FOMO means fear of missing out. This new sociological epidemic has only increased as social media allows us to see virtually almost everything everyone else is doing all the time.
Different people cope with FOMO in different ways. My coping mechanism is to just stick with what I know, zone out all the other options and order the same thing at the same place everywhere I go.
Others go frozen and can’t choose anything due to the enormous about of options. They get invited to 4 parties on Saturday but can’t decide which one they want to attend so they stay home in their pajamas stressing out all day and consequently missing them all.
As culture we demand choice. We demand options. We imagine that more options means more freedom. And most people think that limitless freedom must be a good option.
The irony, is that, studies show this apparently limitless choice doesn’t actually make us happy. The number of choices available to us becomes overwhelming, and actually makes it difficult for us to ever have the joy of fully committing to anything or anyone. Even if we do commit, our culture makes us feel dissatisfied with the choice we’ve made.
It becomes much more dangerous, much more of a spiritual danger, when we take the same multiplicity of trivial options we have at Starbucks, and apply them to the bigger questions:
Where we should work?
Where we should we go to school?
Where we should live?
Whom we should marry?
Who should we worship?
Where should we worship?
It seems that the more options we have, the more afraid we are of choosing. We become enslaved to being noncommittal. We don’t want to make a mistake or cut down our options. In fact, we may become so fearful of making a choice, we simply refuse to choose.
When the enemy of God can get us to be noncommittal, it can cause massive destruction.
Lack of commitment kills our relationships, because it tells us it’s better not to become too involved. We might make the wrong choice, so make no choice at all. Lack of commitment kills our serving, because it tells us to keep our evenings and weekends free in case something better comes up.
Lack of commitment kills our giving, because it tell us there might be uncertain financial times coming so you better keep the money because you never know when you might need it. There may be a better more attractive cause to give to, so don’t commit right now to the current need.
Chuck Swindoll tells a story about a woman, who wanted to marry four men. “First she wanted to marry a banker. Then she hoped to marry an actor. Next, she desired to marry a preacher. And, finally, she wanted to marry a funeral director. When asked why in that order (banker, actor, preacher, funeral director), she responded, “One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, and four to go!”
Not surprisingly, the very opposite of what culture bends toward, the very opposite of the FOMO phenomena is the fact that – following Jesus takes deep commitment.