I’m pretty sure I first read the acronym “FOMO” in Lisa-Jo Baker’s book, Never Unfriended. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it means “fear of missing out.”
It’s a powerful motivator, if you think about it. It’s actually the root cause of peer pressure. It motivates kids and teens to do, say, and think things they wouldn’t otherwise do, say, or think. It motivates parents to buy their children items they don’t need so they can “keep up” with what the other kids have. It motivates us to overextend our children with extracurricular activities in hopes that they’ll be able to experience every sport, instrument, and activity offered–especially the ones we “missed. (Side note: I have been a piano teacher for years and years. Extracurricular activities, in moderation, can be an awesome addition to a kid’s life! It’s just vital that we examine our motivations about why we’re signing them up.)
The Bible is full of people struggling with F.O.M.O. It started in Genesis 3.
“Eve is the original FOMO girl. She’s basically like, ‘Oh my goodness, God has left me out of something.'” -Lisa-Jo Baker
Eve was afraid God was holding out on her, so she listened to the serpent and ate of the forbidden fruit. Lot’s wife was afraid she’d miss all she left behind in Sodom, so she turned around, disobeying God, and was turned into a pillar of salt. Jacob was afraid of missing out on Isaac’s blessing, so he deceived Isaac and stole the blessing from Esau. Saul was afraid of missing out on the kingdom, so he tried to kill God’s appointed successor, David. David was afraid of missing out on a pretty wife, so he committed adultery, and then murder, in order to marry her. The examples of FOMO in the Bible are ENDLESS.
And yet, I believe there can be a good side to F.O.M.O. And I think there are a few examples in the Bible that prove it. For instance, Peter was afraid of missing out on the chance to walk on water. Paul was afraid of “settling” into complacency and missing out on a deeper walk with God. In both of these examples, God used the “FOMO” these men were experiencing to do amazing miracles. Their FOMO translated into faith.
As for me, I don’t want to miss out on a single thing God has for me. I don’t want to miss out on a miracle because of my unbelief or distraction. I’m afraid of missing out on a chance to disciple my children after they’ve had a rough day or a disagreement with a friend. I’m afraid of missing out on reaching one of my students for Christ. I’m afraid of missing out on hearing His voice prompting me to encourage a weary friend. I’m afraid of missing out on Him. And it keeps me “on my toes” spiritually. It keeps me tuned in. It motivates me to be “ready always to give an answer” about the hope that I have in Christ.
See? FOMO is not always a bad thing. It’s all about what you’re afraid of missing out on.
What devotionals have you read lately? I wrote one just for moms. You can check it out here!