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Fear of Missing Out!

02/09/2017 | Comments

Fear of Missing Out!

          This coming weekend for the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Jesus tells us to let our “yes” mean “yes” and our “no” mean “no.”  These are challenging words for many of us, especially for millennials.

          There is a marked decline in our society and in our Church in the ability to commit to things.  I see this every day in ministry: couples dating for years, even decades, before getting married, high school students applying to 25 colleges, students waiting to the last possible second to confirm attendance at an event like a retreat only to qualify their response with a maybe. I could go on, but you get the point.

          For sure, there are many reasons for all of these things, but I think a large part of it is the “keeping my options” open attitude.  One of my good friends calls it “fear of missing out.”  It’s that worry in the back of one’s mind that committing to one thing means having to give up something else.  And guess what: that’s true!

          When we commit ourselves to something, it likely will mean giving up on something else.  Nobody really likes to face that reality, but it doesn’t change the fact that the reality is there.  If we commit to marriage, it means not marrying someone else.  Committing to a course of study could mean not having room in one’s schedule to study something else.  Agreeing to attend a retreat, a Bible study, Eucharistic adoration, or Mass means not having time to do other things.  But isn’t that ok?

          Isn’t it ok to commit ourselves to certain things and say no to others, especially when the things to which we are committing are at the service of the Gospel?  There are things in this world that require real commitment.  Matrimony again comes to mind, but so does committing to the priesthood or consecrated life, committing to serve in a leadership position for a parish organization or campus group, agreeing to help a service organization, or even making time in our life for prayer, Mass attendance, getting to Confession regularly, studying the Scripture, reading Church documents, or reaching out to those around us in need.

          When I look around me, or even at times when I look within me, I see a lot of lives out of balance.  We are afraid to let our “yes” mean “yes” and our “no” mean “no.”  Maybe it’s a control thing.  If we are firm in our decisions, especially in our decision to give our life completely over to God, it means we don’t get to control everything (rather funny considering it’s really God who is in control anyway).

          As Lent nears, it’s a good time for us to work on being firm in our commitments and finding some much needed balance in our life.  As we grow closer to God, we will find that the only thing we should really fear missing out on is Heaven, and it’s hard to make it to Heaven if we can’t say a firm “yes” to God.

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