They call them Desperados.
Whatever the swell is doing you always see someone out there, waiting for a wave they can catch. It’s an addiction. Or so my uncle says.
The fear of missing out – or as is abbreviated nowadays, FOMO.
While we were visiting family in Sydney over the summer it was amazing to see the number of surfers out in the middle of the day when there was very little swell. The fear and addiction that possessed them meant they couldn’t afford to miss a wave. In fact, when a good looking wave did come along, some surfers floated over it hoping that the next one would be even better.
I get serious FOMO. Or rather, I certainly used to. I feel like I’ve turned a bit of a corner with it although it still creeps in now and again, but suffice to say I generally hate missing out. In fact, I used to suffer from such severe FOMO that if I had committed to one thing with a person and then a better offer materialised, I would come up with some excuse as to why I couldn’t make the first commitment and pretend to have double booked. (Your opportunity to judge me.)
But where does this fear of missing out come from? Why do so many suffer from it?
1. We are never satisfied
It can be hard to hear, but we doubt the provision of God and ultimately the satisfaction that he brings if we worry about missing out. When we constantly crave what someone else has or what someone else is doing we are essentially disregarding all that God has placed in our lives.
Secondly, we find ourselves in a similar position to the Samaritan woman who was confronted by these words from Jesus, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.”
Jesus offers us living water that will never run out, that will always satisfy and will lead us to echo the Psalmist “I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.”
2. The Social Media Age
Our generation has been labelled the information age – but in simpler terms we have been defined by Social Media. The sooner we realise that what we see on Social Media is really only people’s 'life highlights', the better. I see Mum’s posting pictures of their adorable babies, but let’s be honest, we don’t see many nocturnal videos of the screaming babies with overloaded nappies, or the beautiful flowers that were bought by your boyfriend…just after the argument you had about whether your bum looked big in it or not.
In my experience, the more I indulge in and covet other people’s lives, the more I get sucked into the lie of social media, the more I doubt God’s provision in my life. It’s a tactic of the enemy to make us question our identity and to feel like we are missing out on what everyone else is doing.
Helpful Tip: Write all the things God has done in the last month for you or all the things God has provided for you.
James Lee is Head of Communications at Something More. He is also a teacher and lives in Bristol with his wife where he has discovered a new found love for power drills.