FOMO, have you ever heard the term? I hadn’t until a while ago. It’s a “thing,” a thing many of us struggle with yet few of us have any idea of its meaning.
The Urban Dictionary defines FOMO as:
“Fear of missing out.” The fear that if you miss a party or event you will miss out on something great.”
It goes on to say,
“The intensely annoying act of being psychologically and physically compelled to open social networking or email applications at inappropriate times. The FOMO phenomena generally occurs during mid-conversation with friends and loved ones, usually resulting in the individual(s) involved in the conversation that are not afflicted with FOMO, experiencing isolated incidents of intense rage.”
Now, after reading that – how many of us have already diagnosed someone we know?
After my original reading of this definition, I took it with a grain of salt – read it, acknowledged I didn’t have it – identified who I know that does, and then moved on thinking this “thing” was not mine. That was my thought until mid-conversation with a coworker I reached for my phone to check email, and then later that evening talking to my husband I reached for my phone again to scroll through my social media feed – that’s when it hit me – this “thing” actually is a “thing” – and maybe I’m not above it – maybe a lot of us aren’t above it.
I took a social media break several months back. It was difficult. I felt completely disconnected and found myself out of the loop. I missed gatherings, birthdays, anniversaries, and a few life events – I missed out. Yet in the midst of all my missing out, something wonderful happened – I felt more connected with those inside my home, and it got me thinking…
FOMO is a term that was coined back in 2004, but it’s been a “thing,” for a very long time. It isn’t new with the introduction of social media, and new technological tools, it’s only amplified by them as they make it easier for us to become distracted from where our true fear of missing out should be – a fear of missing out on relationship with our husband and children. Titus 2:3-5 tells us we are to be, “keepers at home.” If the Enemy of our soul can get our eyes off of it, he can slip right in, take up residence without ever being noticed. He can kick up his nasty feet for months, maybe even years before you take notice – IF he can keep us distracted long enough.
Ladies – we are master planners. We can coordinate our schedules impeccably making it possible that we can go to work, pick-up groceries, throw something together and be out the door in no time. We are then on our way to a dinner party with our neighbors, leaving just in time to get to our college friend’s gender reveal party, only to get home put the kids to bed, and then get back up and do it all again the next day. It’s impressive, really, the things we can cram in all in the name of not wanting to miss, or not wanting to offend. Trying to coordinate my calendar recently, I was reminded through a voice on a podcast saying, just because you can do it all – doesn’t mean you should. Living a schedule like this feels good socially – it really does, but it opens wide, a door of distraction where we might miss the rough day our husband had at work – or the project that needs done for our child’s class on Monday.
Have you ever noticed how easy it is lose track of time mindlessly scrolling through social media, or email? It can feel as though you no more than sat down and BOOM an hour is gone. All the while dinner needs started, laundry needs switching, homework needs checked, and your husband just walked in the door after a day at the office. At that moment you feel the stress pouring on as you realize you now have ten things to get done and zero time to do them causing us to feel irritable, frustrated, and possibly causing us to lash out at those closest to us.
The Role of a Gatekeeper
God’s word is crystal clear, our first priority and duty is to be the gatekeeper of our home. We are to tend to our husband, care for our children, hold conversations with them – learn the things they like – make time to enjoy the things they enjoy. Proverbs 22:6, “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” We are to teach them and stand watch over what is coming into our home and going on around outside of it. This fear of missing out on all things social, if we aren’t careful, stands in direct opposition to this work allowing the Enemy to step right in.
We are social beings…
A lot of us are drawn to social gatherings, even energized by them. It feels good to be included in different events, meetings, and social opportunities. We love to know we are accepted – but here’s the thing – just as much as we love to know we are accepted and included – our husbands love to know that they are accepted and included by us. Our children love to know that we want to hear what they have to say, and we want to help them with that math problem that’s giving them a fit.
A call for intention
God has placed a precious gift into our hands, and it isn’t our social media feed or email inbox, God’s gift to us is not to be in the know of everything, or in the midst of every social gathering. Yes, he did make us to be social beings and live in community – but his first priority and gift to us is our husband and our children and our job is standing watch over those relationships.
If you find yourself struggling in this area – There is no shame – no judgement. It is a “thing,” but just as with every other “thing” there’s a remedy for this one, and its remedy is found through intention and focus. Look over your calendar, look to see how much time you’re spending at home. Are you intentionally carving out time to keep your family relaxed and the time you have together focused and enjoyable?
As women, we long to be included, it’s hard for us to say, “no.” However, we need to understand the importance of doing so, because saying “no,” to some things helps us to say, “yes,” to God in his call to be the wife he needs us to be to the husband he’s given us to love, and the mother he has created us to be for the children he’s placed in our hands.