The “fear of missing out” is real. For an Enneagram Type 7 like myself, it taunts and teases me, pushing me into a corner, where I feel like a toddler puffy-cheek pouting in timeout.
You see, I want to taste and touch and experience every aspect of life. Because of that, choices overwhelm me.
What should I wear today? (Ultimately it’s based on comfort and color and practicality.)
What do I want to eat? (It’s better not to ask. I usually don’t know, although I’ll never say no to chips and salsa.)
How should I prioritize my day? (There are 8000 things I want to do in one day, so I eventually – somewhat painfully – just pick one.)
These choices are small. But what about the bigger decisions of life?
This past week, on the heels of July, which was split with a ministry adventure to West Virginia (Camp ROYAL) and family vacation in Colorado, I landed in August with 7 (yes, S-E-V-E-N) big decisions on my plate.
Ugh. The exhaustion of constantly having to prioritize what’s most important or what’s best to put aside for a season. Does this resonate with you? (Shall we pause and enjoy a cup of tea instead?!)
True confession: I’m terrible at editing… not just in writing, but, more importantly… in life.
So last week (and part of this week), I’ve been discerning decisions about two part-time job offers or running full speed ahead with vision I have through freelance ministry endeavors as well as whether or not to attend two work conferences, one spiritual retreat, and a 40th birthday trip for a friend.
Here’s the problem: it ALL seems thrilling. And guess what? I DON’T WANT TO MISS OUT.
On Sunday in the aftermath of some of that decision-making, the sermon at my church was about fear because, as my pastor said, “It’s a form of focus.” I sat through the sermon and jotted lots of notes, per norm, feeling slightly high and mighty and grateful that fear isn’t something I really struggle with. And then, after the sermon, during worship and a time of reflection, I got the gentle Jesus slap to the face.
IT HIT ME. THE FEAR OF “MISSING OUT” IS A REAL FEAR. And it carries too much weight in my life. So it IS a struggle. Sheesh.
As I sat there wide-eyed in self-analysis mode, running my brainwaves through the trails of all the events and conversations and questions of last week, I realized that the fear of missing out was hindering my ability to make wise decisions. Somehow it had floated itself to the top of the surface as a PRIORITY in my decision-making processes.
NO NO NO. NO MORE!
Here’s why: Because in that moment, standing in total shock of this revelation and in a response of dazed surrender, I realized that WHEN I’M WITH GOD, I CANNOT BE MISSING OUT.
See, if my goal is to be in His will, to be WITH HIM, aware of His Presence… that requires that I go where He is… where He is leading, guiding, directing, releasing.
And even more than that. HE IS IN ME.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you. ~ Psalm 139:7-12
So I literally cannot be missing out… because if I am with Him, and He is with me, I am missing nothing. The opportunity to my right or left is NOT better if He is not leading me there. It’s not more fun. It doesn’t have nicer people or ideas that will bring clarity or revelation. It’s not better than where I am right now.
It CANNOT be if He is NOT with me there. And because He is with me, because He resides in me, where I am is where I need to be.
There is no missing out for you or me… except on one thing: the fear of missing out. I’m happy to bid that one adieu.