My friend, Margaret Feinberg, has been in a gruesome fight with breast cancer. I can’t imagine how I would respond to being thrown on one of life’s toughest battle fields. But Margaret? Her response has been startling—and personally very challenging to me.
So much so that I asked her to share a piece of her inspiring story with you to encourage and inspire you. May you dive deeper in your love for Jesus no matter what circumstances you’re facing. You can find out more about Margaret's new book and Bible study at the end of the blog.
Hey There, Way Too Busy Woman
By Margaret Feinberg
Worried. Overloaded. Maxed out. Worn. Striving. Spread thin. Exhausted. Busy.
You may have found yourself in a season of overdrive. Family responsibilities, pressing work deadlines, and the kick-off of the year are among many seasons when we can find ourselves doing too much and giving in to our performance-driven culture.
Or maybe you’ve been hit by loss, disappointment, or disease.
Over the last few years, during a very difficult battle with cancer, I’ve been discovering the power of joy.
I’ve been diving into the more than 400 biblical references to joy while writing my most recent book: Fight Back With Joy. In the process I’ve discovered:
More than whimsy, joy is a weapon we use to fight life’s battles.
We can do more than choose joy, we can pursue joy and activate joy in our lives.
One very practical way to increase your joy threshold in the midst of everyday is found in the gift of rest.
I’ve discovered that joy and rest are intimately linked. The equation looks something like this:
^ REST = ^ JOY
Increased rest leads to increased joy. As we learn to find our rest in God and make time to rest, our joy naturally expands. Consider Isaiah 58:13-14 (NIV):
“If you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
Isaiah uses rich imagery in this passage. The idea of taking a “ride in triumph on the heights of the land” makes me want to squeal in glee. Sitting down to a feast that’s centered on God’s faithfulness, well, count me in. The prophet gives us a vibrant portrait of the joy that comes when we enter the rest God has for us.
The truth is, when we aren’t rested, our capacity for joy decreases.
I discovered this acutely during the last year of battling cancer. When I get a good night’s rest, I’m more patient and kind and able to process news—both good and bad. Without rest, every difficulty and hardship magnifies. My eyes skip like rocks from one problem to the next. Without rest, we miss out on an unlikely weapon God wants to equip us with.
In the book and Bible study, Fight Back With Joy, I want to equip you to expand your joy threshold, beat back discouragement, and awaken to God’s fierce love for you. Join me for this book and Bible study, and we’ll learn to practice a defiant joy that declares the darkness has not and will not win.
How are you going to carve time for more rest into your day? Press the snooze button. Shut off your phone and computer before climbing into bed. Snuggle under the covers a half hour earlier. Sneak in a cat nap mid-afternoon. Write yourself a permission slip to rest.
Each of us can become more intentional about entering into the rest God has for us—and experiencing more joy in the midst of every day, including the hard days.
Be someone who rises above endless demands and become more winsome, cheerful, and thankful through Margaret’s new book and Bible study, Fight Back With Joy: Regret Less. Celebrate More. Stare Down Your Greatest Fears.
Margaret Feinberg teaches at churches and conferences including Catalyst, Thrive, and Women of Joy. She was recently named one of 50 women most shaping church and culture by Christianity Today. Her books and Bible studies, including The Organic God, The Sacred Echo, Scouting the Divine, and Wonderstruck, have sold nearly a million copies. She lives in Colorado, with her husband, Leif, and their superpup, Hershey. She believes some of the best days are spent in jammies, laughing and being silly.