fear, surrender

Fear of Missing Out

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My schedule had ballooned, leaving me fighting for air. Though I managed to juggle all the demands and responsibilities bombarding me each day, I made numerous errors. I epitomized the phrase, “Jack of all trades but master of none.”

Or perhaps that’d be better phrased as “Doer of all but proficient in few.”

My joy, peace, and relationship with Christ was suffering. In my constant rush to tackle one task after the other, my prayer time had shifted from treasured and protected soul care to something I squeezed into my already rushed day, out of guilt and obligation rather than a desire to genuinely connect with my Savior.

Though I claimed God’s sovereignty over my present and future, my schedule and mistakes—my choices, my will—became my God.

If I did X, Y would happen. If I failed to do C, D would never occur. And if I stepped down from a certain role that, potentially, led to promotion, my life’s dreams would be irrevocably derailed.

In other words, when I evaluated the root of my busyness, it came down to this: Fear of missing out. Fear that if I said no to a particular opportunity, I was potentially robbing myself of something good that could lead to something even better.

My fight for control and fear of missing out, of in some way hindering God’s very good plans for me, revealed deep-seated, faulty views of God.My fight for control and fear of missing out, of in some way hindering God’s very good plans for me, revealed deep-seated, faulty views of God. Click To Tweet

Either I believed He was sovereign or I didn’t. And if I did, then I didn’t need to stress over the small stuff or my ever-changing circumstances. Instead, I’d rest in the One who walks beside me, stands behind me, goes before me, and holds me secure.

Either I believed He was supreme and worthy of all my praise, or I didn’t. If I did, then I’d recognize that everything I engage in or pursue on earth is but a shadow of what God has prepared for me. I’d remember how insufficient temporary pleasures were in filling my deepest needs and heart’s desire.

My schedule revealed my priorities—my true gods. But perhaps most convicting, my stress and fears revealed what I truly believed about God, His heart, and ability to care for me.

That realization empowered me to make changes. I analyzed my thought processes and the things that caused anxiety in light of truth, and I asked God to center me in reality.

Text pulled from postHere’s reality—God is in control. 1 Chronicles 29:11-12 says , speaking of God, “Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all. In Your hand are power and might, and in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all” (ESV).

Because God is bigger than any obstacle or setback I might face, and no matter how things might appear today, in the end, He wins.Because God is bigger than any obstacle or setback I might face, and no matter how things might appear today, in the end, He wins. Click To Tweet

Let’s talk about this! Do you struggle with a fear of missing or disrupting God’s plans for you? How might focusing on obedience help you find peace in the uncertainties and abundance of opportunities assaulting you each day?

If today’s post encouraged you, make sure to watch out for Jennifer’s Faith Over Fear podcast, releasing soon by Salem Communications, during which she discusses how to overcome our fear of missing out to choose trust in Christ instead.

Hardships and Trials

When Disillusionment Steals Our Joy

 

It’s easy to allow discouragement to morph into disillusionment and for disillusionment to taint our heart, distancing us from God and blinding us to His hand. But, as my guest today shares, if we’re alert and prayerful, if we’re diligent to hold tight to truth and Christ, disillusionment can also lead to incredible growth and can provide a glorious redirection.

Quote image: God sees you

I Didn’t Think it Would be Like This.

By Donna Jones

We never saw it coming. I expected this kind of behavior from a non-believer, but from a Christian?

Never.

The gap between my expectations and my reality left my tender soul shredded into tiny little pieces, like the bits of paper you throw as confetti. Except this was no celebration. I wondered how a heart ripped to shreds could ever be whole again.

Enter disillusionment; the place where expectations and reality collide.

I remember thinking, How did this happen? Why did this happen?

I’ve heard the same sentiment echoed a thousand times by women in different circumstances: The wife whose husband walked out the door; the couple that followed God’s leading, only to be hurt by those they tried to help; the gal who battled health and financial crisis; the woman who stepped out in faith, and failed. And then there’s the mom of the toddler, the mom of the teenager, the mom of the prodigal, and the sweet gal who just wants to be a mom.

They all wrestle with the thought: I didn’t think it would be like this.

But it is.

So, what now?

 

Generally, disillusionment doesn’t happen overnight (although it can). Typically, disillusionment starts as disappointment, which leads to discouragement, which morphs into discontentment, which lands as disillusionment. Think of it like this:

Disappointment + Time = Discouragement

Discouragement + Time = Discontentment

Discontentment + Time = Disillusionment

How do you know if you’ve moved from disappointment to disillusionment?

You’ve lost hope.

You’ve checked out.

You’re desperate to control.

You’re bitter

You’re cynical.

You’re mad at God.

You’re suspicious of others.

You’ve given up on your faith, yourself, or God.

May I whisper just a few words of hope to you? You. Are. Not. The. First.

In the Bible, the prophet Elijah dealt with disillusionment. So did Sarah, the matriarch to the Jewish nation revealed in Genesis, and Job, the ancient man whose intense suffering is revealed in the Bible book bearing His name. At some point, most of us travel through the dark tunnel of disillusionment. How we deal with disillusionment determines how we come out on the other side. Click To Tweet

So how can we handle disappointment so it doesn’t morph into disillusionment, and derail us?

  1. Acknowledge Loss

It’s OK to feel sad when things don’t turn out like we hoped. Part of navigating disappointment before it becomes disillusionment is to acknowledge our loss.

During difficult seasons David, ancient Israel’s second king, poured out his heart to God. Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge” (Psalm 62:8 NIV).

1 Peter 5:7 tell us to “cast all your anxiety upon Him, for He cares for you.”

When we pour out our problems to God, God pours in His perspective to us.

If we bottle our burdens we may become convinced God doesn’t care, but if we cast our burdens we may be certain God does. Click To Tweet
  1. Examine Expectations

Disillusionment occurs when we feel something is not as good as we believed it to be. These beliefs are based on expectations.

Unexamined expectations are likely to be unrealistic expectations, and unrealistic expectations are likely to become unrealized expectations.

Unrealized expectations leave us disappointed, discouraged, discontent, and disillusioned.

When an expectation isn’t realistic, it’s easy to become disillusioned, so we must ask, “Is my expectation realistic?”

  1. Cling to Christ

When disappointment leaves us reeling, we have two choices: Run to God, or run from God. One choice brings closeness and comfort; the other choice brings distance and disillusionment.

Is it always easy to rely on God while enduring difficulty? No, it isn’t.

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But reliance on God during my storm brings redemption from God to my story. Click To Tweet

Joseph, the ancient Hebrew turned Egyptian slave, experienced this first hand, after his brothers’ betrayed him. Because Joseph clung to God through the heartache and hurt, he could look his brothers square in the eye and declare, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.(Genesis 50:20 NIV)

How do you handle disappointment from unmet expectations? What lessons have you learned by choosing to rely on God, even when it’s hard? 

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV) 

 

Get to know Donna! 

A pastor’s wife and national speaker, Donna Jones is a Bible teacher/explainer, who’s spoken in twenty-five states and on four continents, keynoting events of more than 1000. Donna is the author Seek: A Woman’s Guide to Meeting God, Raising Kids with Good Manners, and Taming Your Family Zoo, and is a contributing author to the 365-day devotional, A Moment to Breathe. She has been on numerous radio and television shows, including Focus on the Family and Good Day Dallas, and writes regularly for Crosswalk.com. 

Donna loves sipping a really good cup of coffee, and hanging with her pastor/hubby or one of their three young adult kids, who frequently sit on her kitchen counter just to chat. Donna would love to connect with you at www.donnajones.org or on Instagram at donnaajones.

Disillusionment hurts and can derail us or push us to draw us closer to Jesus. For those of you who’ve been doing our Becoming His Princess study, you’ll see, for Sarah, unmet longing appeared to follow the negative progression Donna warns us of in her post. As Donna shared, we all face this risk. When disillusionment hits, it can drive us closer to Jesus or distance us from Him. You can hear my thoughts on this, and how we can actively guard our hearts against this, in Becoming His Princess’s opening session, week three. Listen HERE.

If you’re just starting the study, you can watch week one’s opening session HERE and week two’s opening session HERE. (Video sessions will be uploaded as they’re completed.)

You can listen to session two HERE.

And you can pick up your own copy, free, HERE.

Cover image for studyIf you live local, you can still join us for live teaching each Tuesday night at Wildewood Christian, located in Papillion. You can also join us, starting in March, for live teaching on Tuesday mornings or evenings (two options) at Christ Community Church in Omaha. (Registration links will open soon.)

Want us to come to your church? Contact us HERE.

Heart Issues

The Care and Keeping of Our Hearts

woman looking out the window at the night-time city(Taken from Wholly Loved Devotionals on Crosswalk. Find them HERE.)

My heart, when left unprotected, inevitably begins to decay. The busier I am, the greater my stress, the greater the threat. If I want to remain strong and filled with the love, truth, and peace of Christ, I need to guard against negative influences while soaking in all that is good and right and true.

When my daughter was young, I ached for adult conversation. She was an only child, and I worried she was lonely as well, so I began signing us up for low-cost activities and social clubs. I became deeply engaged with one group in particular. We met numerous times each week, for outings and park days or to simply sit in one another’s homes. Unfortunately, our discussions often centered on life’s difficulties and how terrible or inconsiderate everyone’s husband was.

I’d like to say I managed to listen without getting sucked into the toxic vortex, but I didn’t. I always left frustrated with my life and marriage.

Then, one day, reality hit. I realized I always left those interactions crabby and dissatisfied, with life and my husband. These “venting” women were actually harming my marriage. I needed to be selective with my influences—to guard against negativity while intentionally studying and contemplating and learning to live in truth.

The winds may blow, but the woman anchored in Christ has deep, immovable roots. Drought may woman prayingcome, and a heat wave may beat upon her branches, but though these outward challenges are unpleasant, they won’t and can’t destroy her, because she is continually fed by the sweet, pure stream that will never run dry.

Her fruitfulness isn’t dependent on her circumstances or outward influences but the strength, wisdom, and power of God’s Spirit welling up within.

This is God’s call for all of us.

If you found today’s post helpful, you may also enjoy Wholly Loved’s Christmas Bible Reading Plan, Preparing Our Hearts for the Holidays. Find it HERE.

Wholly Loved’s holiday devotion, Intentional Holidays. Find it HERE.

Join our private Facebook group by clicking below. We’re also gearing up for spring conferences. We’d love to come to you! Visit our Conference Page for information on some of our most popular presentations, and contact us HERE to book us for your next event.

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A place for women to come together, share their struggles, celebrations, and insights, and inspire one another to be all God created them to be.

Additional resources:

30 Days of Emotional Health Bible Reading Plan by Wholly Loved

Cultivating a Thankful Heart Bible Reading Plan by Jennifer Slattery

Unclogging Our Spiritual Valves by Jennifer Slattery

The Anatomy of a Tender Heart and a Strong Voice by Amy Carrol

The Heart You Know and the Heart You Don’t by John Piper

Psalm 1: The Way of the Righteous and the Way of the Ungodly, by Enduring Word Bible Commentary

Resting in Christ

Taking Time to Rest — Guest Post

Image of a Christmas setting
Image by Simon Z on Unsplash

During the holidays, it’s easy to run from one activity, party, and obligation to the next, completely depleting ourselves in the process. If we’re not careful, we can turn what God intended to be a restful, celebratory, sacred time into one wrought with stress. I’ve found when I feel I have the least time to rest and reflect, that’s when I need to most. As you read our guest blogger’s post below, consider how God might be calling you do come away, even if for a few moments, to rest in His embrace.

Even God Rested

By Meredith Kendall

Over a year ago we were commissioned to plant a new church in a new area. This involved moving to a state hundreds of miles from our home. We’ve worked tirelessly.

I didn’t realize how fatigued I was until my husband and I actually took a full day off.

On this particular sunny day, we headed to the beach to walk a mile, our reward was a “sinful cinnamon roll” from a restaurant I’d only seen pictures of called the Heavenly Biscuit. After devouring the entire thing, we started our trek back to the car to finish our adventure.

I made sure my husband knew how thankful I was for our time. We finished our escapade driving around a nature preserve. He even put up with me taking lots of pictures. Unfortunately no alligators or iguanas, but plenty of birds. Brown Pelicans, White Pelicans, Egrets, and Herons. My soul was being refreshed with every step and camera click.

As a pastor’s wife, it’s extremely difficult to take a traditional day of rest because on Sunday I’m usually running from the time my feet hit the ground at 5:30am to 2:00pm. Every week we have to transpose a high school into a place of worship. We’ve attempted to take two half days, but after my beach and nature preserve experience, I truly understand this verse in Genesis 2.

On the seventh day, He rested from ALL His work.

The Greek word translated as rested is shabath and is also where we get our word Sabbath. It means to repose. To cease. To put away. To rest.

I love the word repose. This is not only the act of resting or the state of being at rest. It’s a state of mind, suggesting freedom from worry.

Not once while I “shabathed”, did I worry about all the work I had accumulating at home or even what the next twenty-four hours would bring. I stayed in a reposed state all day, probably for the first time in, well, ever. I came to realize that even though I take a day off from work, that is not what God did that day. He reposed. He wasn’t worried about what needed to be done next, or what might fall apart.

We can do the same, knowing the God of Creation will take care of all that concerns us. Our world won’t fall apart if we relax, surrender it to Christ, and follow the example God set for us in Genesis.

Get to Know Meredith!

As a nationally recognized sales leader, Meredith Kendall learned how to build bridges and make connections with the heart of what people need. Now she is known as a change agent, driven by her God-given passion to equip struggling families to achieve their unique God-given potential.

Meredith’s works can be found at: My GiGi’s House: Finding HopeThe 180 Program and her podcast can be found here. Finding Your Purpose

Resources you might find helpful:

Wholly Loved’s Christmas Bible Reading Plan, Preparing Our Hearts for the Holidays. Find it HERE.

Wholly Loved’s holiday devotion, Intentional Holidays. Find it HERE.

Join our private Facebook group by clicking below.

Wholly Loved Ministries
Private group · 473 members
 

Join Group

 

A place for women to come together, share their struggles, celebrations, and insights, and inspire one another to be all God created them to be.
Heart Issues

Cultivating a Thankful Heart

Image of colored leaves and text to 2 Cor. 9:11

Happy Thanksgiving from the Wholly Loved family!

Sometimes, I get so caught up in rushing about, I forget to pause and say thanks. But when I do, peace ushers in as my mind shifts off of all that could or maybe has gone wrong to all that has gone right. To all the abundant blessings God provides each day, and those are numerous. If I were to contemplate my relationship with Christ and all the spiritual blessings He’s provided, that alone would give me ample reason for praise.

I’ve been adopted into an eternal, inter-connected family.

I’ve been redeemed.

I’ve been washed clean–given a new slate and, each day, a chance to begin again.

I’ve been lavished by grace and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

But most importantly, I’ve been given the gift of intimacy with my Savior.

Pause this afternoon or perhaps this evening to contemplate all the gifts God has given you in His Son. Write Him a letter thanking for Him each one, and see if that doesn’t elevate your heart to praise and connect you, on a deeper level, with the Giver of all that is right and true and beautiful and eternal.

Then make sure to check out our holiday Bible reading plan, available for FREE on the YouVersion app. You can find it HERE.