Sometimes it is easy to be living in a perpetual state of FOMO, Fear of Missing Out (phrase coined by Rob Bell).

We see all the parts and pieces of life that are going on around us and it seems that whatever and wherever we are just doesn’t measure up. Sadly, social media sometimes perpetuates that.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine recently conducted a study about the effects of social media habits on the moods of users. The research determined that the more time young adults use social media, the more likely they are to be depressed.

Why would heavy social media usage cause depression? The exposure to “highly idealized representations of peers on social media elicits feelings of envy and the distorted belief that others lead happier, more successful lives,” says the study. Sometimes when we spend time trolling on social media we end up feeling like we are wasting our time. Also, spending more time on social media increases the exposure to cyber-bullying, thus causing feelings of depression. And social media fuels “Internet addiction,” which is considered a psychiatric condition linked to depression.

Or – perhaps it is because it feeds into our FOMO . . . our Fear of Missing Out.

Picture yourself standing at a fence looking out to the world beyond, wondering what is beyond your fence.

The world beyond often seems like the land of what we “don’t have.”

The world beyond is what we aren’t.

It’s the intelligence that we don’t measure up to.

If we could JUST get there . . .

Sometimes I fear we spend half our lives living between “If only” and “then I’d”.  “If only I ______________________ then I’d ____________.”

Examples – “If only I made more money, then we could put our kids through college without going into debt.”

“If only my parents/kids (some family member) lived closer to me, I’d spend more time with them.”

“If only I were more handsome/prettier, he/she would like me more.”

What is your “If only, then I’d?”

We all have things that fill those blanks, and often times they are unnecessary.

We have our fence that we are looking beyond and the things we see and want are things that we actually don’t even need. Yet we think that land beyond is that which will make us happy.

Yet, happiness doesn’t come from beyond the fence. Happiness comes from within.

Steve Jobs said for 33 years he would wake up, look in the mirror, and ask himself if he was happy about what he was going to do that day. If he answered no more than a couple of times in a row, he knew something had to change.

When you wake up tomorrow ask yourself that question.
“Am I happy doing what I am doing today?” Then – a step that Jobs doesn’t talk about . . . once you ask the question and get the answer – either thank God for the happiness and situation, or ask God to show you the way to bring change to it so that you can find happiness.

There’s a quote from the movie Fences, “Some people build fences to keep people out. Other people build fences to keep people in.”

What if we stop letting our own fences be something that causes us to look beyond at what we don’t have? What if – in fact – we tear down all of our fences and quit looking beyond for what we “do” or “do not have?” What if we start looking within? This becomes an opportunity and place for communion with one another and with God? If we did that we would replace the FOMO with a sense of contentment that leads to joy.

Philippians 4:12-13

12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.