It was Sunday afternoon when the facetime call came in from overseas. “Hey, how are you?!” she said with a smile. Out of what seemed like nowhere my chest tightened and tears welled up in my eyes. “Not so good,” I blurted out as though someone else had taken control of my body. That’s not what I wanted to say but it was the truth and in this safe space that was my friend’s presence I was suddenly falling apart.
Gen 32:24-30 (ESV) “And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. 25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28 Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
I had been silently wrestling with God for two weeks and losing; that’s what it felt like. I was suffering from a major case of FOMO (fear of missing out) and it was showing. My joy of being in the moment and gratitude for where I am was muscled out by anxiety and ingratitude around where I was not.
James 4:1-3 (WE) Why do you fight and quarrel? It is because your feelings are fighting inside of you. That is why you fight.2 You want something but you cannot get it. Then you kill. You want something very much and cannot get it. So you quarrel and fight. You do not get it because you do not ask God for it.3 You ask for it, but you do not get it, because you ask in a wrong way. You want to use it for yourselves and not for others.
In moments when I feel lonely or long for something not yet meant for me, I feel a pull for attention and validation in unhealthy proportions. Wanting to be wanted is a real thing. It can show up anywhere, at any time. When it does, I look to satisfy the feeling with validation at work, from friends and even from my workouts. When this longing feeling shows up, whatever form it may be in that given moment, I am unwilling to relent until the feeling is satisfied. When I feel like I’m missing out I start to fight God for what I think I deserve, instead of turning to God for comfort. I need a reset.
Not that I’ll go down without a fight. I can dig my heels so deep into to wanting my own way, that it turns me completely inward and blinds me to the needs and wants of others. This is where I fail to be the woman I desire to be and child God wants to comfort. In these moments it’s this stubbornness that disables the re-set button all together. It took all my strength to sit and fight to hear the voice of the minister over the anger, disappointment and entitlement raging in my own head. This Sunday the message came and it was a message I so desperately needed to hear and one that God was sending through the books I was reading, the conversations I was having and now the message I was hostile to receiving.
“Don’t let stubbornness destroy the life you do have” – Elizabeth Laing Thompson
Those words settled with heft on my heart.
Philip 2:1-2 “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
One way to combat my stubbornness and my entitlement is gratitude. FOMO makes me lose sight of what I have and the abundance of it. Instead of living in the moment my stubbornness is literally destroying what I have. It blinds me to the comforting love of Christ because His love isn’t enough in that moment. It skews my perspective. It turns me inward instead of outward.
Psalm 37:7 “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him”
In worship I accept God’s will, even if I don’t understand it, like it, and wouldn’t choose it. We are all waiting on something in life, the career advancement, the guy or girl, the baby, etc. The waiting gets hard and when loneliness or fear kicks in or gets triggered by some social media FOMO I have to check it or I will not be able to wait on God’s direction and instead will act impulsively in my own self interest, which won’t bring God glory nor me any satisfaction.
God bonds with me at the cost of His son’s death. When I know I belong to someone who loves me this much, it gives me the strength to let go and really reset.
Psalm 46:1-2 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear”