It has been said before that every fear in life comes down to the fear of death. That the fear of heights, is essentially just the fear of falling, and the fear of depths is really just the fear of being crushed. Believe it or not though, there is a far more powerful apprehension out there than the fear of death. In its simplest sense, this fear is known as FOMO, or the fear of missing out. Far more often than not, this fear dominates our lives and extinguishes many of our dreams and desires. It even trumps the fear of death, because the fear of our own demise is actually just a fear of missing out on life.
Like most fears, the fear of missing out is rooted in a lack of trust. A lack of trust in God’s provision for oneself and a lack of trust that each individual’s experience is just as meaningful as the next. Thanks to the accessibility of the internet, this lack of trust is a lot more widespread. Because social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram primarily feature the highlights of one’s life, individuals feel tempted to compare their past and present circumstances to that of others. The question then becomes, if others are having such a good time, successful relationship, or exciting experience, what does that say about the lives of those observing?
When it comes down to it, FOMO is nothing more than a competition between two individuals. This emotion has not only proven itself harmful, but it is also very unbiblical to say the least. In 2 Corinthians 10:12, Paul claims,
“Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.”
It goes without saying here that Paul is more than disapproving of such a self-absorbed mindset. He contends that even the smallest of comparisons are unwise, and suggests that such assessments do not contribute to kingdom work or spiritual growth in any way. Similarly, the author of Galatians 6:4-5 voices, “But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.” Again, believers are encouraged to shift their focus away from their peers and concentrate on developing themselves apart from others.
This is a crucial component to overcoming the fear of missing out. Since FOMO is essentially an insecurity of sorts, it is important to establish clear goals and visions independent of the ambitions of others. When we find where our self-identity is rooted, we are able to have assurance in a fulfilling future. Thankfully, as believers of the One True God, we can be sure of who we are and where we are going because of what He as done in us. This promise is recognized in a number of instances. Not the least in which is Proverbs 16:3, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”
While it can be easy to cave into the vicious cycle of FOMO, I encourage each of you to embrace individuality and look forward to the experiences He has already set into motion. His Will is good and perfect and there is therefore no room for missing out. So hold fast to these truths, trust in Him, and I am sure of this, “That he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).”
Originally published on the Greenville University Papyrus.