I lost something but found something else

I’m a romantic. There’s no way around it.

I like to think through feeling. It’s how I come to conclusions. Good reflection is a healthy combination of critical thinking and understanding your emotions.

Sickness takes so much from you, but it can also give a lot. It takes your energy. It gives you perspective. It takes long-term plans. It gives you new segments of community.

I lost something I thought mattered. I found what really matters.

I love the entertainment era in which we’re living.

Netflix. Hulu. Spotify. Amazon TV. More movies and television shows than at any other point. More music than at any other point.

Instagram. Snapchat. YouTube. More ways to find creators and inspiring content.

I’m all-in on those platforms, to a fault. The guilt of not posting enough — “building your brand” — can be draining because my day-to-day life doesn’t feel social-worthy. When I am in pictures, putting on the best outfit that cost hundreds of dollars is unnoticeable. Comparing life in my mid-20s to a fictional character from my favorite movie or television show is meaningless.

It’s the 21st century version of Keeping Up with the Joneses.

And when life is suddenly thrown into chaos, when the one thing I’ve never questioned, the one thing that has become a virtual afterthought — my health — is no longer a given, I was forced to examine your priorities.

When I realized cancer could recur at any moment and there’s not a thing I could do about it, my mind was all of a sudden opened to contentment.

In the aftermath of dealing with a major health crisis, I no longer wake up each day thinking the grass has to be greener on the other side. It doesn’t matter as much to me to have the latest gadget. I don’t long for the most expensive clothes.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m lacking in nothing. But I’m okay with where I am at 26. I still have ambition. I still dream massive dreams. But to drive to a place I love working, being around people I thoroughly enjoy, living near family and friends … it’s all a gift.

I saw the Lord’s provision today.

Last night, I wrote about how I’ve felt a lot this year that I’ve wasted this struggle. We were joined by a friend of Shades in staff meeting this morning who spoke to us about perseverance. About being still enough to hear God in the midst of persevereance.

Our hardship isn’t meaningless. It has a purpose. All of it. And it doesn’t have to be burdensome. I can find joy in the trial because, like we see in James, facing trials tests our faith. The testing of our faith produces perseverance.

And that’s joyful.