Have you ever suffered from FOMO? Fear Of Missing Out. These days, FOMO is epidemic. Our culture constantly assaults us with a barrage of marketing messages that cultivate a fear of missing out. And nothing cultivates FOMO as effectively as social media.
Reading about the good times other people are having can foster a sense of envy in us. Learning about social events we weren’t invited to can cause us to feel isolated. Looking at all the beautiful pictures of beautiful people with their beautiful families can make us feel as if we’ve failed in our own family.
FOMO is real. And the more we give in to it, the more addicted we become to our social media accounts. We may find ourselves checking posts every few minutes for the latest news about local social activities.
FOMO is treacherous because it fosters a sense of discontentment. Dissatisfaction. Ungratefulness. Not that we’d ever admit it, but we feel cheated because someone else is having a better time. Travelling to more fun locations. Being more successful.
Black Friday sales are a prime example of FOMO. At least it used to start on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Now Black Friday sales begin on Thursday. We spend the afternoon celebrating gratitude. Then we leave family at the dinner table while we chase sales from store to store, worried that we’re missing a better bargain down the street.
It’s ironic that those who are not at all concerned about spiritual things are religious about keeping up with everyone else in every other area of life. Yet they aren’t at all concerned about missing out on the most important experience of all. This temporary life consumes them, while eternity isn’t even a blip on their radar.
But Christians can fall into a similar trap. When I get caught up on the fear of missing out, I’m so busy focusing on the temporary that I lose sight of the eternal. I can become consumed with trying to do it all in this life, without considering whether the things that mean so much to me now will be as significant five months from now. Or five years from now.
As I enter this holiday season, I commit to kick FOMO to the curb. Rather than fear what I might be missing out on, I will focus on doing the next right thing. Taking the next right step. Considering the next right decision.
Will you join me?