We’ve all heard this silly yet truthful term, F.O.M.O., fear of missing out. How many of us can say with full honesty that we have not felt this at one time or another throughout the course of our life? Whether it be through social media posts of friends enjoying a nice evening out or their precious little feet dug in the sand, we have this feeling of what we must be missing because we are not there!
This feeling, while legit, is just one very small facet of what is going on, what is real.
I have found myself bobbing in and out of content-ness like a fishing bobber waiting to be tugged under water. I coast along the surface of the water feeling seen, grateful in full presence with life and all it has to offer…then…drop. Below the surface I go, inside a big fishes mouth, plunging to the deep darkness of my own mind, my own insecurities, my own fears. Down here in the cold, dark water I feel alone, unworthy and damaged. I feel shame for my lack of contentment and need for ‘more’. More time, more stuff, more life. Just as I start to get comfortable in the darkness of the fishes belly, he realizes I’m just a bobber and he spits me out, where I resurface for a breath of air, before being taken down again.
Can you relate to this? This up and down emotion of motherhood, marriage, life? Where you feel like you are coasting and surviving, just to be slapped by a dose of darkness that leaves you feeling empty? I am still in the throws of trying to navigate these bumpy waters and find those calm coves where I can swim among the happy fish. Where are these happy fish? I turn more into the church, surely this is where they are. Then I jump into the pond of volunteer work, these fish must be happy..until they aren’t. I overcompensate as a mom, a wife, a friend…but still, I can’t seem to find the perfect place, where I fit…all of me.
Reading is a new pleasure of mine that has quickly become my therapy, my happy place. I have the best reading chair, and it’s not because it’s that huge over-sized comfy chair (I do long for this), it’s the location of it. It’s in my front room that feels most calming to me. It’s small, quaint with photos of my family and furniture from decades past. I look at a typewriter that may be from the 20’s with a fresh pot of mums flourishing beside it. I open the window ever so slightly to let the fall air seep through and I nestle myself into the deep corners of the chair. This has become my spot. Where I find rest, reality, relaxation. I read inspiring words that fill me with truth and inspire the very words I am typing right now. I feel like this is the essence of writing, to be inspired and then to let your fingers pour it all out. I love this small, happy, kind space that I can call my own and be my own. This I will never miss out on because this space I have created for me.
I’m learning as the years pass and my babies grow that time will not slow down and if anything it feels like it’s speeding up. Vacations come and go, with hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars spent and the fear of missing out still exists. We buy the house, get the car, find the friends and become the church, but still….longing? Longing for something, anything to feel known, seen and alive. What if these things don’t come from people, places or possessions? What if these things come from the center of our core, deep down inside where we were knit together in our mother’s womb? What if these things come from God?
Then I need to get to work.
I need to stop the rat race of playing catch up, keep up and begin to look up. Look up to Him, the one who knows all and is all. The one who knew each and every insecurity before it ever reached our brain. The one who equipped us to overcome it, beat it, survive it. I need to pray, be honest and be still. I need to be present with my thoughts and hold them captive. The thoughts I tell myself in the deep dark waters of a fishes belly are the thoughts of fear that want to take me down and keep me in the trenches. It’s when the fish realizes I’m not dinner and spits me back to the surface that I have been given strength to try again. To be honest. To be real.
Fear of missing out is not just a catch phrase, it’s a dark longing for something that doesn’t exist. There is not a magical marriage, trip or number of children that will fill that deep void inside your soul. This soul work comes from the one who created us, made us and calls us to love. Loving ourselves, loving others. Loving well. Loving us with a slower schedule, still quiet moments, spontaneous baking/crafting/exploring.
Today this looks like me sitting in my quiet space reading, typing and then going. I have given myself one day a week that I make no plans. No agenda. No schedule. If someone calls and attempts to cram this day of the week with their plans, agenda, schedule, I politely say ‘no’…that day is full. Full for life, opportunity, time. Time for me, my children, my husband, my nothingness. This day can become a movie day around the TV, a hike down a trail, a stroll through hobby lobby (fall has hit and this is my favorite thing ever…even if I can’t buy anything), baking something amazing for my family or just simply being here, still.
I most definitely do not have this whole thing figured out, in fact, I am just resurfacing from the trenches of that fishes belly that swallowed me down last night. It’s this moment of fresh air that I am gasping in to help guide me to calmer waters. To take me to a cove and park me. While this may be a temporary moment that has allowed perspective and grace to cleanse me, I will take it, own it and live it.
Today I will survive and not fear missing out but fear missing this. This life, this chance to be love and feel love. That my friends is His only will for all of us. Love Him and love others. That’s it. End of story.