“Blessed are the tenacious, for they will eventually reach the summit,
and be able to turn and see the valleys from whence God has brought them.”
[My personal Beatitude, written in the months our church dove deep into Matthew 5.]
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I’ve long since concluded that Glorious Weakness is a book that (1) all individuals can benefit from reading, and (2) all ministry leaders can benefit from heeding.
I continue to work on writing my review where I will expand on these two notions … but I’m also having to face my own set of weaknesses in the midst of that process. One of which is occasional insomnia, which has plagued me recently.
So, last night, instead of endless cycles of tossing and turning, I got up at 1 a.m. and wrote the first draft of the mountain of material from which I’ll mine my eventual review. (The way my mind works, I write to the big picture first and then gradually sift that mass down to the essentials that will work best for the purpose at hand.) This post shares a first draft of my thoughts on why I believe everyone needs to read Alia Joy’s book.
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There are multiple reasons why everyone needs to READ Glorious Weakness, and all will benefit from it.
First of all, it’s because Alia Joy knows the wonder of words, how they draw us in. And she’s able to make the words she writes match who she sounds like live. There’s a reality and a rhythm to what she says/writes that can make us gasp as we intuitively grasp onto them as wise and wondrous. Her voice is powerful, on the page and in person.
But I think it’s Alia Joy’s “who” underneath the “what” of her words that really draws us in. And she is “a Namer”–that’s her superpower, and it’s what empowers us as readers. Namers are magnetic. Listen to how many readers say, in essence, “You put into words what I was thinking/feeling/wondering, but didn’t know what to call it.”
Ever wonder how exactly that connection happens? The way I see it, Namers earn trustworthiness because they show us they’re in touch with both the bright spaces and darker corners of who they are. They share both constructive and destructive thoughts, and cognitive dissonance options they are driven to decide between. They share the highs and lows of their feelings, along with the clashing-emo of ambivalence and the no-more-mojo of apathy. They share from their imagination the paradox of self-doubts versus high hopes, and how those seeming antagonisms result in tenacity in moving forward, even if in baby-steps of perseverance.
But they don’t just state these things, as if they’re sterile abstractions. No, Namers concretely embody all those ebbs and flows of being human in the vulnerable form of personal experience. So, whether we come to them for the concepts or the stories, we’re there, we’re listening, we’re gaining insights into our own soul and spirit, heart and will, by tracking how Namers externalize what they process.
Ultimately we’re empathizing with parallels between our lives and theirs, wherein we realize we’re not so very different after all. It’s that ah-ha moment captured in that amazing line scripted by William Nicholson for the movie Shadowlands, where one of C.S. Lewis’ students says, “We read to know we’re not alone.”
Have you endured the weakness of living in poverty?
Are you even now living in the stress of stretching from paycheck-to-paycheck?
Have you experienced discrimination due to race or gender, or some other demographic?
Do problems of physical or mental health drag you down?
Are ongoing trauma and triggering from sexual abuse or other violence in the past plaguing you in the present?
Alia Joy lets you know you’re not alone.
Maybe you relate with none of these concerns—maybe with all of them. If you are a survivor of any, then you’ve found a Namer who can validate and amplify what’s long been in your heart. If you are a survivor of none, then Glorious Weakness gives you a uniquely valuable gift of being able to listen from the theatre seats while she vulnerably shares from the stage. Either way, your world will be rocked by the depth of empathy you discover therein.
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To pre-order Glorious Weakness, or to download a sample of the book, you’ll find links on Alia Joy’s webpage.
Meanwhile, check out Alia joy’s most recent blog post, “Weakness At Its Most Wondrous: Strength,” and feel how spring is peeking through.