FOMO. Fear of missing out. It’s an acronym those in my grandmothers’ generation never knew. And yet, a phrase that didn’t exist 30 years ago is defining my generation.
In the past two weeks, I’ve probably heard it used at least a dozen times. Fear of missing out if I don’t go to the party. Fear of missing out if I move away. Fear of missing out if I join a different small group. Fear of missing out on the chicken if I order the beef.
Fear. Fear Fear.
of something missing.
Our culture is saturated with the idea that we are going to miss out. And I believe the constant “in your face” MORE is creating an unhealthy mindset about more than just parties and small groups and menu selections.
It’s molding us into a dissatisfied generation, always looking for the greener grass and always wondering if what we have is the best and brightest and shiniest version of what life can be.
And this is where I found myself months back, as I purchased new sheets. Sheets are sheets right? Oh ye of little bedding knowledge. If you google ‘bedsheets comparison’, you will literally find numerous links and a chart that compares different thread counts, materials, prices, brands, colors, styles. You name it and you can probably compare it.
And you would think that Target wouldn’t have that many types to choose from right? Wrong again. So, there I am, reading labels. Comparing prices. Feeling materials. Should I get Egyptian cotton? Should I go with a cheaper option and spend that money on nicer pillows? This and that and what if this and what if that. Probably for a good hour.
And eventually I left because I just couldn’t decide and I didn’t want to pay for something that wasn’t the best choice. A few weeks later, I went back. I made a purchase. Only to decide two days later that I should have gone with a different color and a different thread count. And the cycle continued.
While you may walk away from this thinking nothing more than, “Oh man, Audrey’s crazy and needs to work on being more assertive and decisive” [both of which are true], I also hope it gets you thinking about how the fear of missing out on something “better” is molding us into a people who are never satisfied with the perfectly wonderful right in front of us.
Fear of missing out affects my relationships. My career choices. The way I spend my time. The way I spend my money.
It affects my relationship with God.
If I’m constantly walking around wondering if I have chosen the “best” option or made the “best” decision or that I will miss out on some great and wild adventure God has for me but instead I “settled,” it’s going to be pretty hard to experience contentment, joy, and peace.
Because the fact of the matter is that our media and our culture shoves “more” in our face because there’s “more” to shove.
There will always be more that makes the grass seem greener. There will always be a job that seems to be a better fit on paper. A career that falls in line with more of your passions. With more flexibility. There will always be a prettier girl to date. A funnier guy. Someone that seems “more compatible.”
And so I think we have to retrain our minds and our hearts to quit wondering about the “What ifs.” To quit wondering about what could be over THERE or what will happen if you chose THAT. It’s not inherently bad to assess and consider your options. Often, it’s wise. But if it’s filling your chest with panic and your mind with anxiety and your heart with dissatisfaction–it’s an issue.
I’m finding that when I’m fearful of whether or not I’m making the right choices, it robs me of the place God has me right now. In those choices. In that job. In those relationships.
And in that fear, there IS something better. There’s right here. This moment. My current choice. There’s the comfort of knowing that no matter what choice I make, God will work in it.
And I think if I can remember that, then maybe the fear won’t dominate so many of my decisions. I won’t be worried about what I’ll miss out on. I’ll only be able to recognize the good He’s working in all things.