My daughter suffers from FOMO.
Don’t worry, while it sounds like it’s painful, it’s really not.
At least, not too much.
FOMO is an acronym for the “Fear Of Missing Out”.
For her, it means she refuses to sleep in late, Mommy and Daddy can never have alone time, if you’re doing something – she wants a part of it, and her love bucket gets filled when we have a house full of people who are paying attention to her.
The reality is, most of us suffer from some sort of FOMO. Especially during the Christmas season.
Parents fear they’ll miss out on giving their children a great Christmas experience, or buying the perfect gift, or buying a gift as good as some other parent did for their kid.
Men fear they will miss out on specials on electronics they don’t need, or the last cup of egg nog, or the chance to feel manly by starting a fire in the fireplace.
Women fear they’ll miss out on pumpkin spice lattes, or the perfect Christmas dress, or the peace they so desire during such a hectic time of year.
Kids, like my daughter, fear they’ll miss out on…well, everything!
Sometimes FOMO is darker, though, and reveals the inner working of our hearts…
When we become addicted to our screens and social media to the neglect of our family, because we fear we’ll miss some piece of news or gossip.
When married couples fear they are missing out on some other person, so they begin flirting or having an affair.
When employees fear they are missing out on better pay, so they lie and steal from their employer.
When teenagers fear they are missing out on fun, so they turn to alcohol, drugs, and promiscuity.
We aren’t the first people to suffer with Fear Of Missing Out.
There were two people, who existed long before we did, who struggled with the same condition.
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.”
Genesis 3:1-6 ESV
We’re not alone.
In the garden, Adam and Eve struggled with Fear Of Missing Out, and the serpent knew they would. It only took a few words to plant questions and doubts in their mind.
“Will I miss out on something else by obeying God?”
“Is God hiding something from me? Something I deserve?”
“Am I missing out right now on having something I desire?”
If we’re honest – their questions are our own.
Their curiosity and doubt – ours.
Their disobedience – ours.
Their sin – ours.
What we fail to realize is that Jesus Christ came to eliminate fear, and he did so by supplying our every need in Christ.
“…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear…” 1 John 4:18
We usually think of these truths when we are afraid of facing something dangerous, intimidating, or disheartening.
What we must see is that Christ’s elimination of fear goes down to our very souls.
God provides for us perfect love, both in himself and through Jesus Christ and the work of His Spirit within us.
Our repentance and faith in Him, because He has drawn us near, provide for us a secure and safe place free from fear.
We don’t have to fear there may be something better – Christ is our full joy and sufficient satisfaction.
We don’t have to fear we may miss something wonderful – Christ holds our wonder and awe.
We don’t have to fear that God is hiding something better from us – the fullness of Christ has been given to us, not hidden from us, so that we may be reconciled and made new.
The only thing we need to fear missing out on is the joy God provides to us through His Son.
And that one has a simple solution – repent and believe.