Reviewed by PHILIPPA ORAEGBU
Title: The Confident Woman.
Author: Joyce Meyer
Publisher: Zondervan Publishing House
Date of Publication: September, 2006.
If you are conversant with christian literature, you must have come across Joyce’s books. She’s a well-known writer and best selling author of many inspirational books. Many of her books (which include Battlefield of the Mind, and How to Hear From God) have greatly impacted many lives.
We may assume that Joyce has a lot to say here; her going through and coming out of a period of abuse and disappointment gives her a kind of perspective on life issues that may be considered helpful. Here, she deals with vital material: confidence.
“A woman has to be twice as good as a man to go half as far”- so says Fannie Hurst. This doesn’t imply that a woman is no good, without abilities and significance. It simply encapsulates the environment of a world in which women are faced with great hurdles and challenges; In such a world, there’s definitely a need for courage. Joyce shares her experience of shattered confidence as a result of all she’s been through while growing up. Having been reformed by God’s restorative power, she offers her understanding of Gods view of women (“God never intended for women to be less than men in anyone’s estimation”), portraying their significance in the ministry. She offers her interpretation of the ever controversial statement made by Apostle Paul in 1Cor. 14 and 1Tim. 2. She describes the Proverbs 31 woman, highlighting ten steps to being a confident woman and further giving ten examples of women who surmounted limitations, doing so courageously. The later chapters of the book also exposes the enemy of confidence – fear- and how a woman can beat back its hold-seizing advance upon her life. Joyce says that “courage is not the absence of fear but action in the presence of fear”- and encourages the reader to “get the job done” even when in a fear-inspiring situation (reminiscent of an advice she gives in her Battlefield of the Mind).
The book relays an important message to every woman who has been under the bushel of fear, abuse or other difficult situations: to let the fire be a refiner, a thing that makes tough, instead of a paralyzing agent.
However, the use of examples and stories to emphasize and drive home certain points appears excessive, and may bore certain readers. Another point of criticism (a more serious point of contention, I think) is the focus upon building up the self. But while it is true that a self-centered gospel is not biblical, I believe this book gives a different kind of exhortation. It calls for courage, and courage is a very Christian virtue.
To every woman out there: this is a book you should lay your hands on. Its worth the read, even if you’re not a big fan of Joyce’s books. After all, courage is, like I said, a very Christian virtue.