Tonight at Flame we continued with our "Fear Not" theme by talking about FOMO or "Fear of Missing Out".
We stated with a game of Fishbowl where students draw a name from a basket and have to give clues so the other members of their team can guess it. After that we played a fun game where the students had to put a puzzle together with their team. The only catch was that the lights were off and they had to use a flashlight and work together to put the puzzle together.
We regrouped for a time of worship led by one of our students before our lesson for the night on FOMO.
At its heart, FOMO is the fear of regret. We don't want to regret missing out on something that other people we know are experiencing.
FOMO appears in two big ways in our lives. It happens when we feel obligated to check our phones because we are worried we might miss out on something our friends are doing. It has become socially acceptable for people to have their phones out even when other people are present in the room. The problem is that this means we are focusing on people who aren't even in the room instead of the people directly in front of us. This also leads to people doing dangerous things like texting while driving or even scrolling through facebook on the highway.
The other big way we see FOMO in our lives has to do with committment. It could be an inability to commit to things out of a fear of missing something better down the road. It could also be a committment to too many things because you don't want to miss out on a potentially life giving experience. This can lead to stretching ourselves thin and burnout.
FOMO can lead to stress and anxiety about life and it can lead people to think that there is something wrong with them or that their life is not as good as other people's lives. This happens because most of the things people post on social media happen are positive parts of their life like vacations, cute baby pictures or that really cool meal you had at that new restaurant. Everything posted to instagram gets photoshopped with a filter which can make it look more appealing or interesting.
I think that at its heart, FOMO has to do with relationships. Tonight, the students told me that probably 90 percent of their peers have smartphones. Even without a smart phone, almost every high school student in the US goes online everyday. If all of your friends are posting things about themselves online, even things that are edited to make things look more appealing than they actually were, you are going to want to be online too.
"Search me God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me and
lead me in the way everlasting."
The fact that God knows me and loves me inside and out gives me great comfort in a world that gives us a lot of things to worry about. God is always with us is there to lead us and guide us. We don't have to worry about missing out on things because there is nothing that God misses out on. He has it taken care of.