It took me most of the week to make yesterday a good day. That’s right. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were pretty much swing and miss days. Thankfully I think I got a piece of Wednesday so I wasn’t a complete strike-out and had another chance. Thursday was no Babe Ruth home run but it got me on base.
On Monday I began the first sermon in a series by Mark Driscoll called The Rebel’s Guide to Joy. There’s ten or twelve of them and I figured I would do well by learning about joy this week. I was very brave and kind to people on the bus and to people at Crossfit and to my classmates. And then Roger and I went home and made dinner, joyful and kind. And then I started a fight and joy did not matter. And kindness did not matter. And logic certainly did not matter. This was war and I was going to win. Wars aren’t joyful! Wars are serious. So I pulled him into battle and regretted every second of it the next day. Swing and miss.
On Tuesday I stayed home and studied and worked on the Great Nurse Practitioner Job Hunt. I also decided that one sermon hadn’t done the job and apparently I needed more so I listened to The Rebel’s Guide to Joy in Poverty and the Rebel’s Guide to Joy in Humility. Now I don’t think I am impoverished but I could still relate. The humility part just kicked me in the pants. In fact, I was so inspired that I cooked a beautiful dinner and set a romantic table to make amends for Monday’s miss. It was a decent day but since we were still licking our wounds and doing a careful war dance around one another, I can’t call it a win.
Wednesday hobbled along with the help of The Rebel’s Guide to Joy in Suffering and in Death. There’s a one-two combo for you. But I have to hand it to Mr. Driscoll, he pulled it off. Once again, I was grateful in a crazy and weird way for the suffering I experienced through Mom’s cancer and death. I’m not grateful for the actual suffering and death. I’m thankful for the way I found joy in Jesus when there was no joy to be found anywhere else. These sermons reminded me to look back and then look forward with joy and bravery. Which I did until I decided that I missed my Mom an awful lot and decided that being grouchy and sensitive and overreacting to minor events would distract me from this. In all humility, let me tell you, this is a false idea. Another miss.
Thursday dawned with the regret of the irrational wife. But the Rebel’s Guide to Anxiety was on the playlist and I decided it couldn’t hurt. But it did hurt a bit. It crushed my pride, convicted me in a major way, and opened my eyes to a lie I have believed for a long time. Anxiety is not a condition to be managed. It is a sin to be repented of. Now, Pastor Mark admitted, and as a healthcare provider, I wholeheartedly agree, that there are chemical imbalances and true disorders that are conditions. But your average, run-of-the-mill anxiety that leads to your(my) above average, burn-down-the-mill freak-outs is a sin. Jesus tells us to let our gentleness and reasonableness be evident to all as we refuse to be anxious about anything but instead lift our requests, give thanks, and rejoice. When I am anxious, it takes a tiny event to send me into freak-out mode and if I am there, I can say and do what I want because I am ANXIOUS. You want me to be reasonable?! Gentle?! Are you kidding me?! Just wait right there, I am going to freak out and then I can be reasonable. But this is so wrong. And I want to change.
So I meditated on this over the course of the day. I shelved anxiety and chose joy on purpose. That evening Roger and I had a long beach walk and a long talk over picnic dinner about the future and God’s goodness to us. We both did some repenting and some changing. We both had a win. We even saw five satellites. Those are better than shooting stars, right? And we made a plan for the weekend to choose joy and to create change. We don’t want the run-of-the-mill. We want the extraordinary.
Crazy little rebels.