There is an interesting condition that can attach itself to our lives if we are not careful. It’s called Fomo, which by definition is “the fear of missing out”. Fomo causes anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, and is often created or exaserbated by social media. It’s the modern day terminology for an age old problem of thinking that “the grass is always greener on the other side“.
Fomo shows up at inopportune moments such as:
- When you are watching a movie, out for a meal or coffee, or at the park with friends or loved ones and you have to check your phone to see what is happening just in case you miss something someone else is doing.
- You can’t committ to an invitation or event in case you get a better offer last minute so you go to that instead.
- You start to feel depressed or get puffed up with pride as you look at all the things other people are experiencing, and find yourself comparing your life on a constant basis rather than just “running your own race” well.
- You miss important parts of conversations, little things your kids or people close to you say and do, or the wonder of experiencing what’s right in front of you because you’ve stopped living in the moment, and are too busy looking at other peoples lives.
- You take 20 photos before you are happy and manage to get “just the right one” so you can put it up on instagram, snapchat and facebook to ensure everyone can then “like it” and surmise your life is better than their’s and think well of you.
Fomo can often cause us to take our eyes off our own dreams, aspirations and the wonderful plans God has for us because we’re focusing on what everyone else may or maynot be doing. The trap of comparing our life in this way is that our actions and overall happiness can rest on what other people say and do, rather than be focused on our life, the dreams God has placed in our hearts and what He says about us.
However Fomo doesn’t have to steal from our lives. If we discipline ourselves to live in the moment; to be in the room, and refuse to fall into the comparison trap, then other people’s stories and accounts of their lives can actually be a positive influence which God can use to inspire and motivate us.
We can choose to take the fear out and instead replace it with faith and a renewed focus to “get out there” and live our life to the absolute fullest, rather than merely sitting back and watching everyone else live theirs.
When we remove the “fear of missing out” then when we see others lives:
We can be moved with compassion to help and pray when we see someone having a hard day, and use our time and abilities to make a difference around us.
We receive inspiration to explore and adventure out of our comfort zone because if others can do it, we can too.
We gain encouragement to begin to seek more after God and His plans for our life.
We become more focused on being the best we can be, with our eyes fixed firmly ahead.
Don’t be a victim of Fomo – “the fear of missing out”! Take the fear out and choose to trust God to guide and direct your steps into all that He has planned for you. Thank Him for the inspiration of those around you, and also seek Him for where you can best make a positive difference in someone’s else world today.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
“The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” (Psalm 37:23)
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-3)
Prayer: Lord thankyou for the amazing people around me and the experiences I can have everyday. Help me to not fall into the trap of comparisons and fear, but to instead be inspired by others. Please help me everyday to stay motivated and to continue to focus on the full and abundant life you have for me. In Jesus name Amen