Finding the Joy in Missing Out

Replacing FOMO with JOMO: There is joy in missing out on what's best for everyone else's life so that you can live what's best for your life. Live it in love with joy.

My FOMO (fear of missing out) is actually a confirmation of having missed out every time I get online. I'm reminded of what others are doing that I'm not; local gatherings I wasn't invited to; and life milestones that I haven't met or may never meet, but my peers have.

I've actually missed out on a lot in life. Some even big things that I still think about years after the fact. Like not going to one of my BFF's weddings over a decade ago. Or not graduating high school. I've also missed out on building a career and buying a home (at least for now).

Missing out is a fact of life, and fearing it is just causing me to miss out on what I have here and now. We have every right and even the power to replace our fear and disappointment with joy, contentment, and gratitude.

Everything I have "missed out on" represents some other opportunity or life experience I got to be a part of.

I didn't make it to my friend's wedding because I was about to have a baby and didn't want to risk travelling out of state. I didn't graduate high school because it seemed pointless after the life experience I gained living overseas the nine months before. I set aside my career and our hopes of buying a home so that I could be the daily caregiver for our kids while they were young.

It all depends on our focus--am I too busy pouting about what I've missed to see the joy of what I have?

Because I have a lot, and not appreciating it in some ways is equal to not having it. Giving into the fear or disappointment over comparisons keeps me from even recognizing what's right in front of me. It may not be a lot compared to others, but since it's all I've got, it's everything to me.

Following are a few things I'm learning about replacing fear with joy:

1. There is no fear in love.
"Perfect love casts out fear." (1 John 4:18) Fear when talked about in the FOMO context is often said in more of a joking way, but I believe it's fear nonetheless. It has no place in my life or in my faith. Jesus' perfect love casts out fear, where it is replaced with peace and joy and goodness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)

2. We get to choose abundant life.
Jesus said that "the thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy." Doesn't that sound like what happens when we let social media, comparisons, or other distractions or addictions suck the life out of us? Trivializing it just gives it more power. But Jesus came that we "may have life, and have it more abundantly." (John 10:10) I believe it's possible. When we take back what's being taken from us by being present and attentive and thankful. Living this one life we have with abundance.

3. Fullness of joy is in love.
After Jesus talked about the vine and branches, he summarized by saying, "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love." And we abide in His love by following his commandments to love (see #4 below). When we do this--when we abide in Jesus by loving--His joy remains in us in full. (John 15:9-11) Fullness of joy is in the fullness of our love.

4. Love as Jesus loved--in person.
Jesus' commandment is that we "love one another" as He has loved us (John 15:12). He could love us from afar--and He did/does. But He came to this world to love us in person, then gave us the Holy Spirit so that we can continue to be loved in person. Isn't that the best way to love? In person? Giving of our self? If you take away all the extras of life, what's left, the actual substance of life is love--being loved and loving others. We don't do that by being consumed and distracted and handing our lives away. We do that by being present and attentive to those around us.

Whether our fear keeps us chasing what isn't meant for us, or if it's just the emotional pit that lingers when we see our "dull" lives in contrast to "everyone else's"--the power to change that is not in doing more. It's in simply being.

Be present in this moment, in all of its unglamorous glory and know that this is life. This breathing. These people. This home. These choices that you've made and the ones still ahead. The way you spend your time and the moments that make up your life.

There is joy in it, joy in missing out on what's best for everyone else's life so that you can live what's best for your life.

Live it in love with joy.


also see:
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getting through season transitions
how to get the most out of today
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*Credit to my sister-in-law Michaela who first introduced me to the idea of JOMO (joy of missing out) years ago.