The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is real phenomenon and to be honest, it’s something I sometimes go through, but what is it?
The fear of missing out (fomo) refers to the feeling or perception that others are having more fun, living better lives, or experiencing better things than you are. It involves a deep sense of envy, affects self-esteem and brings on anxiety.
In our world of overwhelming options, the temptation for FOMO is everywhere and the mind, body and spirit can easily succumb to its ghoulish atrocities because it’s so elusive ,shape shifting and it takes whatever form that matches our vulnerability. With the advent of social media, FOMO has become an even bigger issue in fact studies show that social media platform thrive on FOMO. Literally!
The devil is always trying to make us feel like we are missing out. It has always been the character of his temptation to humans like In the Garden of Eden, when the devil tempted Eve he said to her “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’? You are missing out on being like God” and at the time it seemed like a great idea but the enemy robbed Eve of the joy of her present circumstances and convinced her to trade that in for a chance at what she was missing on. The devil is still using the same tactics on us today, pointing us at the thing we don’t have, reminding us of what we are not, or showing us places where we have not been and this makes us feel as if we are missing out.
Left unchecked, FOMO can eat away our time, consume our peace of mind and makes us question our purpose. Remember: “Your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8) and comes to kill, steal and destroy so you can be sure there are few things he’d like to devour more than your peace and your time.
Ways to Fight FOMO
- Be Content
The key to fighting FOMO is contentment, and the devil knows this because how do you tempt someone who is genuinely content? How do you deceive someone who believes that the Lord is their Shepherd? If Christ is enough for us then FOMO losses it power, because in Christ we have our provisions and we have the perfect peace that ‘surpasses all understanding’. Right at the opposite of contentment is covetousness (eager or excessive desire, especially for wealth or possessions), and this is why Jesus warned us about covetousness (Luke 12 vs 15) (James 4 vs 2-3)
- Your turn is coming
Ecclesiastes 3:1There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven. Do not let anyone rush you, everything in life happens according to our time, our clock. You may look at some of your friends and think that they’re ahead of you, maybe some of them you feel are behind, but everything happens at their own pace. They have their own time and clock and so do you. Be patient. Although none of us would choose seasons of waiting, God can use them to help us learn and grow, if we are perceptive and receptive.
3. Beware of social media
Although you may see lots of beautiful photos with smiling faces, most people are only posting their best pictures online. They are usually sharing pictures of events and activities that show their most idealized selves. No one lives a perfect, idealized life, even though social media allows us to pretend we do. Be mindful of the accounts you follow. If you are only following accounts of individuals who look nothing like you or who are engaging in activities or lifestyles that are far removed from your current life, you’re more likely to feel bad about yourself and your life as well.
- Focus on your own life
The problem is that incessant worrying about what everyone else is doing only causes us to miss out on our own lives even more. In fact, FOMO causes people to keep their attention focused outward instead of inward. This, in turn, may cause people to lose their sense of identity and to struggle with low self-esteem, but worse yet, when we are struggling with FOMO that means we are so focused on what others are doing that we forget to live their own lives.
- God’s word is our standard
Because God is sovereign, His Word is the absolute authority in our lives. We ought to make the Bible our ultimate guide for what we believe (“faith”) and what we do (“practice”). When we allow God to direct our steps by being in His Word and engaging with Him in prayer, we don’t have to be afraid that we are missing out on something. That doesn’t mean we’ll get everything we want in life. But it does mean that there’s a better way to live than being controlled by FOMO. The more time we spend with Him, the further anchored we will become in His purpose for our lives.
Above all, keep in mind that God is orchestrating your destiny, ordering your steps, and setting you up for good things in His own perfect timing, fear of missing out won’t be able to take hold of your thoughts and emotions if you keep reminding yourself this.