Flashback to Halloween back in the late 70's or early 80's. That werewolf costume was my favorite of all. My sister (right) and a neighbor friend (left) went out that night to rid the neighborhood of all that "terrible" candy.
When I think of darkness, I think of attitude. Just imagine the world if we only lived with a positive attitude and experienced only encouraging messages everywhere. I understand that there is evil in the world, and that bad things happen. We can be honest about it, but strive to keep our focus on love and kindness. Instead of responding to situations and events with anger and hatred, put on a mask of love and have only the desire to be kind and constructive; not destructive.
Obviously, politics is at the forefront of our minds right now. I don't know about anyone else, but I am just tired of the negative ads, the depressing messages on the national news and social media, and the organized ambushing of narrative by extreme political activists on both sides. No matter your beliefs, "clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." (Colossians 3:12)
Focus our agenda on the future, not so much on the past; we're not going back there, are we? Yes, we've been hurt in the past, we've been oppressed in the past, we've sinned in the past. Now let's forgive in the present, change in the present, and have faith in the present, so we can move on and become a better version of ourselves tomorrow.
If you don't follow Dave and Rachel Hollis of Hollis Co., please do. They have a message of transformation and love that truly is going to change the world. They stress the importance of loving yourself, so you can love others and be loved by others.
I used to blame my past for my present. Now I have forgiven my past, moved on through faith in my loving God, and now focus on becoming a better version of myself every day. The best part is accepting that, even though life didn't turn out the way I'd hoped (does anyone's?), I am intentional in living with a thankful heart, no matter what my day brings. I still stumble sometimes, bringing back my negative self, but I get back up as soon as possible and kick that dude to the curb.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." Colossians 3:12
All this world needs is love. Let's focus on loving the broken instead of breaking the broken. I understand that things are a bit more complicated than this simplistic viewpoint. BUT, we need to start somewhere. We can be a good example, even if we are broken ourselves. Let's put on that mask, hide our own darkness, and spread the light of love! In the process of kindness, our own hearts could see positive change and begin to heal.
This verse sums up what I'm trying to say... Matthew 5:16 "In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." Listen to the Newsboys' song "Shine" which was my jam back in the day.
Let's arm ourselves with compassion so we can fix our brokenness and begin to unite as humans, loving each other and caring for our world instead of destroying it.
I have a severe case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)
I've always had it. In high school and college, I hated to miss out on seeing friends and meeting new ones. It's too bad I didn't feel the same way about my education!
It has quite the grip on me yet; though the older I get, the easier it is to escape for a while before it grabs hold once again. This fear of missing out on being popular, financially and professionally successful, respected, and influential in society has consumed me.
It’s amazing to discover that the older we get, the clearer our vision of ourselves becomes.
I have suffered from depression and low self-esteem because of FOMO. I had drifted away from my faith in recent years because I'd felt that all hope was lost. I was convinced that I was a complete failure and that I really didn’t have a purpose. This fear of failure consumed me. But eventually, I was reminded that my worth comes from God, not from successes and failures.
Listen to my song "Only You" on bandcamp. I wrote this when I was trying to hold on to my faith as I'd known it, as my life began to spiral.
This past winter, God seemed to speak to me. I was amazed that God could use such a lost soul. I saw no value in myself; what could I possibly offer? I had finally given up control and it's amazing what happened. I have found joy through a revived faith in God, leaving my past defining moments out of the picture. The difference this time is that I know that I am who I am: a loved child of God.
You may be feeling this same way. FOMO is not always a friend, but it's not always the enemy either.
Read Deuteronomy 31:6 for some inspiration about your fear.
Please join me for more thoughts about facing our fears by joining the mailing list at www.tobysamazingadventures.com. Select "Adult inspiration" on the sign-up form and receive a free download of 15 key lessons that could change your life.
Justin Ehrman is a husband, father, author and singer/songwriter.