I was invited to or planned to attend 6 different events this coming weekend. Unfortunately, we have plans to be in Wisconsin Friday through Monday so I had to say ‘no’ to all of them. Fortunately, I will get to spend time with my family and friends we have not seen in some time. Sure, getting together with local friends, or going to an event may have been fun, but they can mostly wait till another day, right? One concept that seems to have taken hold in the last 10 years or so is called FOMO (fear of missing out). It is anxiety that my friends/family are having fun without me at an event I could have gone to, but didn’t. It is often worsened by exaggerated social media posts that illustrate more fun being had there, than were I am now. So, where would you rather be than where you are now?
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7
On any given day, I am never lacking for things to do, it’s just having to choose between what I must get done, and what I should do, and what I could do, and what I would really like to do. If you had a day off work without any other obligations, what would you do today? Would it be to have fun and play with your friends and family and go out to eat, or maybe just sit quietly and read, not having to worry about whether things are getting done or not? Often, if I want to relax for a bit, I am thinking of those things not getting done that I should be doing. The opposite can be true also, when all we want to do is have fun and not work at all, because work is a bore and can be so restricting to my plans. There are countless you people who would prefer not to work and just sit in their parents basement and play games all day. But who does that really benefit?
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28
The problem with FOMO is that it is just fear caused by envy, jealousy, and dissatisfaction in where I am now. It is the ‘grass is always greener’ idea that something else would make my life better than where it is now. It doesn’t usually take much for us to want something we don’t have, does it? An appropriately timed advertisement, or seeing someone else getting to do something I want to do and thinking I deserve it. And whether it is through stories, or social media, or advertising, they rarely ever tell you the downside of the experience, it always seems to say, ‘everything is great doing this!’ We like to put on a front and portray things as better than they are, otherwise people, or God will think that I made a poor choice here. Have you ever bought something, or gone somewhere and later regretted it, realizing it was not all you thought it would be?
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:13-14
In reality, the greatest fear of missing out we should have is the fear that we are not doing what God has called us to do. Am I not in God’s will? When we realize our sinful state and what fruit, or lack it is producing in our lives, then we start to listen to what He is saying to us. When we live for God, we put aside our selfish ambitions and love others more than we love ourselves, just as Christ did for us. When His Spirit is living in us and guiding us, we have no more fear of earthly things or of what the world can do to us. The petty things that we can chase after no longer entice us when we are living for something bigger than ourselves. May you find joy in following Christ each day and not trouble your minds on the things that you may or may not get to do, but commit to doing what you can each day for Him!
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8
Yours in Christ,