rebelling against low expectations

How To Be Okay With Missing Out

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“Be okay with missing out,” I told a living room full of middle school girls. “You don’t have to be a part of every single activity or conversation.” We were talking about friendship, but the concept is relevant to so many areas of our lives: be okay with missing out.

Easier said than done, I know.

We want to be a part of everything. We want to be a part of not only conversations and activities, but memories and moments and secrets and plans and groups and inside jokes. But it’s okay to not know every deep, dark secret or mundane detail–sometimes it’s better not to!

1. Accept That You Will Miss Out.

It’s okay for others to organize the event and all you do is attend. It’s okay for the sports team to be just that–an exclusive team. You not included. You can still be friends. They don’t necessarily think any less of you. Different people have different things in common and that’s okay!

It’s okay to miss out on shady, late-night parties. It’s okay to miss out on immodest fashion trends. It’s okay to miss out on dating around.

Be okay with missing out.

In her new book, Own Your Everyday, Jordan Dooley writes in chapter five, “Everywhere I look, I see young people overcommitting themselves and obsessing over a perceived notion that they’re somehow missing out on life if they don’t go to a specific place or attend a certain social function.”

She’s right–we can be obsessed. Even with the things we don’t miss out on, we over-analyze. We relive every detail, trying to figure out what we might have missed, if there was an inside joke we didn’t get, or if we embarrassed ourselves in any way. We wonder what happened after we left, if we missed out on anything fun or special or important.

It’s okay to miss out on shady, late-night parties. It’s okay to miss out on immodest fashion trends. It’s okay to miss out on dating around. Be okay with missing out. Click To Tweet

2. Recognize That it Hurts.

Don’t you want to be free from it all? How do we be okay with missing out on things? How do we release the pressure and get rid of the FOMO?

It can be so hard, so painful sometimes.

“Sara, you were invited to go to the dance as well.” My dad cornered me one day. A friend staying with us had been invited to meet with some old friends at a dance that night, and I was helping her find a last-minute Disney costume. “Do you want to go?”

Since when was going to the dance an option? I thought my parents didn’t like that sort of thing, especially at my young age? My mind raced, but I stuck to a decision I’d made long before. “No, I’m good.” I smiled and hurried to find something for my friend to wear that wasn’t a childish Cinderella skirt.

But later that night, sitting in a room full of parents, little kids running around, I felt lonely. Really lonely. I checked the time and squirmed inwardly.

It would still be hours until the dance was over. To be honest? I wasn’t just lonely, I was self-righteous and a little frustrated. Maybe you’ve felt that way too.

3. Know Where FOMO Comes From.

Skip to another night, and my chronic illness forced me to go home to bed at 9 p.m. I was supposed to be at a slumber party with all my closest friends, but yet again, I was missing out. Missing out on normal teenagehood. Missing out on time with friends I wouldn’t have for much longer. Missing out on laughter and whispers and gossip and girl-time.

How does one be okay with that?

I think first we need to understand why it’s so hard in the first place. We fear missing out because we fear man and we long to belong. We were created for relationship, and we love to know and be known.

It’s the way God made us! But when we feel like we aren’t getting companionship, we can get jealous of anyone we think has that fulfilling feeling. We get angry at anyone–like our parents–who we think is taking it from us. We place our confidence in how well we know people and how well they know and think of us, rather than placing our confidence in the Lover of our souls. The one who knows us fully and completely. You see, he gave us the desire for relationship because it’s supposed to be fulfilled in him.

We place our confidence in knowing and being known by people rather than the Lover of our souls. Click To Tweet

4. Don’t Miss What Matters.

When we are confident in God, we no longer fear missing out with people because we know and belong to the one who knows all of it–who knows all of who we are, and all of them. It’s okay to miss out on some things. Most of it won’t matter in twenty years–or two–will it?

It’s okay to miss out, because we know the one who’s in on everything.

So make sure you’re there for the things that really count. Be a comforting presence when someone is embarrassed or hurt. Be there when they fail and celebrate when they succeed. Be okay with missing out on the unimportant things in life and in relationships, and strive to be there when it really counts.


About the author

Sara Willoughby

is the 18-year-old author of He's Making Diamonds: A Teen's Thoughts on Faith Through Chronic Illness. She loves to read, write, and have adventures, be it off to Narnia one more time, wading through mud chasing the family dog, or playing a new board game with her two younger siblings. Sara is also a Lymie, TCK, and Bright Lights leader. You can find her at sgwilloughby.com

rebelling against low expectations

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