Faith over FOMO

I was out on a mid-morning walk with my girls, one that either morphs into hours of outside time exploring OR ends in tears & tantrums. Usually the latter.  But we do it almost everyday, because I need it and they need it.  While we were out, I saw one of the neighborhood moms who has the same aged kiddos I do out for a run…by herself.  ENVY.

“Hey girls! She exclaimed.“Out for a walk?”   

“Yup, just getting some fresh air!”

“Have fun! My boys are at school, so I am making the most of it! Bye!”

“Good for you!”  I meant it.  I really did.  But it doesn’t mean I wasn’t jealous and sad. Really sad. 

We decided to not send our girls to their amazing little forest preschool this year that we absolutely adore. You would think it was a multimillion dollar decision with how much it weighed on me this summer, I lost sleep over it. 

It is a dream of a school.  Focused on nature and free-play, everything I want for my girls’ education.  Maybe if all school was based in the woods I wouldn’t be so sad about them missing out on this program. But mainly, this year was supposed to be the teensy light at the end of the baby/toddler tunnel for me.  BOTH girls in preschool three mornings a week.  BOTH.

Three mornings a week they get to play with friends, enjoy the outdoors, and their Mama can get some work done or fill up her cup a bit.  I was really looking forward to it. Like REALLY looking forward to it.  Maybe I had a countdown in my planner or something, I don’t know.  Did I mention I was looking forward to it?

In regard to COVID19 exposure, it was the best possible scenario. All outside, just a few hours and small class sizes. But in my bones, for whatever reason that has yet to show itself, I knew I was supposed to keep them home this year.  And I’ve learned that it is best to always listen to that still small voice. 

A couple months ago, our beloved sitter was over to play with the girls while I worked a little and she wrote this on their chalkboard:  

“Let your faith be bigger than your fear.”

It was ironically during the time I was trying to land on a preschool decision and having a hard time. When I came up from my office and saw this written, I smiled. But then something inside me got confused.

Does this mean I need to put my fear aside and send them to school?  Do I need to put my fear aside and go out and do all the things I want to do and see all the people I want to see?  What does ‘letting my faith be bigger than my fear’ look like during a pandemic when we are supposed to  be cautious? 

We are no longer living in a strict quarantine, but we are still keeping our circle small and doing our best to be cautious and responsible. Which means we are missing out on a LOT compared to what other people are doing.  But it feels right for us. 

And I realized that in this particular season, God doesn’t want my faith to be bigger than my FEAR necessarily, He wants my faith to be bigger than my FOMO (fear of missing out).  

This is not a normal year.  This is not the year of doing all the things, of chasing big goals, of going to all the places or seeing all the people. It is not the year of preschool.  This is the year of  extreme simplicity.  The year of focusing on my family and working through our grief together. This is the year we miss out on a lot of normal things. 

When I got honest with myself, I realized I was never afraid to send my kids to their school, I was afraid of what they would miss. I was really afraid of not being able to handle another hard year of them being home with me the majority of the time and me losing my mind and myself.  

So as the back to school pictures start to circulate on social media and I see people out doing things that I wish I felt comfortable doing but don’t–I remember my faith.  My faith is telling me to stay put right here, right now, where I am and keep my babies close.

We are carrying on with our little homeschool routine. We are reading together and getting outside as much as humanly possible. They are not having grand adventures with new friends but we are learning together. Thank God this is pre-school and I don’t have to teach common core math. 

Sometimes I get all these grand ideas and dreams while I am folding laundry mountains, reading out loud to my girls, or calming down a screaming tantrum for the 100th time. And I wonder… when the heck I will get my time? Time to release all these ideas in my head, time to write more, time to spread my own wings.  And God gently nudges me and says, keep writing when you can, keep saving these things away…your time will come.  Their time will come.  You are right where you need to be even though I know you don’t always want to be here.  Just try to trust Me. 

So that is what I am trying to do.

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