Have you heard of FOMO? The Fear of Missing Out. FOMO is very real, and it’s affects can be debilitating. For starters, we are born with the seed of FOMO and need to have tools to fight against it early. Wasn’t FOMO the reason Eve ate the one piece of fruit that was off limits? She didn’t want to “miss out” on a chance to be more like God. Isn’t FOMO the reason we all wander off in certainty that we will find that missing link? The sad part is, as Seth Godin illuminated in his recent blog post about FOMO, is that our social networking sites have heightened the power and effects of FOMO by a million times. Just as there are warnings on the side of cigarette cartons about “smoking this or that may cause cancer”, there should be a warning on Facebook that says – “Warning -Facebook may cause The Fear of Missing Out”.
So how does FOMO work? And who does it affect the most? As far as how it works it may look like this. You’re home alone, you have an opportunity to have some much needed quiet time, time to reflect, time to heal, time to rest. The enemy of your soul sees this and immediately enlists FOMO to launch an attack. You sign on Facebook or your social network of choice and there it can begin. Every single one of your 539 friends are having fun, buying something new, on the vacation you desperately needed, enjoying that great new job, or at a party with 539 other friends you don’t have. Or how about the couples that are in love posting of their “love photos”, or that girls night out post where everyone is ….skinny. Urgh. As a mom of three teenage daughters, I am most sorry for them because at least when I was growing up FOMO attacks were limited to the here and now. I was able to leave school and leave it..them behind and not spend four hours at home looking into the lives of my school peers via social networking sites.
The Fear of Missing Out affects the best of us, but those who battle insecurity or are in transitional phases of life may be plummeted by FOMO the worst if not careful. FOMO is just a little seed but the crop it yields is ugly. The fruit is envy, jealously and discontentment. So how can we fight back against FOMO? A wise blogger once told me “knowing is half the battle”. So here are four truths to KNOW every time you feel tempted to plunge into FOMO:
- As far as Facebook is concerned. Facebook is not Heartbook. It’s FACE book. Where folks put on their “best FACE” and show it off, and that’s okay. Be the friend that celebrates with them. Be the one that says “good job!” “your beautiful!” “way to go!” When you practice being happy for others, you SLAY the monster of envy in one clean sweep.
- Everyone one of us is either in storm or coming out of a storm. Resist the urge to feel envy when you see those appearing more fortunate. Those people, skinnier, happier, richer, having more fun with more friends than you is a tailored made illusion for you to grow in discontentment and stunt your growth. Don’t buy it.
- Everyone is struggling in their own way, not just you. As Seth Bodin worded it so craftily “Everyone who is selling you dissatisfaction is working for the own selfish ends”. Like the photo of the horse with blinders, put your blinders on, don’t look to the right or to the left, and stay on the track your on. Be the kind of person that doesn’t get distracted easily. Wear your horse blinders proudly.
- Lastly, when we find ourselves in a season of acute loneliness and hardships it is then we are fully postured for an intricate work by our Maker. To be empty, fully empty, is the position He leads us into in order for our vessel to be fully ready for the new and fresh. So often in failing to realize this and reaching to be filled outside His plan, we abort a work of a master plan. In filling our empty hurting souls with envy at the ridiculous tactic of FOMO is to possibly foil the very work of God. Learn to embrace hunger and loneliness as steady and trustworthy companions leading you to great and new fields.
Be encouraged! God is doing something in your life, in my life…embrace your season of empty. A great filling is on its way for those who can wait and resist FOMO! And when that new season comes…blog about it. Leave some truth on the ground for others to come behind you and glean from.