit that while I was delighted by the look of your recipes, I’m a terrible cook! One of your primary messages seems to be avoiding comparing ourselves with others and finding God right where we are (even if we can’t cook!). Why is this message of love, peace, and acceptance so important in our world right now?
I think it’s important to know foundationally that you are loved by God as a son or daughter, and that nothing can separate you from that love. It’s also important to realize that in order to have a healthy relationship with God, intentionality matters in every aspect of your life. One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is self-control, which involves us doing our part.
I think peace is an interesting topic because a lot of times people pray for peace without doing the work it takes to get peace. Oftentimes, unresolved conflict or sin are the very causes of anxiety.
How will attending to the presence of God in our homes and our own hearts draw us closer to God and to one another?
It’s important to view our lives holistically, with all things connected emotionally, physically, and spiritually. We see that worship isn’t only connected to music. Worship is our lifestyle. Worship is how we treat people; it’s every aspect of our lives. Staying connected to the Lord throughout your day, reading your Bible, and simply carrying an awareness of Him and His leading is a huge key for this.
Please share about your friend and co-creator Heather Armstrong, whose lovely photos grace this book.
Heather and I have been best friends for fifteen years. She is a walking heart. Not only is she an incredibly gifted photographer, but her love for people and the way she hosts is stunning. She truly carries a heart of hospitality.
Are there any additional thoughts or comments you would like to share with our readers?
This book is beautiful and I hope it inspires you, but more than that I hope it draws you into a deeper connection with the Holy Spirit. My prayer is that All Things Lovely encourages you to follow God’s voice and know Him more.