Have you noticed that every time your smart phone buzzes, whistles, chirps, beeps, or dings, something in you can’t help wondering “Oooh. What was that? I wonder if it’s something important. Who sent me something? I must know right this instant.”
Have you heard of FOMO? It’s a thing. I read recently that FOMO was added to the latest edition of a popular English-language dictionary. FOMO is an acronym for “Fear Of Missing Out.” It was coined for an entire generation of people who are constantly worried they’re going to miss something.
We ask, “What am I missing?”
“I might miss someone’s funny cat picture.”
“I might miss the next video clip that goes viral. Then tomorrow everyone else will have seen it, and I’m going to look like some kind of idiot because I haven’t seen it yet.”
“I might miss the next trailer for that movie that doesn’t come out until eight months from now.”
“I might miss a really beautiful inspirational quote from some person I’ve never heard of.”
“I might miss someone Liking that picture I posted twenty minutes ago.”
Ask yourself this question: at the end of your life, is it really going to matter how many “Likes” you got? Do you honestly believe that you’re going to be lying on your deathbed one day thinking to yourself, “If I had gotten just three more Likes on that picture I posted of that weird tomato back in ’15, I would have made an even hundred. One hundred Likes. Triple-digit Likes. Ooh, life would have been so good. #ICanDieHappy #RIPme”
Life is not about how many Likes you get. It is all about how much love you show. The only way people will know that you are a follower of Jesus is by how well you love other people.
Have your children been begging for your attention? Have they been acting out? Maybe instead of posting online about how they’re driving you crazy, you should put down the phone and engage them face-to-face. Maybe you argue, “Well, they’re doing the same thing! I can’t peel them away from that stupid device!” That may be true. But you’re the parent. It’s your job to teach your children (no matter their age) how to engage in real life in ways that make it more meaningful than anything they can get looking at a screen and tapping pictures.
Instead of FOMO online, what you really should be afraid of is missing out on the people in front of you. You may be missing out on your children growing up. You may be missing out on enjoying an intimate marriage. You may be missing out on deep friendships filled with meaning. Is your fear that you’re going to miss out on something causing you to miss out on what matters most?
Figuring this out in your own life is going to take a little effort on your part. But maybe it’s time for you to make some basic rules like these:
Phone curfew is 10:00pm: phones get silenced and plugged in somewhere out of sight.
When you’re with your family or close friends, phones get silenced so they don’t even vibrate and are placed face down. Nobody picks up their phone during dinnertime or at your small group.
Really think this through. If you’re in bed with your spouse while you’re both on your phones, and you text her, “In the mood?” there’s something wrong. She texts back, “Sry not tonite #headache.” If you’re not laughing at this, maybe it’s because you can picture it happening — if it hasn’t already.
“Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions” (1 John 3:18 NLT).
Don’t just pray for people. Pray with them.
Don’t just Like what they post. Like who they are.
Get involved in one another’s lives.
The greatest weapon the first-century followers of Jesus had was their love for each other. The outside world persecuted them so fiercely that they were driven together into a radical, unifying love for one another. If anyone among them had a need, someone else sold some of their possessions and used the money to meet that need. Scripture says that they were so generous and so loving that “there were no needy persons among them” (Acts 4:32-37).
Can you imagine? The sceptical world looking on was thinking, “You know, I’m not so sure about that whole Jesus-being-raised-from-the-dead business. I’m not sure I believe what they believe, but I sure wish I had what they have. They love each other and care for each other.”
That’s exactly what Jesus said would happen: “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are My disciples” ( John 13:35 NLT).
They won’t know that you’re His disciple by how many followers you have.
They won’t know that you’re His disciple by how many Likes you get.
They won’t know that you’re His disciple by how quickly you respond to emails.
Believe it or not, they won’t even know that you’re His disciple by how many Bible verses you post.
No, they will know that you’re Jesus’ disciple when they see His love in you through your actions. When you get involved in the lives of other people, when you care for them right where they are, when you open up your heart and do life with them — that’s when they’ll see something in you that they really want. Then when they ask you what makes you so different from everybody else, you’ll be able to say, “God gave His Son for me to forgive me of my sins. I’ve found freedom and life in Him, and that’s how I’m able to show you this kind of love.”
Others won’t know you by your Likes
They will know you by His love.