Truth of the matter is, we just aren’t good enough.
There is always someone better. There’s always something more to do. And for many Latter-day Saints, the ‘fear of missing out’ on the celestial kingdom can entirely encompass us with dismay and anxiety.
FOMO is very real.
‘Fear of missing out’ – or FOMO as it is often referred to – has been defined as ‘‘the uneasy and sometimes all-consuming feeling that you’re missing out – that your peers are doing, in the know about, or in possession of more or something better than you.’’
There are many ways FOMO may be manifest, but it can be seen when we check our social media every few minutes at our young single adult FHE to make sure there isn’t anything better going on. Or when we scroll on Facebook and see our friends successes and we become anxious of our own life decisions.
Oh trust me, you’re not the only one who’s nodding your head at those statements. There’s a reason I so imaginatively was able to produce them. *Bows and awkwardly grins*
Regarding this issue David A. Bednar said,
“Much has been said about how ‘fear of missing out’—or FOMO as it is often referred to—can make it difficult for us to appreciate our current circumstances and environments…I invite you to embrace what the Lord has blessed you with and to act in faith. Do not take counsel from your fears.”
Fear is a prevalent emotion in our world today, and faith can seem more and more difficult to cling to.
But before we go there, let’s consider a different type of FOMO. A fear of missing out on life with our families and God in the Celestial Kingdom.
The Fear that I am not “enough” for Heaven
Yep, that is just as real too.
It’s the fear that we’re not doing enough. That while I may be doing well this month on my nightly prayers, I haven’t been ministering to those in my quorum or class, or gone out with the missionaries, or asked bishop if he needs help, or, or, or, or….
As my shortcomings seem to grow and I feel the ache of my lack to lay “hold on every good thing,” I wonder if the Celestial Kingdom is at all possible (Moroni 7:19).
I think many missionaries undergo this feeling in the short time they are entrusted to “bring the world His truth.” (No big deal, right?) While serving as a missionary in Peru, in my last few months I started to feel the end coming. Just like this little guy.
I knew my time was short and I feared that I hadn’t done all the work God had sent me to do. Soon my fear made me paranoid. I tapped my foot on the ground and let out big sighs if my companion took too long in the bathroom. I constantly checked my watch during lessons. And at one point, I started questioning why we needed to have such long morning companionship studies.
Well, you may ask, why is the fear of missing out so bad? Doesn’t that help me to work harder; to give more?
Sure, fear can drive us to work harder, to pay the bills on time, even to wear our seatbelts. But there is something fear cannot do, where only faith has power.
“Fear rarely has the power to change our hearts, and it will never transform us into people who love what is right and who want to obey Heavenly Father ” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, April 2017 General Conference).
Fear moves us in the exact opposite direction of our Heavenly Father and the plan He created to help us.
A New Kind of FOMO
My paranoia finally added up and my exhausted companion begged me to see that I was driving us to our missionary graves without enjoying a single second of it. (Don’t forget kids, work hard. Play hard.)
She shared with me the words that Jesus Christ spoke to the Nephites when he could tell how worried they were of not being able to do all that he had taught them.
“Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient is the day unto the evil thereof.” (See 3 Nephi 13:34.)
After several weeks of prayer and pondering this scripture, my understanding opened and my days changed.
Instead of worrying about what we hadn’t done, I found peace in appreciating the help God gave in what we were able to accomplish.
Rather than worrying about the 400,000 people we hadn’t reached, I sought to love the one son or daughter of God we had been guided to.
Instead of fearing the looming end of my mission, I focused on the opportunities at hand that brought me the most joy. I took no thought for the morrow.
I developed a new kind of FOMO. A Focus on Moments Obtained.
Don’t Fear, Focus on Him
Christ was right. But that’s not something new to us.
But He was right when He asked, “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?” (3 Nephi 13:27)
Shoot, I can’t even make my curly hair lay nicely the way I want to. Thanks to you, rainy days and humidity.
He then explained, “Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, even so will he clothe you, if ye are not of little faith” (3 Nephi 13:30).
Christ taught that faith is the opposite of fear. It requires more work and more concentration, but the rewards are much more enduring and effective.
Faith requires our total focus on the only one, Jesus Christ, who can make missed out opportunities into moments obtained. And there, in those moments, He reminds us that as we love Him, He will bring us home.
How have you worked to overcome your FOMO? Share in the comments below.