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Culture, Identity

Fear of Missing Out

A Note from Mary Margaret West: If we’re honest, we’ve all struggled with FOMO at some point. I love how Abby encourages us to do what we can and be wise about it in this post. I hope it’s helpful to you today!

Ecclesiastes 4:9 NLT “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.”

Fomo | fōmō | noun = a state of mental or emotional strain caused by the fear of missing out. A form of social anxiety – a compulsive concern that one might miss an opportunity or satisfying event, often aroused by posts seen on social media websites.

FOMO. We’ve all experienced it on some level. Recently, it took the form of me missing small group and some church events. The irony is that only a few years ago, I would do anything to avoid participating in any kind of group activity. I made great efforts to steer clear of anyone who might be in my peer group. I limited serving in church to anything that I could do in isolation, without the potential of human interaction.

The idea of attending small group made me nauseous and even joking about the remote possibility of volunteering in student ministry gave me a panic attack. After years of isolating myself and blaming it on social anxiety, it occurred to me that I was made to be in community. Duh, Abby, “God said, it is not good for man to be alone.”

The reality of life in 2019 is that everyone is busy and challenged to prioritize our time. Many of us over-commit without even noticing until the stress of running in all directions consumes us. No one has the time or energy for everything. This reality hit me hard over the recent holidays. With family obligations and work commitments, I found myself overwhelmed and missing small group every other week.

The thought of missing group made me sad and disappointed in myself. I had finally found my people and now my schedule isn’t allowing me to see them. I worked so hard on myself and by the grace of God this introverted, neurotic, uncomfortable, socially anxious girl looked forward to being with HUMANS.

The bundle of fears ranged from, “what if they do something fun and I miss it,” or “what if someone new comes tonight and next week they think I’m the new one,” to “what if they think I’m not committed to them?” However, in the midst of my swirling thoughts my phone dinged. It was a text from a friend that I met through small group asking me to go to coffee. Her invitation calmed me down. Asking me to coffee was a simple gesture, but suddenly I felt like I belonged and that I was valued. I was relieved. The hard work of building meaningful relationships was paying off.

Whether you are a student missing youth group on Wednesday due to a basketball game or you’re a leader who misses it because your grandpa is in the hospital, remember you are valued and your group will be waiting for you. They are cheering you on if you win or lose the game or need some extra family time. Because you made the effort, you have a team that supports you and is invested in you.

I may not be at small group next week due to a work obligation, but this weekend I am getting coffee with my friend.

Abby Underwood As a self-described introvert, Abby Underwood has struggled with social anxieties her whole life. Once she fully realized her value in Christ, she overcame the challenges of loneliness and stress that had dominated her relationships. With her unique perspective of life and being pastored by some of the leading pastors in small group development and church planting, Abby determined to use her life experience to make a difference. Her new found joy and freedom fueled Abby’s passion to help girls find their identity in Christ. To encourage high school and college aged girls to step out of their self-limiting boxes and become world changers, she created the service group, Girls Leading and Simply Serving (GLASS). Abby works as a member of the social media team and student ministry at Life.Church Hendersonville.

Connect with Abby: Instagram // Website