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?
In 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.