I Guess I Haven’t Learned that Yet:  The Joy of Missing Out and Other Lessons from this Week

In this age of social media, I am often aware of a Fear of Missing Out, or FOMO. If I’m not recognizing the feeling in others, I’m recognizing it in myself. Scrolling through social media can make me feel like I’d rather be there than here. So and so seems to be having so much more fun than me! And she looks effortlessly beautiful doing it! Even though I know social media is all projection, a little part of me always struggles with reminding myself that.

I guess I haven’t learned that yet.

In Shauna Niequiest’s book, I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet, Shauna writes about posting a sign in her family’s home as an invitation to self-compassion. As part of a book study I’m co-leading, I asked the group to each make a sign like Shauna wrote about in the book. We all grabbed a marker and each wrote, “I guess I haven’t learned that yet.” I made two, with the overachieving intention to post one at home and one at the office. The one at the office made it to the wall; the one for home is still in my work bag.

I guess I haven’t learned that yet.

Already this week, I’ve noticed a difference in my posture toward learning. Instead of frustration at myself for not posting the sign at my house, I said, “I guess I haven’t learned that some days I don’t even unpack my work bag. I just come home and move on to the next thing.” The sign is still in my bag, but instead of being frustrated at myself for failing to live up to my own expectations, I recognize I’m still in process.

I guess I haven’t learned that yet.

I have joyfully applied this attitude of curiosity and learning to other areas of my life.

As a Brite Divinity School Alumna, I had the opportunity to attend Ministers’ Week, like homecoming for seminary graduates. On Monday, I attended opening worship and was inspired and energized by what I heard. After worship, my group of friends wanted to attend a reception. It was late, though, and I confessed that I wanted to be with friends, but also was fading fast.

“Go home,” my friend Liza said. “Enjoy the joy of missing out: JOMO!”

I had been feeling guilty for missing out on friend time, but once she gave me that frame, I was able to offer myself compassion for my limits. Sometimes saying no is the more joyful option.

I guess I haven’t learned that yet.

Also at Minister’s Week, I had the opportunity to hear Nadia Bolz-Weber speak on anxiety. As an anxious person myself, I couldn’t wait to hear what she had to say. As predicted, she spoke about faith and anxiety and the world crumbling and hope. I laughed, I nodded, I sang along to the song she played. I listened and learned a few ways that she deals with her own anxiety. Bolz-Weber said a little perspective can help anxiety. “Being people with a sacred text means we are a very small part of a very big story.” She described how our story reaches all the way back to Hebrew Bible prophets and all the way forward to the realization of the kingdom of God on Earth. “When we stand in this big story, we can stand firmly in the reality of the present and not have the reality consume us,” she said.

Bolz-Weber quoted Matthew 6:26, “Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” She said that when she is feeling anxious, birds are not what she wants to think about. Noticing birds means you are staying in the present.

“Tomorrow hasn’t arrived,” she said. “This is the only day you’ve been given. This day, this moment, this breath….This is the day the Lord has made and we will never get it back.” Her invitation to pay attention to birds and to stay in the present moment was a gift. I was able to leave feeling less weighed down.

I guess I haven’t learned that yet, but I am learning!

Thanks be to God.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Aneta Rhodes says:

    Excellent read, Sarah. Perhaps I need to have a one on one conversation with you. See, I’m currently being treated for anxiety and depression. Maybe talking with you might help me.


    1. Hello Anita,
      Thank you for sharing and I’ll reach out to you directly–Rev. Sarah Boyette


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