Defiant Joy: We are Called to Live With Joy
I recently finished a book by one of my favorite authors, Stasi Eldredge, who wrote my all time favorite book called Captivating. The book I just completed and am writing about today is called Defiant Joy. This book drew me in just as hard and fast as when I read Captivating for the first time. She speaks from a truly real and authentic perspective of how she held onto her joy and faith while going through life’s struggles.
Defiant Joy is a book I will definitely be adding to my “read once a year” list. Stasi puts in to words so many things us as women can get caught up in that takes us away from attaining true joy. Because of this, I thought I’d share some of my favorite and most memorable quotes from the book.
“Joy is meant to be ours, a joy that is defiant in the face of this broken world. Our hearts are to echo the heartbeat of our joyous God.”
In the introduction, Stasi explains why the book is called Defiant Joy and not just Joy. The reason being that we are meant to experience joy. Joy in the the ups and downs of life. To be defiant means to go against the flow even in the midst of difficulty. So, defiant joy is quite fitting when we live in a fallen world. We all experience difficulty and sorrows. It may seem impossible to stand firm in your joy through everything that happens in our lives, but God makes it possible.
“Sometimes I wonder if, in our mad pursuit of happiness,we run right past the joy that might be ours. We work hard to change our circumstances or change ourselves so that we might be happy. We get ourselves into addictive behaviors (exercise, by the way, is also very addicting; so is organizing your life). Then we work hard to get ourselves out of our addictions, which sometimes only makes matters worse. And all the while, God is right beside us with a gentle invitation to joy. But we can’t hear that invitation while we are focused on whatever it is we think has to happen in order to make us happy”.
Whew! Maybe read through that twice. We can so easily get caught up in the I’ll be happy when… mentality. The goal or happiness finish line is always changing and keeps getting further away. Why is that? Because happiness is not a lasting feeling or state of being. We say we’ll be happy when we get that raise at work. Then you get the raise and wonder why it didn’t come with a magic happy pill. So, our happiness goal keeps getting further and further away.
Happiness is circumstantial and comes just as fast as it leaves. Our constant pursuit of something so fleeting can deflect our attention away from the joy staring us right in the face. It’s not something you achieve or climb the mountain to finally reach, it’s something that is in you right now. We just have to learn how to tap into it. We need to accept that gentle invitation from God to experience joy.
Joy is a choice. Joy is being rooted in God’s love and Jesus’ power at all times. We try and turn to everything else under the sun to fill a void we are not sure how to fill just hoping we’ve finally found the right concoction. God is asking us to stop looking to lesser things to fill the void we feel. He is asking us to join Him. Stasi includes an excerpt from her husband’s book, The Sacred Romance, that brings more clarity to this topic.
“Whatever the object of our addiction is, it attaches itself to our intense desire for eternal and intimate communion with God and each other in the midst of Paradise- the desire that Jesus himself placed in us before the beginning of the world. Nothing less than this kind of unfallen communion will ever satisfy our desire or allow it to drink freely without imprisoning it and us. Once we allow our heart to drink water from these less-than-eternal wells with the goal of finding the life we were made for, it overpowers our will, and becomes, as Jonathan Edwards said, ‘like a viper, hissing and spitting at God’. and is if we try and restrain it.” -John Eldredge, The Sacred Romance
“He has crossed galaxies and heavenly realms to get to you. He passed through unimaginable opposition and endured unfathomable suffering to get to you.”
I think we have to be aware of the love God has for us before we can experience the joy He has for us. Stasi really brings that love into perspective in this quote. God loves us so much be faced things we can’t even comprehend to be with us. He longs for a relationship with us. The creator of the entire world longs to love and be loved by us. Let that sink in for a minute. Until we accept the love God has for us, I think we will have an even harder time letting go of addiction to fill the void only God can fill.
“Choosing joy can feel like pushing a massive boulder up a steep hill, impossible without the help of others. But if we were not meant to walk in it and know joy intimately, why would God have commanded that we do so?”
God has a purpose for everything. If God commanded us to live with joy, there is a reason behind it. Not only that, but joy is attainable! God wants us to experience true and meaningful joy, not just short lived happiness based on our earthly experiences. We were created for so much more than that. Choosing joy is one step closer to God that is going to change our relationship with Him forever. Living in the joy He provides is another step towards living out our true calling on this earth.
I hope you work towards stepping into your true calling. If you think reading this book might be a part of that process, you can get it on Amazon by clicking the button below!