Named by Christianity Today as one of 50 women shaping culture and the church today, self-proclaimed “hot mess” Margaret Feinberg is a popular author, a Bible teacher, and a woman who loves adventure. When she was diagnosed with cancer in 2013, Margaret chose a very unlikely weapon for the battle ahead: joy. This tool proved so effective and life-giving for Margaret that her story is now giving hope to women everywhere who are facing their own fights. We wanted to hear more about her journey with joy, the theology supporting it, and the book she wrote about her experience, which is aptly named Fight Back With Joy.
You chose to pick up a very unlikely weapon, and one I’d never once considered during my own darkest days: joy. What are more common “weapons” for the battle? Why did you choose joy?
Some time ago, I felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to go on a joy quest. I dug into Scripture, researching the more than 400 passages on joy, happiness, rejoicing, merriment, and more. The Bible resounds with a sacred call to live joyfully. We’re meant to radiate joy everywhere we go. Yet if we’re honest, it’s amazing how fast our joy erodes.
Some causes for this are external: the stress of work, the pressures of parenting, the expectations of managers, the difficult diagnosis, the financial burden. Others are internal—that inner voice that says if you just do enough, accomplish enough, sell enough, achieve enough, you’ll lay hold of the life you’ve always wanted.1