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It won't surprise anyone who knows me well to hear this, but I am definitely a realist. I'm rarely optimistic (in fact, the optimism I possess is a learned trait, and it has taken years of discipline to gain what little I have), and if I am going to lean one way or the other, my natural bent is pessimism.

I think it's the scientist in me. I dissect, I analyze, I examine the facts, and when anything becomes overwhelming, I simply remove all emotion and make a judgement based on what is in front of me, not how I feel about it.

While this can be (and is in so many ways!) one of my greatest strengths, especially in a crisis, it is also one of my biggest downfalls. On Monday I'll share more, but for today, let me just say that the past 8 weeks have been some of the hardest for me, and in almost every way what I was experiencing was entirely outside of my control.

When I looked at the reality of my situation on paper, the black and white facts of what I was experiencing, there was no joy. It sucked. It plain, outright, flat-out sucked. But the thought of settling for survival through what I was feeling instead of thriving through it (as had been my plan going into it) made me angry. Which made my symptoms worse, which made me more pessimistic.

It took wrestling with my thoughts and facing a very scary moment of almost-depression for me to realize that I was expecting too much of myself. I didn't need to be a super-woman, conquering everything with laughter and grace. I did need to be someone who honestly accepted where I was, then looked for the little glimpses of joy that are there, every day, if we fight to see them.

And it was a fight. Many days I failed. But slowly, I started to succeed more and more, until I found myself feeling like myself again. Excited, hopeful, and determined. So I would like to encourage you, Reader, to accept where you are, invite Christ into it, and look for the joy, because it's there somewhere. We just might have to fight to see it.

"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland"

- Isaiah 43:19 -

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