I have a confession to make. I have to Google half the new words I come across these days. If you’re an eighties baby like me, you can probably identify with this.
Teenagers in the group I help lead at church are always confusing me with phrases and acronyms I’ve never heard of before. They seem to just pick up new terminology in their sleep. Words that are so “lit” they gain “respeck” from your new “bae” for being so “fleek”. (Need a translation? It’s ok, there’s an app for that).
When the acronym “FOMO” came out a few years ago, I gasped at the realization that this word—used to describe the anxiety of missing out on something great—was actually a fairly accurate description of my own “fear of missing out”.
When I miss out on tickets to a Bon Jovi concert, major FOMO. When my favorite coffee shop around the corner closes for renovations (you know, the one which uses locally roasted, specialty beans, and the perfect barista blend of almond milk), yeah, massive FOMO. Seeing girls 10 times younger than me getting married and having kids—you guessed it, FOMO to the max. FOMO is actually a pretty common experience, regardless of age, gender, culture, or ethnicity.
Why do we get so worked up about missing out on something? Is it that we feel entitled to experiencing everything good in the world? I think Lot’s wife has something to say about that.
In Genesis 19, we see Abram (Abraham), Sarai (Sarah), and Lot all running for their lives as the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah are being destroyed. They had been given clear instructions from the angels of the Lord not to turn around—but Lot’s wife could not help looking back.
Perhaps she was saddened by her current situation. Maybe she thought she would return to the cities one day, and everything would go back to the way it was. But she was so wrapped up in the past that she missed the work that God was doing right then and there. She did not obey the words of the Lord, and paid the price for her disobedience with her life.
Thankfully, God hasn’t turned me into a pillar of salt yet (although the idea of petrification does scare me from time to time!). But I think there’s something to learn from the example of Lot’s wife, and it is this: There is nothing to gain from looking back to the past, even if the future is filled with uncertainty. The only way to progress is to keep moving forward.
When we’re stuck on the hamster wheel of regret, we get caught up in unhelpful thoughts. We’re unable to move forward into the good things God is doing and will do in the future. Rather than focusing on the mistakes we’ve made or the things we feel we are missing in our lives, we need to trust in the One who holds eternity in the palm of His hand.
There may be things in my life I feel I am missing, but I know that I have the ultimate treasure—Jesus. Many of my friends and family members have not yet welcomed Him into their hearts. The one thing I don’t want to regret is knowing that someone I love has missed out on the gift of eternal life.
In the end, the only thing that really matters is that we point to Christ and make Him known. There is nothing worse than missing out on a loving and forgiving Savior. Think about how you can positively affect someone’s future both now and for eternity. Because, you know, YOLO.