I have a tendency to live in a state of FOMO: fear of missing out. Missing whatever everyone else is enjoying so very much and I’m not part of it. Fear of missing the call, missing the opportunity, longing for something other than what I have in this time, this moment, this season of life.
This fear has collided with my generally optimistic view of life again and again. And I suspect I’m not alone in this. Social media doesn’t help. Here’s a typical scenario, maybe it will sound familiar: Scrolling through your feed (Facebook, Instagram, whatever), you stumble across a post of your friends out having a lovely time. Without you. You WERE perfectly happy reading in your back yard and enjoying an iced tea, or curled up by the fireplace with coffee and Netflix. In that moment, what you’re missing rips the focus off the blessing you already have, snatching away your contentment. You question why you aren’t part of something else. Why you are in the place and time where you find yourself. And you wilt away from your happy place that was so lovely moments before. *sigh*
But. In the midst of that scenario, I miss the blessing. I miss my assignment. I miss the joy of here and now because I’m longing for there and then. This is true not just in social situations, missing out on a fun time with friends, but when you see others making an impact for God that you aren’t part of, or achieving things you can’t do, or seeing success you haven’t yet seen.
I have struggled over the past months with God’s path and timing for what He is calling me to do. Since chronic illness pulled me from my job almost 2 years ago, I’ve wrestled with my identity, my purpose, and what I need to be spending myself on. At times the path God calls me to has been very clear to me: as I served my family, as I ministered to my elderly mom, as I prepared to move from California to Texas. Despite those places of clarity, I’ve still been pulled all over the place in the fun-house inside my head with the question of whether I’m reaching enough people with my writing, with not currently speaking anywhere, with my Facebook author page, etc. Ugh.
I’ve prayed about this and tried to listen to God since the beginning of the year, and here’s what He has told me unequivocally:
Do what’s right in front of you.
Be grateful and joyous in the who, what, and where that God has placed right in front of you. Be present.
Instead of worrying about having the farthest reach possible in this world, instead of worrying that everyone else has a more meaningful (or more fun) life than you have, know that God has placed you where you are, surrounded by certain people and certain circumstances, because He wants you to look at what’s right in front of you to make a a difference RIGHT THERE.
As I begin to wrap my head around this, a weight seems to lift from me. I don’t have to take it ALL on (as we women tend to attempt and then fail gloriously on a routine basis), I just need to do what’s right in front of me.
Does “right in front of me” mean there isn’t a larger mission? Bigger opportunities? More places to stretch? No, but it does mean I need to focus on the next step even as I dream big about the seed God has planted in my heart.
This absolutely doesn’t mean running blindly ahead, blundering hard without a plan in place and just seeing where the day takes you in every aspect of life. Having a general plan and structure in how you work life is pretty vital to me, she who loves to make lists. And she who adds things she’s already done to said lists that weren’t originally ON the list, just so she can cross them off. Ahem. Focusing on what’s right in front of me means walking through life with eyes wide open and intentionally looking for what God places before you, your assignments for the minute, hour, day, week.
A couple of examples: If you have a heart to feed people across the world, start feeding the person that is right in front of you (in your home, in your community, on the street corner by Target). God put them there for a reason. If you have a heart to write a book or speak, start writing about what God is putting right in front of you. God put it there for a reason, and the people who are in your sphere of influence need to hear it or read it.
What’s right in front of you is the BEGINNING of the path. NOT the end. Small seeds grow in to huge trees. But they don’t grow at all if they’re not planted.
This whole concept may sound way too simple, but I am working through this and unpacking it a bit as I listen and pray. In next week’s blog, I will outline a few areas of “what’s in front of you” that God is shining a light on in this season.
I would love to hear how this resonates with you! Please comment below! God’s blessing until next week!