In Light of Eternity … do I have FOMO?

This is one of those moments
when I’m weighing all my days up to right here and right now.
Am I doing anything that will last? And if I’m not, then I just have to ask,
Please show me how ’cause I know You’ve made me for so much more.
So I’m holding all of my life up to the light, the light of eternity.
I know what I should let go;
I see what matters most in the light of eternity.
I want You to see me shine in the light of eternity. 
(Lyrics, Matthew West)

In June, our daughter Lauren came home to spend the summer in Rapid with the family, mostly because her big sister was getting married. It was wonderful having her here with us – we have had a great summer with our family. Lauren is lots of fun … she loves people and adds to the party wherever she is. But Lauren has a problem. She hates missing out on anything. This personality “disorder” 🙂 has been dubbed by her friends at school as FOMO: Fear of Missing Out. We quickly picked up on that term this summer, and have used it frequently at her expense. We lean toward overkill in our home.

Anyway, we’ve had a somewhat busy summer with lots going on, so at any given time there was the possibility of missing out on something that was happening with someone. To her dismay, Lauren had to make hard choices regarding responsibilities and work, sometimes leading to a case of FOMO. My sister, who also has the disorder (I won’t say it’s a disease, because I think with hard work, it can be mastered), has texted me several times and said she has moved from the milder version of FOMO to the more severe SOMO: Sure of Missing Out! 🙂

Although I don’t really suffer from this problem –  hey, I’m just glad to be where I am and I’m not really concerned whether others are somewhere else having fun without me; it’s life 🙂 – I’ve been thinking about it lately in light of eternity. I have concluded that in light of eternity, I should have FOMO. Am I wasting my life? Am I missing out on what God wants to do with me, in me, through me?

Usually, when people say they want to live a “full life,” they have a bucket list of “to do’s”. World traveling, love, kids, places, career, retirement. These things are not necessarily bad, but they often leave us far too easily content. I tend to think of the immediate payoff when deciding what to do next. What will have an immediate effect? What will bring me immediate pleasure, immediate reward, immediate satisfaction, immediate recognition, immediate results? It’s really a challenge for me to take the long view. A bucket list contains those things I want to do asap, while hoping that I have a while to complete it! 🙂 The list would consist of the things that I would consider fun, exciting, maybe even challenging. But admittedly it would probably be a somewhat selfish list. I would include the things that would make me happy.

But, recently I have been challenged in my thinking about what matters in the life of Christ follower and I must ask myself a hard question: So, in light of eternity, do I have FOMO? I honestly, although probably not so readily, admit that I don’t. The truth is, I’m easily amused, as they say. The key phrase for me is “in light of eternity.” I have lived too much of my life too easily comfortable with where I am spiritually, regionally, relationally.  But what if there’s much more that God has for me if I would step out of this comfort zone I’ve basically lived in and stretch myself to limits beyond my imagination? I say to myself that I don’t want to waste my life on things that don’t matter.  But I find myself not necessarily living up to those desires on a daily basis. Here’s my basic question when it comes to discoveries like this: Where do I start, God? How can little ol’ me make a difference. In my home? In my city? In my sphere of influence? In my church? I don’t want to miss out on what You are doing, God, but what do I do now that I know this?

Well, I’ve decided to take some first steps. Some practical and doable steps. My church has been on my heart for months now because I feel like God’s people are missing out on what He has for them. Great things! But I know it must start with and in me. Being a pastor’s wife automatically qualifies me to serve in my church. 🙂 People will usually let leaders work as hard as they want to work. But sometimes it’s hard to plug in and really serve in my giftedness and with joy. I recently saw a list of “How to be a Difference Maker in Your Local Church”. I decided to just work on these for now, because I think if nothing else, it will make a difference in ME! Just a few of them were:
•Get involved.
•Stay there as long as you can.
•Put away thoughts of a revolution for a while.
•Be patient with your leaders.
•Rejoice when the gospel is faithfully proclaimed.
•Bear with those who hurt you.
•Give people the benefit of the doubt.
•Be thankful someone vacuumed the carpet for you.
•Enjoy the Sundays that “click.”
•Pray extra hard on the Sundays that don’t.

When we come together in a worship gathering, we should praise God for what He has done and is doing in our lives and the lives of others. We should also serve God. Followers of Christ are uniquely gifted to serve in their circle of influence. We are His body, putting hands and feet to the ministry. I desire for the love of Christ to become evident in my life as I step out of my comfort zone and begin to function as the minister that God created me to be.

God has created me for a purpose. I absolutely believe that.  CS Lewis worded it like this:

..if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling around with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us. Like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

Lord, give me a strong case of godly FOMO. May my fear lead me to self abandonment for Your sake and the sake of the gospel. I am not there. I am still a baby in this area and I should be more mature. Help me to depend on You for power, grace and love to accomplish what You’ve called me to accomplish. Give me a real desire to go where You are working and to get in on it. To do my part. To be there. Keep me from being too easily pleased!

4 thoughts on “In Light of Eternity … do I have FOMO?

  1. Anonymous August 13, 2010 / 3:39 am

    Amen, Mel. Very powerful thoughts. I want to have a strong case of 'godly FOMO' myself! One of my all-time favorite quotes from Jim Elliot applies to your words here: “Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God. Wherever you are, be all there.” So be it in my life, O Lord! Love you, Daddy.

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  2. mitzi August 13, 2010 / 11:09 am

    Well, just erased that comment Mel, but wanted to thank you for your funny and powerful post! HB has that “FOMO” too, and it has made for a very active and full life…we sure are going to miss her when she leaves for school next week.
    Pray that we too will get a back case of godly “FOMO” as we search for the new church home GOD has for us to worship and serve HIM closer to home. Pray for that first love for JESUS and a renewed passion and zeal in our hearts that we might truly love and serve CHRIST in light of all eternity. I love the quote your Daddy shared by Jim Elliot, “Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of GOD. Wherever you are, be all there.” How many times GOD has brought that to my mind through the years, when i tend to “overlook,” one moment HE has for me, thinking about the next one. GOD bless you dear one, and sure have missed you! Thanks for sharing these profound and funny thoughts…i love hearing about Carole and Lauren and all…love,mitzi

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  3. Marcy August 14, 2010 / 2:34 pm

    After all our joking about FOMO this summer.. I love this Mel. I too, want that passion that is unstoppable, to be what God wants me to be…to do what He leads me to. How cool to take this little acronym and apply it much further. It is not something we will do independently..but in total reliance on our Lord. But how faithful He has been in the last months..the amazing prayers we have seen answered…Praise God! We will continue on with excitement praying for the unbelievable and willing to do whatever while “He does great and marvelous things.” Soooo glad God brought you guys to Rapid City to minister with us!!!

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  4. Laura August 14, 2010 / 3:37 pm

    This really cracked me up (because I know Lauren and Brooke is EXACTLY like that, remember?) and it blessed me all at the same time! Thank you for sharing your thoughts through this blog. Your blog, for one, is a great ministry! And your smile and your children (your greatest accomplishment) are living proof that you are doing something right towards that greater purpose in your life! I surely hope we BOTH fulfill all that we have been destined for! The fruit is evident in your life and in your writing! So glad that God put you in my path along the way! 🙂

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