Make Space for Paying Attention (and say goodbye to FOMO)

I keep not living slow. Every time I sit or read I find the desire – but then I get up and leave and start running.

I’m an out-of-the-closet FOMO addict. (FOMO, by the way, means Fear Of Missing Out).

FOMO, I realized this week, is the opposite of presence. When I am constantly concerned with what I am missing out on, I am not present to what/who is right in front of me. I am not present to the present.

I find myself sometimes in a conversation with someone but overly aware of other conversations or people around me. I want to listen to the person in front of me, but I get so distracted and concerned with what I am missing out on.

FOMO is a lack of trust in God and where He has us. It is believing that where we are, where He has led us to, could be a mistake.

Every person placed in front of you is by His design.

Every job given to you is for His purposes.

Every conversation you have can bring Him glory, and the other person encouragement and healing.

When I experience FOMO in a conversation, I am believing that someone else holds more value than the person (the possessor of the Imago Dei) in front of me.

When I would rather be somewhere else than where He has me, I am questioning His design, His plan, and His purposes.

There is obviously a part of us that longs for another place and time – He made us with eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11).  But where He has us – not just on this earth, but our locations, jobs, relationships, conversations, daily activities – is all for a purpose. All intricately woven together for His eternal plan. All for our good and His glory.

We need to practice being here now. Being present to the present – because it really is a gift (#cheesy). The only way to do that is to live slow. To notice. To pay attention. Live in reverence of it all. We need to be open to encounters – encountering grace, hope, JOY, beauty, fullness, flourishing happening all around us.

I’ve been realizing that my word for the year, simplicity, has this depth to it – it is not simplistic. It is paying attention only to what matters. That requires a lot of us.

What matters? What is right in front of me. The friend I am spending time with, the student sitting across from me, the email I need to send.

What is right in front of you that you are missing?

Let’s practice reverence – “The recognition of something greater than the self…reverence stands in awe of something.” (An Altar in the World, 21)

Pretty snow picture – Laura Bernero//Pretty letters – Lis Cheesman

It takes time to be present. There is so much space to be filled in each present moment. It requires all of our concentration – we cannot be consumed or concerned with what we are missing out on.

You know how when you’re driving on a highway going like 65 (or 80) and you look out the window and everything passes by in a blur? I don’t want my life to be like that. I want to move slowly, seeing it all clearly. I want to be present to all God has for me. In the words of Steven Tyler, “I don’t want to miss a thing.” (Another good karaoke song.)

FOMO (or jealousy, fear, bitterness, any of that) clouds our view of life. We need to slow down, and spend our time and energy in reverence of God and what He is doing all around us.
We need to pay attention to what He is doing. This life is not a waiting room, where we are just killing time until eternity. We are working and learning and sharing with purpose – making eternal impact every day.

There is no space for FOMO in this life, only presence.

There is no time for rushing, only for paying attention.

Seems backwards, yeah? Rushing from thing to thing is ironically what causes us to miss out on it all. There has to be space and time for reverence, gratitude, presence, paying attention (such good words!!).

Don’t worry about missing out – pay attention.

I sat at my desk writing this, and looked out my window (my new favorite place) into Narnia (aka the snow covered trees behind my house). I heard God say, When was the last time you stopped and sat and did nothing? Can you do this and believe that you are worth just as much then as you are doing something/saving the world?

So that is my question for you today, friends. When was the last time you slowed down? When was the last time you were able to sit, fully present in the moment, and present to the Lord? Without looking at your phone, reading something, doing anything. Can you believe that you are worth just as much when you do that as when you do anything else?

Pay attention. Live in reverence of the God who says you are worth it all.

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I write to process, and sometimes send those thoughts out into the void. Passionate about Jesus and people and bringing those two together. Living in and loving Denver. Working with college students, who are the coolest. Seeking Jesus and JOY in everything.

2 thoughts on “Make Space for Paying Attention (and say goodbye to FOMO)

  1. Literally what I needed to hear! Your words are incredible! Thank you for stopping to pay attention to what God was asking you to share! And thank you for all the times you stop and pay attention to my life. It’s where we need to be at!

    Liked by 1 person

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