Stasi Eldredge released a new book called Defiant Joy last October. I heard about the book via Blythe Daniel, who I had the privilege of meeting a couple of times at prior She Speaks conferences. I feel so fortunate to have been given a copy of the book to check out so, after reading, I wanted to share some of my favorite truths from it!
We all spend a lot of energy reaching for happiness, but we are never quite able to hang on to it. Real life happens, and our circumstances take us on an emotional rollercoaster ride. So the Bible's call to "be joyful always" sounds almost crazy - and out of reach. But it doesn't have to be.
Joy is meant to be ours, a joy that is defiant in the face of this broken world. This joy is not simply happiness on steroids, it's the unyielding belief to be present to whatever may come and to interpret both goodness and grief by the light of heaven.
In Defiant Joy, Stasi Eldredge invites us with courage, candor, and tender vulnerability to a place beyond sadness or happiness. She shows us how to maintain a posture of holy defiance that neither denies nor diminishes our pain but dares to live with expectant, unwavering hope.
Defiant means to stand against the tide.
Walk the narrow path.
Be in the world, not of the world.
The more pages I turned and the more Stasi continued pointing back to God's Word, the more I realized that true, lasting joy in the midst of grief, pain, loss or mundane is always available to us.
We choose joy.
In the midst of a ll the suffering in the world, it can feel irresponsible, even frivolous, to have joy. And yet, and still, we are called to it. Certainly there is time to grieve. There is a time to mourn. To wail. To sigh. There is a time to know our loss and not have to cheer the teppanyaki chef, but that doesn't mean we can't have joy even in that painful knowing. Joy is the heartbeat of the kingdom of God. Joy is what sustains us; it is our strength. We can be resilient. We can be filled with the expectation of good things.
And we can have joy in the midst of the lamentations of our lives.
(Chapter 1, Defiant Joy)
James 1:2-4 says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
It's the testing that produces perseverance. And in order to become mature and complete, the testing must finish it's work. But even in the testing, we are to consider it not just joy but pure joy.
Pure means "free of any contamination". Wow. It's so convicting to think we are called, in the face of our trials, to have a joy that is fully free from the contamination of the world.
Romans 5:3-5 says, "Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."
No matter what, we can know an internal defiant joy because death has been defeated. Life has won. There is suffering, yes. But always there is potential for joy.
In the face of the ultimate reality won for us by Jesus, we don't have to pretend that life is better than it is, that we don't hurt as much as we do, or that we feel happy when we are not. We are invited to be fully alive, awake, alert, and oriented to the truth, and to know that because of Jesus, we can be defiantly joyful.
(Chapter 2, Defiant Joy)
This book was such an encouragement to me and I wanted to share! I would encourage you to pick yourself up a copy (and while you're at it, grab one for someone you know might need the message in this season of their lives).
Thank you Stasi for such great wisdom into living with "defiant joy"!
Cheering for you,