Joyce Meyer is a well-known speaker and author in the United States. She even has a television show, and some videos circulating, but I'm just becoming acquainted with her work. I've heard her name before, and have seen quotes attributed to Joyce, but this book is the first of hers that I've had opportunity to read.
My first impression was that this might be one of those quickly-produced, "this is what the masses are buying" type of book. It is not deep writing, but the theology lines up true to my own experience and grasp of God's principles for the healing of our emotions.
I soon discovered that Joyce is no stranger to this problem. She was a abused as a child, and developed an angry personality that needed to be in charge and to be reassured and catered to in many ways. However, as she dealt honestly with this abuse before God, and with the help of a very patient and emotionally stable husband, Joyce has come through to victory over her emotions. She now controls them instead of her emotions tossing her about and dashing her on the hard rocks of life. She really has good advice, based on many Bible passages, to help others in this dilemma.
Although I've not been sexually abused, I can admit to some emotional abuse and being misunderstood and deprived. I too have had to deal very honestly concerning these things before the Lord, and find healing in obeying His Word. I can vouch that Joyce's counsel is wise.
She points out in the introduction that anger is just an emotion, and it needs to be brought under control. Joyce says, "It is important to remember that emotions won't disappear and go away. They will always be there. We must not deny their existence or feel guilty because of them. Instead we are to channel them in the right direction. We are to deny the flesh the right to rule us, but we are not to deny that it exists."
The key is to learn to control or manage our emotions. Joyce shows this over and over in a number of ways throughout the book. Lest you and I think we'd like to learn these lessons fast, and be done with our troubles, there is a little illustration about the baby eaglet who has a tiny sharp tooth at the end of his beak while still in the shell. "He hits the shell repeatedly until it cracks open. This takes a long time and requires a lot of tenacity. Sometimes well-meaning people try to help by breaking open the shell. When that happens, often the eaglet dies." We too, need the experience of struggle as we learn self- control to develop a healthy maturity.
There are really so many good points in this book, it is hard to pick just a few to mention in a review, but I appreciated the things Joyce writes about assuming personal responsibility, about inner healing versus emotional healing, and dealing with self-pity. The chapters on forgiveness and emotional stability are very good too. I like to hope they will save some people a lot of heartache and pain, and show them the way out of their intense hurt.
But then, the parts on depression, although blunt as a surgeon's scapel, could bring about wonders for some folks I know too! It may take some humility and a real desire to come out of depression, but if a reader wants to deal in truth, the counsel here is bound to help.
A lot of North American writers dwell only on the aspect of handling guilt, which doesn't wash in the middle eastern culture that is shame-based. I've only recently come across books like Honor and Shame by Roland Muller, which show that to reach shame-based people we need a different approach. And yet, Christ's words are already in the Bible, ones that minister to this mind-set.
Meyer's chapters on addiction and co-dependency are interesting. I would define co-dependency a little differently, but the range and the things she says about addictions are quite helpful.
A new thought to me, was her suggestion that Satan is out to get the child. Sure enough, a look at the Bible shows that all through Scripture many attempts were made to destroy or prevent the birth of children. Joyce Meyer says Satan is also out to destroy the child within us! That's why so many of us do not have joy. We can't delight in simple pleasures or have fun. - I never thought of it that way, but I suspect she's right.
We need to unstop the wells, let life and laughter flow and be refreshed even while we refresh those around us. This only comes when we have our emotions under control, and submit to Christ.
Years ago, I once told the Lord that I would know I was healed of some deep wounds when singing would bubble up inside of me. That has begun to happen at times, so I must be nearing this final level of healed emotions.