These days, the world is literally at our fingertips, connected like never before. We can get instant updates on just about everything – live sports scores from New Zealand, political manoeuvring in Washington or Brussels, and what our holiday-making friends are eating or drinking – right now.
There’s a gateway to all this excitement sitting in my pocket, and it’s vibrating…
Just someone posting to a group I’m in. Oh well. Since I got the phone out, I might as well check the news feed and see what else is going on. You never know, there could be something exciting a little further down… Or not. But we still like to check, don’t we?
They’ve even made a name for it: the Fear Of Missing Out (or FOMO). It’s no joke. It’s built in to the foundational design of every social media platform there is, because it’s built in to people. Now that we have access to a virtual world in our pockets, we’re always subconsciously sizing up the real one and wondering if something more exciting is happening in the land of constant connection. Let’s face it: things can move fairly slowly in the real world, and there’s always a new fight forming on Twitter right now!
We want to get the most out of our short time on planet earth, and that’s why our FOMO is so strong: how do I know that what I’m getting out of this moment is “the most”? What if there’s something better on the other end of a screen? What if there’s someone better on the other end of a swipe? Ultimately, we can never know, and unlimited access to a world of options only serves to make the feeling worse.
Rewind to our big assumption, and ask: Is getting the most out of our time on earth really what it’s all about? What does that even mean? The most…
You can choose your prize and go for it, but then again, could you be missing something better by emphasising that one over the other options? FOMO strikes again.
We thought the point was to get the most out of life – we forgot all that our Creator has already given us: Not only our brains and sunsets and jazz, but also a love strong enough to break our shame and restore us to the place where we belong – in His family, forever. Everything we need most was bought and paid for on the cross, and is offered freely from the nail-scarred hand of our Saviour.
And when we’re full with all that He freely gives, the purpose of our lives begins to shift. We no longer feel the need to get all we can out of life, because we already feel full. Little by little, life becomes less about ourselves at all, and more about the One who loves us, and more about how we can share His gifts with everyone around us. Little by little, FOMO wilts, and in its place grows JOG – the Joy Of Giving.