Friend, do you know that FOMO (fear of missing out ) is really a word?
Whenever I take pictures of two of my three boys, the third one always has to get int the picture–”Mommy mommy, don’t forget me!” Friends, our fear of missing out starts young.
Merriam webster’s definition of FOMO- fear of not being included in something (such as an interesting or enjoyable activity) that others are experiencing.
If we put it frankly, FOMO is at its core, the fear of being forgotten, rejected, the fear of being put on that invisible social sticker: you are that undesired friend no one wants to hang out with.
That’s the real engine behind the spinning wheel of the unending social circus.
This fear prompts us to feel that we have to attend every girl’s night out, need to hang with new friends every weekend, have to dress up for every event, want to be invited to that party everyone is talking about, and show our face in every glorious group picture.
And before we leave this event, we are thinking about the next one.
Round and round, we are like the poor little hamster, looking cute and fit on every Instagram and Facebook post, but mindless and exhausted while going nowhere.
The truth is, the more of chasing event after event, friend after friend, the more insecure we are, and the more self-doubts we have.
Especially in this social media age, our screen is a constant rotation of people having fun, or at least that’s what it looks like.
And more than one time, an innocent stroll on the internet turned into sour grapes for me: why don’t they include me? Why can’t I have fun too?
I know – I have a loving husband and my children adore me, but FOMO sometimes becomes the missing puzzle piece that I can never find.
It’s a joy stealer.
It’s a lie.
And we become fools the minute FOMO creep into our hearts.
I concluded four steps for recovering from FOMO:
1) Count the true friends you can really depend on.
Social media is full of pictures captioned “great time with great friends.” But we all know, true friendship comes from holding the same value of life, time spent together, and genuine admiration for each other.
There is a saying: “You don’t need a certain number of friends, just a number of friends you can be certain of.”
I have five friends that I can freely share my opinions, and if needed, will deliver a meal to my door, give me a ride, even watch my kids overnight. And I will do the same for them.
In all honesty, with three young kids, it’s not easy to even keep up with my five close friends, so girls, let’s save our energy for the people who really matter.
2) Have a discerning mind.
The old saying— “You become like the five people you spend the most time with.”
It is true.
In this digital age where everyone is watching what others are doing, we especially need to be aware of the “I deserve,” “I am entitled” attitude, either in other people or in ourselves, because it always leads to envy, bitterness, or even lying and cheating.
And don’t overestimate our spiritual power in changing people — some people we can only love and pray from afar.
”Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.” Proverbs 13:20 –we cannot get a clearer picture of what God says about choosing friends, so be open-minded, but keep our spiritual eyes open too.
3) Keep your eyes on the eternal value.
”There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18
Friends, Jesus paid the ultimate price, so we are perfect and blameless in God’s sight. Thus, fear is the enemy of our faith.
The one effective way to drive out fear is to keep our eye on things that have eternal value —
Having a stable marriage has eternal value,
Raising children that have good character has eternal value.
Ok, so if my family needs me the night I scheduled a girls’ night out, I will sadly miss the fun, but so be it.
And spending times to serve, to advocate, and doing things for our God, it doesn’t matter how small or how big, all hold eternal value.
4) Steer our spiritual maturity to the ultimate goal.
As Christians, our ultimate goal is to be more like Jesus.
So ask yourself this question: if there is nobody left for me/likes me/ wants to hang out with me in the world, will I be content just to be with God?
It’s a profound question worth thinking over and meditating on.
Remind ourselves of this: chasing after fickleness only brings fickleness; chasing after things that have Eternal value will bring lasting peace.
Friends, we are all walking around with a hole in our hearts. As I mature in my spiritual journey, I see more and more clearly that the hole can never be filled with being the most desirable, most popular, most polished person in the room.
Only the love of God can fill it.
So say no to FOMO, hold on to our true value, and hold fast to our true friends.