Have you heard of that?
It stands for the “Fear Of Missing Out” and I believe it’s a common disease we share as part of the human race.
Wikipedia defines FOMO as the following: “A form of social anxiety, whereby one is compulsively concerned that one might miss an opportunity for social interaction, a novel experience, profitable investment or other satisfying event.”
Initially reading that definition, one might think, “well none of those are bad things right?” Social interaction, novel experiences, profitable investments and satisfying events, those all sound okay to me?
And yes, they are.
But notice the words, “social anxiety” and “compulsively”—you see, that’s where, as humans, we get it all wrong.
We are PROFESSIONALS for making things that should be a “good thing” and turning them into a cause for a downright anxiety attack, which as you well know, easily drains the joy out of almost any and every situation.
I mention all of this because as I have done some soul-searching and talking to Jesus lately about why my spirit is so restless, I realized that I have been suffering from an extended, never-dealt-with, culturally influenced, people-pleasing, anxiety-ridden case of FOMO.
And I am OVER IT.
Honestly, I love people. I really do. I adore them and I get energy from them and I feel alive when I am learning about others, talking with them about what is going on in their lives and just connecting with others in general.
However, I have found that conversation is tougher and more exhausting when you are trying so hard to be where you are but you are terrified that you are missing out somewhere else.
Can anyone relate to me on this?!
As if we don’t already know other things that are going on while we are somewhere, we have the handy-dandy Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to tell us of 87340298734098273847 other events taking place at the same time and suddenly WE ARE NO LONGER CONTENT BEING WHERE WE ARE AT!!!
We are literally in mid-conversation listening to our friend tell us about their struggle and our brains are thinking, “I wonder if that get-together will still be going on when I leave here?” or “I wonder what so and so are doing cause they took a selfie driving somewhere and it looked really cool.”
And suddenly it happens: Our desire to be everywhere robs us of experiencing joy in the one place that we are at right now.
The compulsiveness of our busy minds to “not miss out” causes our souls to miss out on connecting to the one place we are physically in!
Does it sound nuts when you are removed from the situation?!?
I KNOW IT DOES! WE ALL DO IT THOUGH!!!
As I thought about this and started treating it as if it was a real and tangible issue rather than a funny social term from the Urban Dictionary, I realized that this “desire to be everywhere” stems from my desire to be relevant to everyone.
It’s that uncanny human desire to be liked and wanted, the sense of belonging that every heart shares.
And in the year 2014, FOMO is way easier to have because it’s far easier to know, hear about or see what you “might” be missing out on!
But y’all, we have got to give it a break.
We have to get better at taking a step back and just being where we are at.
Have steady conversation and be 100% mentally and emotionally available rather than 50% here and 50% there.
And you know how when you think you miss out on something, the next time you see someone or that crowd or whomever, you think that you don’t “fit in as well” or you’re “less relevant” cause you weren’t in attendance?
That’s a lie too!!!!
Satan loves that one! He loves to make us think that if we don’t physically exhaust ourselves and break our backs to get to every get-together, people will forget about us; if we don’t volunteer at every single place, we will be deemed horrible people; if we don’t fill our time slots with something each hour, we aren’t important enough to even keep a schedule.
He uses FOMO to his advantage- to keep us busy.
(P.S. Being busy does not equal being successful or important. It simply equals being busy).
Because when we are so busy being busy, we don’t take time to just enjoy the natural rhythm of our day. Opportunities become obligations. People become pressure. Life becomes….a survival method.
Don’t. give. In.
You don’t have to be everywhere to not miss out; you just have to be present everywhere that you go so that you don’t miss out on what God has in store for you.
Be where you are and be all there!
You are unforgettable, friend! Slow it down, go where you need to go and do what God asks of you and let the empty time slots on your schedule be just that—EMPTY SLOTS of TIME!
Time to soak in who Jesus is and what He is doing in your life so that you can be all that you need to be when you do have something to do and somewhere to be.
Love you, friends!
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” -2 Timothy 1:7