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FOMO, The Fear of Missing Out


An article in TechTarget defines FOMO as "an emotional response to the belief that other people are living better, more satisfying lives or that important opportunities are being missed. FOMO often leads to feelings of unease, dissatisfaction, depression and stress. The rise of social media has increased the prevalence of FOMO throughout recent years. Data suggests it is most widespread throughout the millennial community."


Wikipedia defines it as "a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent". In our online, connected age, it is very easy to see what others are doing and experiencing -- where they travel, what they eat, how they are enjoying, what they are achieving. Social media creates situations where users are constantly comparing their lives to the idealized experiences they see posted online. This leaves many with a feeling of "missing out" on these same things. This has resulted in people pursuing all these things and neglecting what in life is truly important. It is one of the ways the world is trying to define and sell what a successful life is, to be pursued and enjoyed at any cost.


But is it worth it? Is it worth not missing out on what we see others are doing? The bible says otherwise. There are much more important things to pursue than what we perceive we are missing out on based on what others are doing. Listen to what Jesus had to say. "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matthew 16:26)


Indeed...

What profit is it to a man to eat all the finest food in the whole world?

What profit is it to a man to travel to all of the whole world?

What profit is it to a man to have all the love and sex in the whole world?

What profit is it to a man to gain all the best material things in the whole world?

What profit would all these be if we do not gain Christ?


Jesus is not saying that all the food and the travels and human loves and sex and all the material things are bad. The rich man whom he called foolish was not called foolish because of his wealth. But: "So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." (Luke 12:21) His fault was not in being rich, but in being rich only to himself and forgetting about God. All the things we enjoy in the world are gifts He has blessed us to enjoy and to point towards Himself. All the sights, and tastes, and pleasure, and everything we possess are a mere foretaste of what is to come. As CS Lewis said, “I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage.” All the good and beautiful things in the world are stirring in us a longing for something greater. But "... they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.


So do not fear if you miss out on the things of the world, if you miss out on traveling, or tasting good food, or experiencing good experiences. These are just a foretaste of a coming world, a world we definitely should not miss out on. Jesus said “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” Neither does one's life consist of the places he traveled, or the food he tasted, or the experiences he experienced, or the pleasures he enjoyed. Neither does it consist of his Facebook posts. "And this is (eternal) life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." (John 17:3) There is a greater missing out that we should fear, and that is the fear of missing out on God's glory, on missing eternity, on missing Christ, on missing heaven. It would be much more profitable to gain all these and lose the world instead of gaining the world and losing our souls. CS Lewis continues: "I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that country and to help others to do the same.


Let us keep eternity in our hearts and not lose sight of His glory.

Let us help others do the same.

Let us pursue God's glory and eternity and heaven more than we pursue the things of the world.

Remember to fear on missing out.

Fear missing out on heaven.

Fear missing out on Christ.

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