I suffer from FOMO. This stands for “Fear of Missing Out” and describes the phenomena of checking social media obsessively. One does this to not “miss out” on a funny or important post from your friends, your favorite news site or your favorite media outlet. It is automatic most of the time. When my conscious mind re-emerges, I usually feel horribly wasteful and vain. Also, I have noticed my kids behavior change when I am on my phone.
John Wesley devised a set of rules for disciples in the church. The first of which says: “Be diligent. Never be unemployed. Never be triflingly employed. Never while away time, nor spend more time at any place than is strictly necessary.”
I find that my time is challenged from many directions. The school schedule, the baseball schedule. the scouting schedule, the dinner-bath-bedtime routine, the morning routine. FOMO is an anxiety-based escapism literally vibrating in my pocket. But time is precious.
When Jesus says pick up your cross and follow me, he is asking you to limit the quanitity of time (By picking up the means of one’s own death) in exchange for extraordinary quality time (dedicating oneself to a matter of soul-deep importance).
This past Sunday I asked the congregation: What do you need to put down in order to pick up your cross? The honest answer for me: my phone.
I remember the time before phones. It wasn’t boring. It was characterized by playing, working and relating to friends and family. Every week there is a Sabbath day beckoning you to indulge in a day of rest. Every there is a sunrise and a sunset to remind us of the splendor of creation that does not require our management. With FOMO, I have anxiously tried to not miss a silly meme or a dire headline. But in the process, I have missed out on actual rest, real bonding with children and family and the splendor of creation.
I invite you to inventory your time. As Jesus asks us to pick our crosses, in what ways are you trifling away time? Be honest. And be vigalent in choosing your time wisely.