In the age of social media, there is added pressure to show the world our perfection. We post photos of the kids doing great things or showing how well they are doing in school. The birthday photos and the graduation pictures. The piano recitals and the awards that were hard earned.
Don’t get me wrong. It is nice to share with our friends how we are doing. Proud parent moments are good. The issue comes when we get caught in the comparison game or when we have the fear of missing out. That fear is so prevalent that we have a shorthand for it: FOMO.
Most of the time, I really don’t have FOMO. I do not worry too much about what other people are doing in their spare time. It is sometimes nice to catch up on social media to see what is going on, but there are times when FOMO catches hold of me.
I have a small group of friends that meets once a week (if we’re lucky) to go through a Bible study and visit. We talk about life and what is happening. We talk about grandkids for those in the group that have them, and we talk about our kids. We ensure we take time together to do life together.
One small group friend, Dennis, likes to go on walks or hikes out in nature. He’ll take a walk with his wife or alone to be outside in God’s good creation. One aspect of those walks is to leave the phone at home or go to places where the phone doesn’t work. Dennis doesn’t even bring the phone along to take pictures to post or share with anyone else. He simply saves those images in his own mind.
He has coined a phrase I have come to like a lot. It is the Joy of Missing Out. It is joy because he doesn’t interrupt his time in nature, the time spent with God, by being distracted. He doesn’t wonder if the photo is good, how many likes it will get, or how he might get caught up in the scroll when it is posted.
It is joy to spend time with loved ones while being fully present; giving our full attention to another person.
It is joy because that time spent alone, that time spent with God, recharges the soul and helps us to understand that we are children of the Most High God.
For those of us that like a challenge, take a 48-hour media fast this week. Cut out the internet, the television, newspapers and magazines, radio stations, and video games. For some of us, this will create a bit of free time.
You might be wondering what you will do in that void. Try playing a board game or card game with friends and family. Read a book. Take a walk outside. Get coffee with friends. Exercise.
May you discover the Joy of Missing Out.