Free to Listen vs. Fear of Missing Out

The fear of missing out (FOMO) is a modern, first-world problem. We have so many choices we simply can’t make one. I often struggle with decisions. When you start a business or a ministry, or do anything entrepreneurial, choices will arise. I can get paralyzed by too many choices. Studies have consistently shown (one reference here) how too many choices make it harder for each of us to make decisions. Sometimes we even pass up an obvious benefit by not making a simple choice.

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NASB

Often, when I’m engaged in a discussion with someone else, fear of missing out can prompt me to scan my environment  considering other options for something else to do with my time. Have you ever noticed when you’re talking to someone they may be looking past you at someone behind you? When you talk one-on-one with a friend and there is a crowd nearby, do you focus on the person you’re talking to, or do you continue to look around to see who else you need to speak with?

Free to Listen vs. Fear of Missing Out | Follower of OneIn an earlier post, I listed 5 reasons why I need to listen better. A 6th reason came up while I was reading the Bible today. God may have something for me in this moment with this person. God may intend to speak to me in my present conversation or my present activity. I listen better when I remember 1 Thessalonians 5:18 above because the author reminds me to give thanks for everything. My current circumstance is not outside of God’s control.

My thankfulness is God’s will for me. He desires that I be present in the moment, and thankful to him for whatever I’m doing. When I make myself present with God in every activity, I become open to his direction, guidance, knowledge, blessing and opportunities he has for me. Without my presence in the moment, I might miss out on opportunities God provides to follow him and make him known.

When I trust God with my situation, I’m free to listen, and focus on the present activity. Fear of missing out distracts me and causes me to miss out on the opportunities God gives in this moment.

What about you? Do you ask God for direction each day? Do you watch for opportunities to make God visible?  Today, I asked God to remind me to trust him and listen carefully. I don’t want to wonder about what I missed. I want to be present with God and watch him work.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

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2 Responses

  1. Excellent article with some great direction and substantive food for thought. My wife will attest to my lack of listening skills. Being present in the moment is so difficult at times. Too much situational awareness/analysis and FOMO can lead to a type of paralysis and overwhelming of the ability to discern the direction of the Holy Spirit. I once heard a speaker at a conference video say that he has a rule–No Bible, No Breakfast, No Bible, No Bed. Every morning he would randomly open the Bible, select a verse, write it down on a peace of paper, then carry it with him and reflect on how the verse might be the Holy Spirit offering direction to a particular situation in life. He would do the same thing right before bed. There are so many competing voices throughout the day, learning to listen to the “Right Voice” for direction is challenging. Thanks for the reminder to stay in the moment under the mantle of God, and just be thankful to be there where you can listen to HIs promptings away from everything that is going on around us.

    1. David, thanks for passing along a great idea. I knew listening would be an important topic. I was writing primarily about listening to the people God brings across our path. But there is the problem of our thought life and the ideas we listen to. We need to consider what (and Who) we listen to on the inside _while_ we listen to the people around us. Stay tuned… And Thanks again!

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