FOMO: The Unintentional Sequel

9:43 AMHeather

I had something else to say today. In fact, I closed out my pretty yucky day yesterday by banging away on my keyboard with another blog post about being on a crazy train and needing to get off ASAP.

I'll save it for a later day. I know you will all sit around with bated breath waiting for that one. Who doesn't want to hear about someone else's crazy?

I really didn't intent to extend my exploration of my recently diagnosed FOMO. But, it would seem that I am not alone in my affliction. I may go so far as to say that FOMO may be a rapidly growing epidemic.

(If you aren't sure what FOMO is...read yesterday's blog post)

Based on your comments and feedback, I'd say that YES, the struggle is REAL when it comes to FOMO. And, I am for sure in good company.

I did have a good chuckle at a comment from my cousin's cousin (I don't even know what that makes her to me, but I claim her as my own!). She admitted her own FOMO and questioning and asked how to live with FOMO.

FOMO.

I giggle because this is the adventurous cousin who is living out of the country for a few months with her entire family, including 3 small children. Just because they had an opportunity to pack up and experience another culture for a few months.

FOMO? 

Listen, cuz. You aren't missing out. What YOU are doing is what WE are missing out on and we wish we were with you. You are the party. From where I sit, you are grabbing life by the horns and jumping off cliffs in faith and living out dreams while you are still young. 

My FOMO means I wonder where the cool kids are gathering.

You, my dear, ARE the cool kids. Living the dream down there in paradise.

Yet, she did raise a good question.

How do you let God guide you when you have FOMO?

Hmm. That's a good question. I decided to write this unintentional sequel to look into that.

So here's my answer.

I have no idea.

The end.

Just kidding!

Okay, but not really. I really don't know. I really don't have any idea or solid answer. 

Because I haven't figured that out yet. I'm right there with you, World Traveler, because I'm wrestling through that myself.  To be honest, I'm sorta smack dab in the middle of it, in fact.

Since the first step is admitting you have a problem--and I just realized a few months ago that what I struggle with has a name (FOMO)...I'm really only on step two over here.

Step One: Identify and admit you have a problem.

Step Two: Now what?

I've long said that I have more ideas and dreams and big picture things than I have time or money or resources.

And obviously, as my blog said yesterday, this FOMO thing has sorta haunted me since the beginning.

From your responses, I'm not alone.

And we are in really good company.

As I was thinking through Christina's question, King David came to mind.

You know, David and his hot shot sling shot? The shepherd boy turned king. The friend of Jonathan and enemy of King Saul. Daddy to Solomon. 

I think David is a classic case of FOMO.

Just think about it. He is sent to the front lines as the Israelites are toe-to-toe with the Philistines. He can't wait to check it all out. Then, he just has to jump in the game. He can't stand it. He sees the quaking Israelites and the puny giants and his bigger God. And he's gotta go for it. Can't pass up that opportunity.

Now, exhibit B.

Her name was Bathsheba. 

Yep. FOMO. 

He saw her. Had to have her. Couldn't miss out on that.

And couldn't let that be his downfall. So he had to cover it all up so that he didn't miss out on all his glory as king.

How about that Ark of the Covenant thing? He HATED that someone else was being blessed because the ark was with them. So he had to go get it and bring it to the City of David (2  Samuel 6). Couldn't miss out on all that favor of God. And lest any party or ark parade or whatever go full tilt without him, he led the way and danced before the Lord with ALL his might. Such a spectacle was all this FOMO fed celebrating that his wife Michal had something to say about it.

"How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today [ancient sarcasm], going around half-naked in full view of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!" (2 Samuel 16:20).

What an encouraging and affirming wife she was.

Makes you wonder WHY he ever felt the need to pursue Bathsheba?

And last but not least on the evidence of King David as one suffering from FOMO was his desire to build the temple for the Lord. Except it seems, that by this time in his life, David has learned to choose the Lord's plans over his own FOMO.

THIS time, David seems to have learned how to let God guide him when he had FOMO.

He wanted to be the one to build that temple. He spoke to his trusted advisor Nathan about this desire. And God revealed to Nathan that David was NOT the one to build the temple.

That night the word of God came to Nathan saying... "I will raise up one of your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for me, and I will estable his throne forever."
1 Chronicles 17:4a, 11-12

So somewhere between David letting his FOMO guide him to that whole mess with Bathsheba and all the consequences and now this late in life picture of David, he seems to have learned how to let God guide him rather than letting his FOMO guide him.

I think a big clue is found in one of my FAVORITE Bible verses:

Then, King David went in and sat before the Lord, and he said, "Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my family that you have brought us this far?"
1 Chronicles 17:16

How do you let God guide you when you have FOMO?

You surrender. You are humble before the Lord, choosing to follow and submit to HIS plans over your own. You recognize where the FOMO wants to take you (building a temple for God, what to do with your afternoon--whatever). And then you take it to God and seek his counsel and submit to what he has for you.

You ask him, on an endless loop, perhaps in a perpetual wrestling match, to guide you. To reveal his plan. To show you his ways. To order your day and your steps and to be the Lord over all-- over all your ideas that FOMO has brought you.

I think we boldly approach him, honestly, and ask him to give us a pillar of fire by night and a cloud by day to guide us, like the Israelites leaving Egypt (Exodus 13:21). 

I think the key to letting God guide us when we live with FOMO is staying in close relationship with God. It's making him big enough in our lives that we are more attuned to his promptings and his leadings. It's learning to discipline ourselves in the art of humble submission through regular prayer (asking and listening) and time in his Word.

It's doing what David did.

Staying in such close connection with God that an intimacy develops. This was a habit first developed in the hours and hours spent watching sheep with God alone as his company.

David was not called a man after God's own heart because of his track record. Remember--this is an adulterer and an accessory to murder whose children ran amok with some pretty awful rebellion.

David was a man after God's own heart because he kept seeking God. He kept talking to him, singing to him, worshipping him, running to him. Every time he stumbled. With every struggle. In the middle of every kind of emotion, with honesty and transparency and no facade. He just kept pursuing God. He kept at the discipline of knowing and loving God more. And in so doing, a humility was born in him. That allowed him to ask God for direction and then to obey when God lead.

Bingo. 

I think we have an answer to the burning question of letting God guide when we have FOMO.

We climb outta bed every day and say, "This is your day. Guide me. Direct me. Order my steps. Give me wisdom to know your way and strength to obey." We spend time with him so that we are better equipped to know his voice. We take decisions to him and ask for clarity. 

And that is a sticking point, I tell you. How to make all the decisions in life?

So here's where I lean there.

I bath the decision in prayer. And ask him to give me unrest about any step I'm not to take--to either make me feel really uneasy about a step I shouldn't take or to block that step.

Then, I move forward and ask him to open the door. I ask him to just keep opening the doors that he has for every step I take forward and to slam doors I'm not to enter. I don't sit back and wait it out until an audible voice says, "Go live in a tropical paradise for a few months."

Instead, I take the steps to research it and break it down to what needs to happen first. I see about the logistical details and ask him to make it all come together or to let it fall apart, according to his plans for me.

My FOMO was at an all time high when we were buying a house 7 years ago. I needed to know it was THE right house and THE right move and THE best thing for our family. 

Side note: If we had been more nilly-willy in our decision making--I still think God can move and bless and show up. Sometimes in life, there isn't really ONE RIGHT ANSWER. It's more the seeking him in the middle of our journeys and asking him to bring about his good for his glory where we are.

So anyway, I perused the MLS listings like a mad woman. Daily. Multiple times a day. Because you never know when a house might suddenly come on the market, say between 10 am and noon.

And my husband and I prayed for wisdom and that God would order our steps and make things clear. We went with our instincts and prayerfully considered each option.  We had set up a list of criteria that we also prayed over to help be our guideline. And every tiny step of the way, we prayed as we jumped into the next step. We asked God to slam the doors where he didn't want us and to throw open the doors where he did.

Because for us, all our possessions are his anyway. We are not the owners, just the stewards of them. So we asked him to help us know the best way to steward our money to buy the home that we could steward well to raise our kids and bless and host other people.

Here's what happened. We got an offer with a request to move quickly toward closing. Like really quickly. So, I asked God to help us find our new home if our old one was going to sell that fast. We asked friends to pray with us.

Not even kidding. It's the coolest thing when you break down big decisions by taking one baby step at a time, asking God to open or close doors as you go. Because it makes you so very aware of every tiny detail and how he shows up and cares.

My son and I--on a "whim"-- decided to drive by a house that seemed to have disappeared suddenly off the MLS. I wondered if the sign on it might say sale pending? So we drove down a little cul-de-sac street, less than a mile from our old home...

...and we slowed as we neared the address. The sign was gone, but again--I am not even kidding.

A man was literally hammering a "for sale by owner" sign in his front yard next door.

I said a quick prayer and took a jump forward. 

I slammed on my brakes and quite uncharacteristically, rolled down my window and asked the man if I was the first customer.  He thought I was kidding. With a boldness not my own, I asked how quickly we could see the house and I did not take no for an answer.

Just who did I think I was?

I was a girl with FOMO. Who asked God to guide our big decision. And determined to take little steps forward, asking him to open and close doors on our path.

You guessed it. We looked at the house that night, made an offer in less than 48 hours, and we have never once doubted that this house is our home and a blessing we don't deserve.

When you live with FOMO, you have a choice to make. You can either overthink and overanalyze every little decision and live in a place of discontent and questioning.

Or you can just run to Jesus with it all. You can pursue him more than the things that feed your FOMO. You can go with a gut or instinct or a feeling of where you think you need to go and continually ask him to guide your paths, placing obstacles where you shouldn't go and pouring favor where you should.


And because I believe firmly in the power of God's word to encourage and guide us, I looked up some verses about letting God guide us and lead us and seeking his plans for us. Reading them, memorizing them, and praying them can bring powerful clarity when wrestling with FOMO. It helps us to think on that which is true. It helps us to submit to God in our day. And it reminds us of his faithfulness and promises.

So pray and read away, bloggy friends. Let the Word of God guide you as you battle on against FOMO! 

Jeremiah 29:11
Psalm 33:11
Proverbs 16:3
Proverbs 19:21
Acts 17:26
Psalm 139:16
Matthew 6:33
Exodus 13:21 and Psalm 78:14
Psalm 23:3
Psalm 25: 5, 9
Psalm 31:3
Psalm 48:14
Isaiah 58:11
Psalm 5:8
Psalm 143:10
Proverbs 4:11
2 Corinthians 2:14

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