In this ever expanding digital world that has the ability to connect people from all over the globe, a new phenomenon is taking place. It is called FOMO, or the fear of missing out. People are concerned about catching onto the latest social media trend too late or not being able to tweet while the news is breaking. They are bothered when they aren’t able to join in the conversation about the TV, or Netflix, series that everyone seems to be watching or the game everyone seems to be playing. They aren’t online when Beyonce or Kanye drops their latest album at 1 o’clock in the morning. When they’re with their friends they can’t do the Fortnite dances that everyone else seems to know or they haven’t seen the newest Snapchat filter. These feelings keep us up to all hours of the night.
This leads to people constantly checking social media. Spending hours on Twitter, Netflix, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube even when they have friends all around them. This feeling isn’t relegated to just trends, shows or news but it also applies to how we compare ourselves to our friend’s lives on social media. You may be completely content with your life but then you open up Facebook or Instagram and you see your friend travelling to an amazing location, going to the concert you wanted to go to or getting married when you still haven’t had a serious relationship. This leads you to becoming unsatisfied with your life and thinking about all the things you are missing out on because of this or that.
If we are not careful we can allow this attitude to consume our lives to the point that we miss out on the things that truly matter. We can get so bogged down with the news of the day, or the trend of the hour, that we start sacrificing opportunities to enrich our relationships and even ourselves.
I happened upon this scripture the other day in my Bible reading and it has transformed my way of thinking and living. Jesus is teaching his 12 disciples and he is imparting wisdom and authority to them in Matthew 10. He is giving them the authority over unclean spirits, disease and every kind of sickness but with that authority he is giving them instruction as well.
He starts out by directing them to whom they should be ministering to and what they should be preaching. He gives them advise on how they are to travel and what to do if they are rejected. He warns them about the persecution they are going to receive and how they should respond to that. Then he starts starts talking about true discipleship and he drops this word in verse 27:
What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 10:27)
Tell me, how can we hear the whisper of God if we are constantly bombarded by the noise of the world? How will God be able to speak to us in the darkness, in the secret place, if we stay up all night watching Netflix or playing the latest video game? If we have a fear or missing out, it should be a concern that we are missing out on the voice of God in our lives or the direction of the Holy Spirit in our everyday interactions.
This is coming from a place of a personal shift in my own life where I found myself investing so much time in the current events of my own society that I was missing out on what God was wanting to do in me, and through me, in His Kingdom. I allowed the news of the day, or the posts that I was seeing in my social media feeds, to effect my mood and my general disposition.
That is not the will of God. It is His desire to speak to us in the darkness, to whisper in our ears. Because it is what we hear in the darkness, it is what He whispers in our ears, that we are to share to the world around us. We must be someone who is concerned with what God is wanting to say to us and to those who we interact with each and every day.
So I encourage you to examine your own life. Are there some things that you have allowed that are crowding out the voice of God? Are you more concerned with the latest trends than you are with what God is wanting to do in your community? Do you have a fear of missing out?
If we are honest, I’m sure we can all make some changes that will bring about a spiritual shift in our own lives and we can see God move in us, and through us, like never before!