I’m just so tired of missing out! I silently fumed as I blinked the tears out of my eyes. I had just played volleyball with some friends but had missed out on half of it because I was on the phone. Previously, I had left early from various events and missed out on others because I was calling my boyfriend or working. One night I wasn’t even invited to an activity, but I heard a lot about it later.
The culmination of all these things made me break down. You’re not connecting with the other interns, I thought. You’re not wanted. You’re not known. They’re all connecting and you’re not. I despised missing out.
Can you relate?
Maybe you’ve experienced FOMO, or “fear of missing out,” because you couldn’t go to events or weren’t invited to others. Maybe your friends can buy things that you want but can’t afford. Maybe it seems like everyone else has a great group of friends or is dating/married/has kids, but you’re alone. Or perhaps others have been promoted or have gotten cool jobs and you’re stuck in the same boring job day after day.
Do these things leave you feeling alone? Rejected? Not good enough? Insecure? Ungrateful?
Join the club!
I’ve been convicted about FOMO recently, and the Lord has been teaching me a lot. I wanted to share three things that I have learned about how to face FOMO, in the hopes that they will help some of you who have similar struggles.
1. Ask the Lord for discernment.
Reflect on why you are feeling FOMO. Is it because you feel discontent? Do you need to be accepted? Do you feel like your life is not good enough as it is? Do you think that this is your only chance for joy?
There are occasional times where FOMO can be a good thing because you’re driven to attend an event or pursue an opportunity or relationship that is honoring to the Lord. But most of the time we feel FOMO because we want what others have. This discontentment is basically telling God that what He has given is not good enough. Often, I trivialize my FOMO, excusing it with “everyone does it, therefore it can’t be bad,” when in reality it is sinning against the Lord because it is putting my desires before His and coveting what isn’t mine. In order to discern what your root of FOMO is, take time to pray and ask for the Holy Spirit’s wisdom and conviction.
2. Remind yourself of truth.
For those who have a personal relationship with God, Fabienne Harford reminds us that “God has bought us an eternity to enjoy everything.” We don’t have to fear missing out because we have an eternity with Him, the only one who can satisfy us and who loves us completely! When we get to heaven, I really don’t think we’ll look back on our time on earth and say, “Man, I wish I had bought that” or “I really wish I’d gone to that event.” Even though the things we miss out on seem like a big deal now, they will not matter in light of eternity.
Another truth to remind ourselves of is that in God’s presence there is fullness of joy. There is no good apart from Him. Nothing — no people, events, things, relationships or jobs can satisfy us like He can.
Lastly, the reason that we are put on this earth is to glorify Him (Isaiah 43:7, 1 Corinthians 10:31). The reason we exist is not to travel to the best places or to have the most friends. We exist to bring God glory and to love Him with our whole hearts, so let’s seek Him first.
3. Practice gratitude.
A quick and tangible way to combat FOMO is to practice gratitude. When I give thanks for all that the Lord has given me — for the relationships I have, for His provision, for the experiences I’ve been given, for the fact that I ate breakfast this morning — I become satisfied with my circumstances. I don’t strive as much for what I don’t have when I’m grateful for what I do have.
Just because I’ve written these things down doesn’t mean I’ve become an expert in them. I’m still wrestling with FOMO, and some days are better than others. But my prayer for both you and me is that God will sanctify us through this process and make us more and more satisfied in Him every day.
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