Live Your Joy
Bestselling Christian author and speaker Bonnie St. John made her mark on the publishing world with her inspirational hit, HOW STRONG WOMEN PRAY. Many readers were encouraged and uplifted by the accounts of well-known women's practices of prayer that she compiled. In this new text, St. John challenges Christians to live their joy --- and she's just the person qualified to expound upon this topic. As a divorced single mom and leg amputee who was also abused as a child, she has every reason not to feel joyful. Still, and perhaps because of her many personal challenges and those obstacles she has overcome, she cites that it is in spite of these difficulties that she finds her joy in Christ and in living.
In all honesty, St. John tells her readers that being joyful despite hard circumstances is something she struggles with every single day. With real transparency and a good measure of self-depreciating comedic humor, she writes about her foibles and lack of faith. Assuring her fans she is no different from them, she simply and decisively chooses to view life through the lens of joyful expectancy because of the faithful provision of God.
Readers will appreciate the in-depth and comprehensive approach to this study on joy from a biblical perspective. In every chapter, St. John offers a number of real-life scenarios where it would be easier to grow despondent, bitter and simply give up rather than make the more rigorous choice to pursue a joyous response. Each chapter focuses on specific themes such as choosing joy immediately; developing confidence, which strengthens joy; developing visionary hope; embracing positivity; learning what authenticity looks like; connecting with people through genuine friendship; growing strong and resilient through failure; and flexing the muscles of faith regularly.
A particularly meaningful chapter discusses the value of humility by becoming helpable. What might come as a surprise recommendation is one St. John strongly advises throughout every stage of life and across all relational boundary lines --- that of learning to ask for help. St. John expounds upon this principle in detail as she explains that the more individuals request help and assistance from those able to lighten their burden, the more joy people invite into their world and others. Notes the author, "The difference, I realized, between superstars and those people we all know who have talent, work hard, and yet never make it to the highest levels, is very simply how much help they get." St. John isn't describing a self-interested approach here, but rather a synergistic effort to accepting help and giving it so that everyone is part of something beneficial for the larger good.
St. John's book is a timely one as many individuals across the spectrum are battling discouragement, depression and the like. Interested readers who are willing to employ her recommendations will find solid resources throughout this primer on discovering and activating joy that is more powerfully resilient than any financial, emotional, or situational setback.
Reviewed by Michele Howe on April 28, 2009