Since my childhood, I have been anxious about missing out. I remember not wanting to sleep whenever I heard the adults chatting in the night. I wanted to be part of it all. Later on, in high school, I said “yes” to every event and outing, which ended up crashing so many times. I couldn’t choose. I wanted to be there to celebrate all the fun moments but also share all the tears in the low moments.
However, this lifestyle of being afraid of missing out could not continue when I joined missions. I have had to learn how to let go when I miss out on opportunities to create precious memories with family and friends in my home country.
I missed out on one of my best friend’s wedding. In fact, I met his wife for the first time almost two years after they were married—they even had a baby girl already. Countless weddings have I missed out on. I was not even able to make it to some of those weddings on Facebook Live due to poor internet connection or time differences. Some weddings, I managed to do a quick video chat and have my face on the screen for the group photos.
I missed out on my godmother’s funeral. She got cancer when I was not in the country. During a short home visit once, I managed to meet her in her house. Before I entered, my friend told me that this was probably my last time to see her on this earth. I refused to agree, but that was the case. Later, I could only mourn through Facebook. As I watched the choir sing in a video, I imagined where I would stand if I was home as I glanced at all the familiar faces.
I missed out on the presidential elections. I missed out on the biggest Christian youth camp in Taiwan where I was highly involved before. I missed so many Chinese holidays that I forgot how to count the lunar calendar. For most of the family gatherings and the school reunions, I was not there. I lost track of the names of the newborn babies among my relatives in the past years. I missed out the mountain highs and the valley lows of people I love dearly.
Even now when I am on furlough, I am still missing out. I will miss out on the opportunity to host some great friends at the Lake. I will miss out on the birthday parties of my new family. I will miss out on saying “goodbye” to some of my team members. I will miss out on the prayer outreach I always wanted to go on. I am still missing out.
It’s sad but I’ve learnt to let go. I am no longer anxious about missing out. I no longer wish to have a ‘super door’ to take me anywhere I want so that I can be there for everyone.
God has given me this sense of security: Even though it would be great to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn in person, I can stand with them in prayer. God is there with them. He knows how to make the party more fun and heal all the pains much better than me. And when I feel like I’m missing out, He is also there to comfort me. He will never miss out.
Ivy, previously a city girl rushing into the Taipei metro every day, now enjoys walking around beautiful villages at Lake Tanganyika, Zambia. She likes to listen to people's stories and write newsletters (really a rare species). Her dream is to become the shortest giant in the world.