Last week, I mentioned a new book entitled, Fight Back with Joy. However, I did not get any farther than the title! :) Today, I’d like to share a bit more with you about this book by Margaret Feinberg.
Not long ago, Margaret began focusing on joy as her “word of the year.” After several months of pondering and pursuing joy, Margaret learned that she had cancer. God had lovingly and wisely equipped Margaret with a new weapon before she entered the brutal battlefield of dealing with cancer.
Joy proved to be a formidable weapon, indeed. It was not always the emotional cheer that Margaret would have liked, but it was also deeper and more fierce than she had realized.
The book is easy to read, thought-provoking, and encouraging. Here are 12 quotes which I appreciated from Fight Back with Joy:
1. The Bible insists that joy is more than a feeling; it’s an action. We don’t just sense joy; we embody it by how we respond to the circumstances before us. (page 19)
2. What is the genesis of this joy? I believe that, at its core, joy emanates from the abiding sense of God’s fierce love for us. (19)
3. The astonishing love of God found in the relational Dance of the Trinity is brimming with delight. (21)
4. You are founded in joy, created for joy, and destined for joy. Joy is where you come from. Joy is what you are created to experience. Joy is where you are headed. (23)
5. Joy is a far more dynamic, forceful weapon than most of us realize. The abiding sense that you are fiercely loved by God? That kind of joy empowers you to rise above any circumstance. (23)
6. [It is important] to mourn well. The process of mourning is like a long exhale. Expelling sorrow can feel like it’s emptying us of life, but it’s crucial to breathing joy more deeply. (72)
7. When we don’t allow ourselves to grieve well, something inside us dies. … We may not feel as much pain, but we also don’t feel as much joy. Our spiritual vitality depends on our ability to mourn the notable losses in life…. (79)
8. When done well, the tears of mourning become a river that washes away our pain, a holy stream carrying us toward healing, wholeness, and joy. (81)
9. [Celebration] is a discipline. Sometimes you have to will yourself to do it. (90)
10. Celebration is a discipline. But it’s also divine. (93)
11. Most days rejoicing didn’t make us feel better. Some moments buoyed our spirits, and laced us with smiles that attracted new friends. More often it opened the floodgates of tears. Joy is an action, something we can do, regardless of what our emotions may reveal. (107-108)
God has overflowing joy for us. We can trust that. I agree with Margaret that our joy springs, first of all, from knowing that we are deeply, unfailingly loved by God. It then deepens as we know (experience) Christ more and more.
As C.S. Lewis said, “Joy is the serious business of heaven.” In other words, God is committed to joy! For believers, earthly life is preparation for entrance into our Master’s joy (Matthew 25:21). All of history is being shaped and funneled for the fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11): God and His people will delight in one another without end.
How do you practice the discipline of joy? How do you grieve in healthy ways? I would love to hear your thoughts.
Blessings of joy to you,
(Click HERE for last week’s post, “Is Joy a Weapon?”)
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net