fighting back with joy

fight-back-with-joyI just finished reading Margaret Feinberg’s latest book, Fight Back with Joy: Celebrate More. Regret Less. Stare Down Your Greatest Fears.

It’s not an easy read. Margaret writes in raw, painful, moving detail about her cancer diagnosis, chemotherapy, surgeries and radiation treatments – and her decision to fight back with joy.

I’m humbled. I cannot imagine enduring what Margaret endured, let alone choosing joy in the midst of all of that. And I’m inspired. When Margaret says it is possible to choose joy, even when every nerve ending is on fire and she is too weak to walk across the room, I have to listen.

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why not you?

Life is not fair. How’s that for stating the obvious? I had this epiphany a few weeks ago. I had been whining to a dear and trusted friend about some of the ways in which I was on the short end of that stick: not only was life not fair, but it was not being fair to me. My friend gave me the standard Christian advice: look to Jesus. He can fill those holes that mere human beings leave gaping. Which is all true, and never what I want to hear.

So on the way home, I started praying – which frequently looks a lot like yelling at my windshield. When I finally stopped to listen, the Lord simply said, “You’re right. Life is not fair.” And then He reminded me of a whole lot of other people I know whose lives are not fair. Is it fair that this one has been ill for twenty years? Or that the newlyweds found out the bride had advanced Lyme disease right before the wedding and may never have a “normal” married life? Is it fair that this one has already been a widow longer than she was married—especially after she waited so many years to get married in the first place?

I knew what He was trying to tell me: My life is no more unfair than anyone else’s—and maybe less so.

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the introvert speaks

I have always wanted to be a writer. And I knew what I wanted to write: self-help non-fiction. My first book (written entirely in my head, never on paper) was going to be titled A Pack of Lies, with the subtitle: “If you are going to tell yourself a pack of lies about yourself, make it a good one.” So when I became a Christian, I read dozens, if not hundreds, of Christian books – mostly “spiritual growth” (i.e. Christian self-help non-fiction) and apologetics.

I’ve come to realize that mine is a very intellectual faith. I’m not passionately in love with Jesus; I don’t think I’ve ever been passionately in love with anyone. Ever. Not even my husband of thirty-some years (sorry, honey!). It’s just not my style. My mother told me once, “You’re too smart to be happy.” I don’t know if that is true; I do know I live my life mostly in my head.

So when it comes to matters of faith, I don’t get it. And it bothers me that I don’t get it. And I want to get it, and be able to explain it in an elegant and intellectually satisfying way, and that has been the story of my walk with Jesus.

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