Opportunities, Feb. 13th
I have been struggling lately with Fear of Missed Opportunities, known to some professionals as FOMO. I wonder whether I should take a job while in LA, if I should work part-time or full-time here for a few months or if I would miss out on too many interactions with friends who I might not see again for a couple years. Every decision to spend time with someone seems to cost something else, either stress on us from all the driving or missed opportunities for quality time with others. And then there is the ever-present concern that we are spending our 30’s in ways that we’ll regret in the future. No house, no kids, not much of a retirement plan. I really wrestled with God about some of these issues. But our calling as cross-cultural full-time missionary professionals has never been more clear. “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them.” He reminded me from 2 Timothy 3:14. I have been so encouraged and challenged lately by the writings of Paul as he penned his heartfelt letters during his final imprisonment. “No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops.” (Tim 2:4-6). I always wondered at how Paul simply told Timothy that he should think on those sayings and then he would understand them. They seem so real to me now. I can’t live the way that so many Americans, and even so many Africans live. We’ve been called to dedicate ourselves wholeheartedly to Kingdom-building. I like the imagery of athletics, I can relate to it. Just like the soldier puts on the full armor, athletes stretch and sprint and train and lift weights, even their food and their social life is influenced so that they can run a race such that they could receive a prize. I have personally started thinking of prayer like stretching – helps stabilize you and prevent torn muscles. And I suppose this time of life is like a marathon, or a tempo part of a much longer run. Sure, with the aerobic activity comes a bit of pain, muscle fibers tearing down so that they can build up stronger. That’s the phase we’re in right now, I think. Nothing compared to Paul and the early Christians, but part of the great plan that connects us all in God’s service. There is no missed opportunity on this earth that could possibly compare to the ability to say, at the end, I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.