There are things we’ve learned to live with. There are things we’ve passed as normal. There are things that were once rare and now a commonality. We’ve made them apart of the mundane day to day living. We’ve passed these things as “just the way things are.” I’m not referring to things we cannot change. Rather things we have complete control over. We’ve become comfortable with the way of life that we are too afraid to restore what we’ve learned to live without. While there are many things we can talk about here, the three areas in life I’ve seen many become comfortable in is the lack of peace, lack of joy and lack of love.

Peace has been replaced with anxiety and fear. We’re consumed by the worlds unknowns, stressors and triggers that we live day by day without peace of heart and mind. Think back for a second. Can you remember the first time you lost peace? Can you remember the moment in life when peace was replaced with anxiety and fear? How is it that an instant in life shifted your entire posture? Granted, there are things we go through in life that stirs us. It makes us question the goodness of God. It could be a loss of a loved one or opportunity. It could be a near death experience. It could be someone violated you or your family that the anxiety and fear of history repeating itself haunts you each day. Peace is hard to restore once lost. It’s hard to regain when life scars us and ruins what once was. But can I share something with you? It sure isn’t impossible to restore.

Peace that passes all understanding is what most of us crave. If you’re honest with yourself, you’d probably say that while the hardship you went through cannot be reversed or erased, you do want to live anxiety and fear free. Maybe you’ve even attempted to restore peace but failed only for anxiety and fear to show its ugly face and intensify it’s terror even more. While I don’t claim to have all the answers, what I do know is that there is a source for peace. Just as you’d go to your local supermarket for food, there is a source for peace. You’ll find out later in this blog though. Keep on reading.

Joy and peace somewhat go hand in hand with each other. Without peace, you probably do not have joy. If you have joy, it’s probably very little. When we don’t have joy we live in misery and despair. Life is oftentimes meaningless. Many times, when we lack joy we are forced into depression or depressive episodes. Like peace, something triggered you into defeat. You’ve given up on your dreams, your goals, and maybe even so on life. Something happened to you or your family, that all hope is lost. There is neither triumph or victory, rather defeat and sadness. Someone did you wrong, and maybe that someone you are blaming or pointing fingers at is yourself. Maybe the person you are pointing fingers at is, God.

It’s hard to have joy when life did you wrong. We’ve dwelled on the wrong done to us that to find joy in the little things is quite a task. It’s hard to find good in each day because we’ve made the misfortune in life become our god. We worship the loss, the wrong done, and the pain and hurt we faced. The past repeats itself daily in our hearts and minds. We cannot shake it no matter how much we try. Pain has ruled your being. An emotion rules you rather than you having control over it. And we’ve become quite okay with that.

Lack of peace and joy often times makes it difficult for us to love others and love ourselves. Many times though, we dare not love because what presented itself as love has ruined us. We love not, because what was meant to be an example of love has scarred and ruined something meant to be wholesome and beautiful. In turn, we live life lacking peace and joy because love is nonexistent within us. We hate, speak in rage and walk in defeat. Love often times presents itself in hopeful speech and living. Love looks a-lot like faith, assurance and confidence. Love, is powerful when existing. When removed it is likewise powerful as it shakes the very core of who we are.

We all crave love. We all desire to know we are loved. We all desire the warmth of love. When we lose love or the concept of love is distorted, it damages how we love those around us. It damages the way we view life. Many times the reason why we lack peace and joy is because love is absent. It’s because we know not how to love and are consumed by anger and hurt. I’d say the best way to restore joy and peace, is to first tackle the restoration of love.

Restoring love. It’s not as easy as someone telling you they love you and all is fixed. It’s not as easy as telling yourself you are loved and all peace and joy is restored. Restoring love is more than action or word. It’s knitting together peaces of your heart making what was once broken, whole. Restoring love is not having the broken parts of your life glued back together, rather it is a healing of the heart where those broken pieces find life and restore it’s position and function in the heart. How do you go about that? How do you restore what you’ve learned to live without? Go to the source.

If you are a Christ follower, you know that the source for healing and restoration is our creator, God. If someone is the creator then naturally, they will be able to restore what’s broken or reestablish what’s gone missing. God is exactly that. He restores, heals, reestablishes and can even refurbish. There’s nothing too big or too small for Him. When all love, joy and peace is gone, He’s your stability. The issue is we refuse to seek the restoring. We’ve become comfortable in our filth that we’d rather live day to day in complaining in misery, downing in doubt and fear and living in hate and anger.

Don’t get me wrong. I am by no means trying to appear callused. I understand there are difficult things to walk through in life, but the matter of the fact is we choose whether to dwell on the past and lose an eye or fix our eyes on Jesus. Dwelling on the past produces an impaired vision. Fixing our eyes on Jesus shapes perspective and character. Bad things happen because we live in a world where people choose to do evil things. The good news is that God, our creator, can make good out of evil.

For what it’s worth, I suggest, give God a try. If you blame Him for your lack of joy, peace and love, take it to Him. Let him know how angry you are. That is perfectly okay. And then wait on Him to respond. He will. Whatever hurt you have held on to that has you okay with living without joy, peace and love, it’s time to say no more. It’s time to restore what you’ve learned to live without. And the source for restoration is, Jesus. Don’t believe me, see for yourself.

Have you learned to live without peace, joy and love? Do you want these restored? How are you going to seek the source today?


Rejecting the rationalization of FOMO – Pt. 1

Around the 2000s, marketing strategist Dan Herman first wrote on the concept of FOMO. It took a decade plus some for this concept to develop. Within the past two to three years, I’ve personally seen and heard FOMO circulate a lot more that I decided to do some personal digging and research. For those of you who do not know, FOMO is an acronym that stands for Fear of Missing Out. Side effects found by studies done shows that FOMO has led to detrimental physical and mental health. It has also led to mood swings, loneliness, feelings of inferiority, decrease self-esteem, moderate to severe social anxiety and increased negativity and depression. Fear of missing out comes from the concern that one might miss out on an opportunity, information, satisfying event, often aroused by posts seen on social media outlets. Interestingly, studies on FOMO have found that those in developed countries are more prone to this. 70% percent of adults they’ve found suffer with FOMO either slightly or significantly that have produced moderate to severe side effects. Psychological disorder? I’d dare to say, no. While I do not claim to be a mental health phycologist, I do propose that the rationalization behind FOMO is a weak marketing scheme to promote the abuse of social media consumption and justify one’s insecurities.

Alright, let’s get personal with this. A couple years ago my friends started getting into relationships. That led to friends getting married, to now having children. Friends who bought houses, friends who landed awesome career roles, friends who are the epitome of fitness goals and friends who have the perfect life. How do I know all this? By scrolling. Scrolling became increasingly worse as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter ranked as monopolizing social media platforms.

Social media is perfect for marketing. It’s ingenious honestly. We are marketed every day more so now than ever before. Every second we look at a screen whether stationary or mobile device we are consuming a marketing idea, and our frame of thinking is being molded. Social media markets the highlight and the highlight interestingly is what brought about the idea of FOMO. How is it that the good brings so much evil? Here’s the thing, we don’t expect to share the awful bad in our lives. No one post about the bruises on their skin from their abusive spouse, the painful agony from a breakup, the rejection letter from a job, or the failure of a test/exam. We don’t show those parts of our lives. We share the highlight. Am I suggesting we share the bad? Not at all. Sharing the bad won’t help. That’s not the solution. I do, however, suggest we reevaluate why the highlights of others lives distorts the way we live and stirs feelings of “missing out”.

We want based on what’s been marketed. Nothing wrong with that. Wants are not all bad. But how did we as society get to a place where wanting has led to physical and mental health disorders? Why do we feel as if we are missing out if we don’t have the latest phone, are wearing the latest brand, are in the perfect relationship, traveling like the “IT” traveler or invited to “that” persons party. For me, that looks like — a 25 year old unmarried woman without child(ren). Yes, the pressure is on. Everyone else is married. Everyone else has kids. Everyone else appears to be doing or has “IT.” Yet, no one actually obtains “IT” because they are too focused looking at someone else’s life. Every second spent scrolling is confirming the idea that (me) you are failing at this thing called life.

My honest and wholehearted belief is that society’s rationalization of normalizing hours of scrolling through someone else’s life in envy at the many things they have and are is why we are the way we are. But if I dig a little deeper, I’d dare say, that you are to blame. I am. You are. Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with posting on social media. I enjoy seeing where people are in life, posting an updated picture of my fiancé and I, but I have fallen into the trap of depending on social media to gratify and fill the void of my personal insecurities. A post today has shifted from pure desire to share an update, to now need for affirmation. Scrolling has shifted from keeping up to date with friends and family to envying where others are and what others have. The more we scroll the more we believe that we are missing out and the more we believe we are missing out or have “missed the mark” we have mood swings, feeling of loneliness, feeling I am not good enough or am doing enough, and feelings of anxiety about life.

Does this resonate with you? Do you feel pretty crappy after scrolling through social media? Do you feel like you are “missing out” because you aren’t in a relationship, because you don’t have kids yet, because you don’t have the perfect body or because you’re not “there” in life yet? I say this with as much grace possible, FOMO is an acronym designed for this generation to hide behind their insecurities. We’ve been marketed to believe FOMO is okay. That this is normal. That it is expected.

It’s not normal and should not be expected. Insecurities are serious business. If apprehension within oneself is not dealt with, the result is FOMO and that’s what we don’t want or shouldn’t want. Want to know why you and I haven’t fully succeeded? FOMO. The pressure to buy things we cant afford and be someone we are not in order to impress other people is what keeps us where we are. FOMO, keeps us stuck and it keeps us fake. Judgement not from others, rather judgement we place on ourselves.

The first step towards making progress and moving beyond FOMO, is first admitting it. Be real with yourself.

  • Why do you want to be in a relationship? Because everyone else is in one and you’re tired of third wheeling or because you believe you are ready?
  • Why do you want children? Because everyone else is having and you’re scared you are behind or because you and your spouse agree it’s time to start a family?
  • Why are you working out? Because you want to look like that girl or guy on Instagram or because you want to create healthy habits and live well?
  • Why do you buy the clothes you buy? Because everyone else wears that brand or simply because you enjoy the look and feel?

What is your “why” behind the “what?” Pinpointing the why is the first step towards combatting your insecurities. Rationalizing FOMO is weak. Combating FOMO is strength. Your why needs to shift away from “because of them.” We will discuss tools on combatting FOMO in part two, but I will leave you with this. You are not missing out! Live your absolute best life by first seeking God. Scroll, double tap and pin, confident in who you are and where you are. And if you are not comfortable with who you are and where you are, quit sitting there scrolling in your insecurities, and do something about it!

What is your “why” behind the “what?”