“Guess what? I just bought my tickets to Bintan and South Korea!”

“Did you know your brother’s heading to San Francisco next month? He’ll be there for three weeks, and then he’ll be visiting London in June.”

“Oh, wow . . . my parents are going on a holiday tour to Scandinavia!”

These are some snippets of conversations I’ve had with friends and relatives in the past month as Covid-19 restrictions are eased, allowing people to travel again.

On one hand, I’m feeling elated for my friends and family. On the other? Terribly envious.

Yes, I had a serious case of travel FOMO (fear of missing out).

I’ve always loved to travel, and before Covid-19, I would visit at least two countries a year. In fact, my husband and I were supposed to go to Japan in 2020, but the pandemic hit first, forcing us to shelve those plans.

Since then, I’ve been dreaming about where to head to once the pandemic subsides. Something bigger than a pandemic, however, has thrown a spanner into the works: we had a baby.

 

Give Us This Day 13

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Travelling with a Baby in Tow?

My son recently turned five months old, and he’s changed our lives in so many ways. Of course, we’re immensely awed and thankful to the Lord for blessing us with this gift of a child.

At the same time, I have to confess, I’ve also been envying my friends and their travel plans.

At one point, I even entertained the thought of bringing our little one along with us for a holiday. I Googled baby-friendly cities, checked out flight prices, and read up on Covid-19 testing requirements for infants.

“It’s possible, right?” I asked my husband hopefully (and not without a hint of desperation).

Sure, there’d be the stroller and the mountain of diapers and nursing items to lug along. And yes, we’d have to figure out how to keep him quiet on the hours-long plane ride, and to find baby-friendly lodging, eateries, and things to do.

But, I thought, it’d all be worth it. We could make great memories (at least for me and my husband), and our son could be exposed to a wide range of sensory experiences (at least that’s how I would justify it).

In the meantime, I continued to seek the Lord in prayer, surrendering my desires before Him. I asked Him to grant us His wisdom and discernment on whether or not to travel, when to do so, and where to go. And I prayed for His peace, if this was in His will for us.

As I sought Him in prayer and petition, I felt God telling me: No, it’s not the time to travel.

Coveting My Neighbour’s Itinerary

I’ve been reading through the book of Exodus, and recently, Exodus 20:17 stood out to me. In this verse, God tells Moses and the people:

“You shall not covet your neighbour’s house.
You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife,
or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey,
or anything that belongs to your neighbour.”

When I read this, it struck me that I was doing just that: I was coveting what others had—in my case, their travel plans.

The more I heard about people’s itineraries, the more I compared and coveted, and the unhappier and dissatisfied I became.

I realised that I had forgotten God’s goodness to me, just as the Israelites did. Reading Exodus reminded me of how the Israelites had grumbled against God despite having just been delivered out of slavery (Exodus 17:1–7).

The more I heard about people’s itineraries, the more I compared and coveted, and the unhappier and dissatisfied I became.

As God revealed to me my lack of contentment, I began to see again the many blessings He had given me: a healthy family, stable jobs and incomes, a roof over our heads, the privilege of watching my infant son grow—and countless more.

Above all, He has given to me the free gift of salvation and eternal life in Christ, as Ephesians 2:4–7 reminds:

Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,
made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in
transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him
in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that
in the coming ages he might show the incomparable
riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness
to us in Christ Jesus.

Life Isn’t About Holidays

I know that there will be many more sacrifices ahead of us, as we learn to accommodate the needs of our little family in the coming weeks, months, and years. And I pray that I will “have the same mindset as Christ”: to choose to lay down my own desires, and to put the needs of my family ahead of mine (Philippians 2:3–5).

This could mean choosing to spend the day at the beach or park instead of flying to a far-flung destination; cooking more meals at home rather than dressing up and dining out at the latest trendy café; or passing up on certain career opportunities so that we can spend more time with our family.

Life isn’t about accumulating possessions or even experiences. It’s about knowing the incomparable riches of God’s grace in kindness, and growing to be more like Christ our Saviour each day.

Reflecting on my FOMO for holidays has helped me to realise this: Life isn’t about accumulating possessions or even experiences. It’s about knowing the incomparable riches of God’s grace in kindness, and growing to be more like Christ our Saviour each day.

Jesus’ words in Luke 12:15 have been particularly instructive to me: “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions” (emphasis mine).

These days, as I hear of others’ travel plans, I’m learning to deal with my feelings of envy and covetousness, and to be contented in this new season of motherhood.

Perhaps there may come a day when our son grows up, and we can travel once more. Or perhaps the Lord may give us another child, and travel plans may have to be shelved again.

Whatever it is, I pray that I won’t look to holidays to give me joy and satisfaction, but to call to mind and to hold fast to the words of 1 Timothy 6:6–7, 11:

Godliness with contentment is great gain.
For we brought nothing into the world,
and we can take nothing out of it . . .
But you, man of God, flee from all this, and
pursue righteousness, godliness, faith,
love, endurance and gentleness.

In doing so, I know that there’s nothing in life that I’m missing out on.

 

Wendy is a writer, wife, and mother who seeks to be a disciple of Christ. She hopes that God will use what He’s given her to glorify Him through her living and writing. Her perfect day includes peanut butter, spending time with the Lord, and enjoying a good cuddle with her family.
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