Back in November there was a workshop for Hope*Writers. In the summer when I got the information about the workshop, I was in such a poor health and financial situation that I knew it wasn’t going to be feasible to go this time around.
Knowing I wouldn’t be able to meet my writer friends in real life was a hard pill to swallow, but when I made the decision to instead purchase the online pass to watch the conference recordings I knew it was the right choice.
Fast forward a few months to the weekend of the conference. As I laid in bed in pain on the days my writer friends were meeting each other and delving into teaching that would spur them on in their callings, I was jealous.
I was frustrated and angry that a party was going on and I was stuck at home watching it from afar in a highlight reel on social media. It was another situation where I was invited, but I couldn’t go. This seems to be a common occurrence in my chronically ill life. If you have a chronic illness, you can probably relate!
As I scrolled through Instagram and Facebook on the days of the Hope*Writers Workshop, I grew discontent with my current life situation. I was tired of being sick. I didn’t want to miss out on fun and on learning the skills I needed to continue in my calling to write. Sure, I would eventually watch the conference recordings, but it wouldn’t be the same as being there in person. There’s energy and excitement that comes from connecting in person that can’t be replicated through online avenues.
That weekend, I got real with God about how I felt.
I prayed about how I wasn’t just missing out on the conference that weekend, but I was missing out on life.
I wasn’t able to live the life I thought I was supposed to be living. My existence for close to a year now has been a routine of going from work (when I am well enough) to home during weekdays and then lying in bed or on the couch and attempting to go to church on the weekends. I rarely make plans; I’m in constant survival mode.
It works out that writing is one of my favorite things to do because it helps to pass the time and uplift my spirit (as long as brain fog isn’t too bad).
When I prayed about this feeling of missing out on life, God brought to mind Psalm 84:11 which says,
For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.
I was reminded that my existence of being sick with chronic Lyme Disease and having to miss out on opportunities did not mean that God was withholding good from me.
This Psalm can remind us that God does protect us and guide us. He gives favor. And, He does not withhold any good thing from those who walk uprightly (from those who love Him and seek Him).
If you have put your faith in Christ and are following Him, then God is truly working for your good (Romans 8:28).
I was reminded that when we’re seeking God, we aren’t missing out on anything.
Being home with debilitating pain isn’t keeping me from my life. It is where God has my life right now, even if it isn’t pleasant or what I would have chosen.
It can be hard to wrap our minds around the fact that good could come from our pain. It’s doesn’t always make sense, and we may never know the purpose of our pain on this side of eternity.
But, here’s what I do know. God is faithful. He does love us and is working for the good of those who love Him.
So, instead of focusing on what I’m missing right now, I choose to focus on what I do have and what God is doing in my life. Through illness, I have come to know God in a greater way. I have a real hope in Christ and am learning how we can come together to encourage each other in our struggles with chronic illness.
Not being able to do things we’d like to do or that others are doing can be disappointing, but I hope each of us will remember that we’re not really missing out when we’re trusting in Christ.
Even though it’s something I have to choose over and over again, I am choosing not to fear missing out. Instead, I am choosing to embrace the place God has me right now.
How about you? Have you ever experienced the fear of missing out? How do you handle it? Share in the comments below!