by Joanie Butman
BFF, BTW, LOL, TTYLThis isn’t an eye exam but an example of the younger generation’s preferred method of communication – AKA textese. Years ago at the suggestion of a family therapist, I reluctantly embraced texting to improve my relationship with my kids. This simple piece of advice may have cost me $250, but it was money well spent. What I wasn’t prepared for was the occasional hilarious misunderstandings due to my lack of fluency with their lingo. For example, POS to a teenager might mean Parent over Shoulder but to my parent’s generation it might mean Peed on Sofa!
My daughter used the term FOMO recently in reference to someone. Hesitantly (because I’m not always sure I want to know the translation*), I asked her for an explanation. Urban Dictionary describes FOMO as the fear that if you miss a party or event, you will miss out on something great. I laughed out loud (LOL). Unknowingly, she had just diagnosed my spiritual dilemma, but it’s not a party I’m afraid of missing. It’s God’s calling for me (Spiritual Fear of Missing Out). I don’t want to miss out on any of God’s blessings. Is there such a thing as spiritual greediness? I doubt it because wanting more is exactly where God wants us.
Other than my dread of the dark, I’ve never been a fearful person with one exception. My biggest concern as a Christian has always been the fear of missing out on God’s plan for me because I’m too busy doing my own thing. The only reason I divulge this fact is to illustrate the following Godspeak moment. I’m always curious to discover how God speaks to people, and I don’t think I’m alone. It helps me learn to listen to Him better.
Regardless, my Godspeak moment began when I attended a service with a friend and was encouraged to go up for prayer – something light years out of my comfort zone. At my friend’s insistence, I trudged to the front and sheepishly explained that I didn’t have a ‘specific’ prayer request. Like any true FOMO, I was there because I saw how my friend was transformed, and I wanted some of the same purpose and joy infused into my life. People attend this service for healing of all kinds. It must have seemed odd for someone to present themselves with no obvious appeal for prayer. Everyone assumes I attend healing services for my health, but that’s the least of my issues. My spiritual discontent is far more threatening.
Keep in mind, I’d never met these people before. With the exception of maybe two people, I’ve never even shared my spiritual FOMO with anyone. How could I? I didn’t even know there was a name for it. Led by the assistant pastor, this group of three prayed fervently over me for a few minutes. Before I turned to leave, the pastor commented, “I don’t know what this means, but the message I got for you is that you haven’t missed it.” I was stunned. Not knowing the backstory, he couldn’t appreciate the import of that communiqué, but I certainly did. I may have stepped out of my comfort zone, but I clearly stepped into God’s. I suppose in the vernacular of my youth I had just received this response, “Ixnay on the FOMOfay.”
Getting spiritually stuck is not uncommon and happens to the most stalwart Christians at some point. There are many choice points in your life when you feel prodded to embrace a new calling. Even so, that restlessness doesn’t necessarily mean you have clarity as to what that calling might be. Wouldn’t it be so much easier if we could just text the Divine? WTP (What’s the Plan?) Come to think of it, WWJD was around long before cell phones. In fact, Christians (like seniors) have their own texting jargon. One website dubbed it Chris†-ting. For instance, the generic definition for TTYL is Talk to You Later. The senior version is Talk to You Louder. The Christian translation is Talk to Your Lord.
A direct connection to God would surely speed things up when it comes to communication. However, speed is not His MO. It is during the waiting time that He does His best work preparing you for whatever comes next. As I was reminded this week yet again by a humble, faith-filled pastor, God often speaks through others. So if you are at a loss in discerning what your newest calling is, choose to seek the fellowship of other Christians for prayer, guidance and encouragement.
I will leave you with his most haunting piece of advice, "If your calling doesn't terrify you, it's probably not from God. God wants you totally dependent on Him." I guess that would make me a DOG (Dependent on God). Woof!
*Also referred to as DWTK or IIB (Don’t Want To Know or Ignorance is Bliss)