I choose Rebellious Joy.

A joy that chooses to stand unwavering in the face of circumstances. That’s what joy is after all, isn’t it? A steadfastness and sureness of spirit that come what may, you remain unchanged. Your value, worth, and intactness are not determined by a diagnosis, hurt, hang up, or hardship.

A joy in which you plant both feet, face the winds head on, and smile a sweet and knowing smile that you are okay – this is okay. Your feet will remain planted no matter the strength of the surge coming at you. You are unshakeable.

But at times, you may wonder. 

Wobbly Joy

There may be a wind that comes your way when you are distracted or not expecting it. I’ve been there recently. Asa melanoma survivor skin checks and biopsies are a regular part of my healthcare routine. However, since the melanoma diagnosis I’ve had no other issues – until a couple weeks ago. Pathology results from the latest biopsy came back atypical – not melanoma but not great either. After that phone call, my joy wobbled.

The weird thing is, I felt myself tempted to wallow and bemoan the situation. With a “not melanoma” pathology and the encouragement of catching a problem early, I still managed to let it sit heavy. Sure, heavy feelings can co-exist with a joyful disposition – because joy and toxic positivity are NOT the same thing. However, mine was getting to the point of being mutually exclusive. I was wallowing in a way that threatened to pry the joy loose from my heart and instead replace it with worry, fear, and discontent.

I dug my heels in to plant my feet firm, even when I wanted to walk away and give in to the temptation of a bad attitude. It wasn’t a perfect process. Some days, since the pathology report, I have been strong, sure and confident. Then, I’ll temporarily slip back into a place of frustration. When that happens, and I recognize it, it is time to battle my way back in pure rebellion. In pure joyful rebellion.

Rebellion and Surgery

Last week, I headed to surgery wearing my favorite yellow skirt – a color that makes me happy – and my favorite pair of summer wedge heels. During surgery I put on fuzzy socks, wore ear buds, and listened to worship music because PRAISE GOD we caught this before it was full-blown melanoma. Then, I left surgery and headed home to Zoom-meet with one of my favorite people (of course named, Joy). We enjoyed catching up, encouraging each other, and talking about the great things God is doing in New Hope Girls. For dinner, I enjoyed a delish chicken pot pie that a friend from our church family dropped off for us – which is a practical expression of love and care (Thanks, Jessica!). Then, I went with my kids to their back-to-school night. A reminder that I am blessed we caught the melanoma almost 10 years ago, which has allowed me to be present for milestones like back-to-school-night. My day was overflowing with opportunities to let gratitude wash over me, which made such beautiful space for joy.

My day also had challenges and tears. I will not write this post as if my resolve to move forward meant a flawless performance. After, I felt weepy. Later that night I was bone tired and the tears were abundant. But I’m okay with that – I find tears cleansing and healing.

Grit and Gratitude

While there is no magic formula, I do know the anecdote for a heart that has been hit with a  joy-stealing venom starts with gratitude and grit.  Gritty resolve to choose joy in a set of circumstances that prompt a human-reaction of pessimism and doubt. Eyes to see the goodness and blessings that abound, even in the darkness. In my situation, I had to commit to moving forward in truth, even if my heart felt weary and doubtful. It required acting like I felt it before I actually felt it.

In the process of rebellious joy I realized that it gives you heightened senses – it is a beautiful byproduct. My coffee was more soothing than a normal day. My yellow skirt, with the super cute scalloped edge, was more lovely than a normal day. Our kids made me giggle with incredible ease. As I got messages of support from friends and family, I felt my heart swell with love and strength. And, the air I slowly breathed in and out was more refreshing than I recalled it could be. With rebellious joy, I tapped into a heightened awareness of God’s blessing that abound – the little details that roll up into the big beautiful picture of just how great He is and how deeply He loves.

So here I am. Certain of my imperfections and struggles but committed to choose obedience in the face of adversity. A choice to be steadfast, unwavering, and sure of God’s goodness – and rebellious with my joy.

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