FOMO (fear of missing out) is a real thing! I have definitely experienced it myself from time to time, but now it feels so much more intensified with the COVID-19 pandemic. And sadly, we can all fall victim to this at some point in our lives. Why? Because we are a society that thrives on what others think of us. We also don't want to miss out on something that might be that very thing that validates our worth.
It is so easy these days to see and know exactly what our friends are doing, the places they're going, or the friends that they are hanging out with. We see these things and we fear that we are missing out on those memories and those connections. And when we fear missing out, we tend to say YES to everything and anything.
I mean, aren't we created to belong? We all want to be loved and valued. However, the trap is when we look for validation of ourselves in the wrong places. The problem is when we look at others and start comparing ourselves to what they have, and as a result want to try and do all of the things that the other people in our lives are doing. We feel that as long as we say 'yes', we will not miss out. I have learned over the years that as long as my 'yes' is rooted in fear, then it is not of God, because fear is not of God.
Right now, I feel that we are all experiencing FOMO like never before. In today's society, our lives can be openly displayed to the world. Unfortunately this also leaves our lives open to scrutiny and judgement. As a result, we are seeking validation from the world. We take at face value what we see on our friends beautifully curated feeds of social media, without one bit of wonder how someone's lives can be that perfect; and fall into the trap of wanting to have similar things. How many times today have you scrolled through Instagram, wondering how perfect your life could be if you had that look, that influence, that job, that talent, that house, that marriage. And without realizing it, you start to compare your life to those on your feed.
We can lose focus on the path that God has called us on. We start to wander off our path and we start to do what we feel is best for us. However, only He knows the bigger plan. We need to trust in Him and be willing to walk on the path that He has for us. God makes all things perfect for those who love Him.
One of the things I noticed about myself when I would fall into this trap was that I would forget my own identity. I would forget that He has created me to be different and unique! That He has given me my own gifts and talents, and that I was created to fulfill His divine purpose. It would get clouded by comparison! Each of us are designed for a different journey! It was honestly so hard for me to accept this truth because I was frustrated! I was entering my 30's as a single woman. I saw friends in marriages, having children, buying homes, and I felt like I had missed out. I felt that because I did not have those things that I was not complete. But that could not have been further from the truth. God takes each of us on our own journey; the important thing is to trust the journey that He is on with us. We need to stand boldly knowing that our identity is in Him, and not what the world says of us, and that that's enough.
The truth is, living with the constant fear of missing out is exhausting and it will cause us to over-commit. Saying 'yes' might make us feel better for a short time, but looming deadlines and commitments can quickly spiral us out of control and overwhelm us. We were not made to keep going! Jesus needed to rest and get away too. He needed to go away with His Father to refresh and spend time with Him.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30
Sadly, we are letting the world dictate and validate our worth and identity. Only the enemy is winning in that situation. We are living a confused and overwhelmed life, neglecting His Word and truth in our lives, and missing out on all that He has for us. We need to remember who we are, whose we are and the God we serve. We need to fully trust that His path for us is perfect and is unique for each of us.