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When my kids were toddlers, my husband and I were getting ready to go on a date. Parents with small children will know that this is a rare treat.
As we were getting ready, my daughter, who was about 3 or 4, said to me, “Mama, what’s a date? And why can’t I come?”
“A date,” I said, “is when mommy and daddy spend time alone together.”
In response, she stomped her foot indignantly and said, “Well that’s not fair! You guys are having all the fun! You’re gonna have a great time eating lollipops and cheese without me!”
Apparently, my daughter’s idea of a great time was eating lollipops and cheese without any kids around. Whoo! Now wouldn’t that be a hot date!
My daughter had this fear that she was missing out on something. In her mind, she was imagining all the fun things we were doing. The things she might not get to experience. Meanwhile…those things were not based on reality.
There’s an expression that people sometimes use – FOMO.
It stands for the Fear Of Missing Out.
It’s a fear, anxiety, or insecurity people feel when they think they might be missing out on an exciting experience or opportunity. It’s often felt while scrolling social media. We see that our childhood friend is having a baby. Our college buddy is travelling to another exotic destination. Our cousin is recommending a trendy café downtown. Our co-worker is going to a party.
Sometimes we see another person doing something that seems fun, or exciting, or novel, and all of a sudden our lives seem boring. We feel discontent. We think that other people’s lives are better than our own. As if a post on Facebook represents a person’s life.
The fear of missing out can cause us to seek experiences. Sometimes good ones, but many times it causes us to seek experiences that aren’t helpful, or in line with God’s will.
A party we should have skipped. A relationship that seemed better than being alone. A purchase that wasn’t wise.
Sometimes we think that if we go searching…go wandering off God’s path for us, we can find joy….and fulfillment.
But let me tell you something. It is God who gives joy and fulfillment. You can search for all eternity long and find there is none like Him.
John 15:9-11 says,
9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
Sometimes it might seem like the path to joy is apart from God. There are many of us who hate to feel constrained or limited. As if God’s commands are keeping us from experiencing fun and adventurous options. But Jesus tells us that our joy is actually found within God’s will. That his “limitations” are in fact keeping us on the path to complete joy.
Wouldn’t it be something if we had a fear of missing out on what GOD had for us? What if our only concern was missing out on all the things that God had planned for our lives.
God has so much that he wants to give us. He is full of abundant life. He loves to give good gifts to his children. He has joy he wants to put in your heart. He has mercy to pour out on you. He has healing that he wants to bring you.
There are many experiences to be had but not all bring joy – at least not in the long run.
Let’s stop wandering my friends. Let’s stop worrying about missing out on worldly things and let’s start looking for what God has to offer.
If your heart is seeking something fresh and exciting and new and freeing, then seek God.
Only then will your joy be made complete!
Prayer: God, I don’t want to miss out on a single thing you have for me. I know you are the true source of joy and fulfillment. So, help me to remain in you. Let my path be your path.
I trust you, God. I trust that you have my best interests in mind. I trust that you love me and that if I surrender to you, I will experience everything I’m meant to. I bring you my discontentment in exchange for a new perspective. Let me experience you in a fresh way. Let my joy be made complete in you. Amen.
– Pastor Jessie Knight