Amy-Jo Girardier originally posted this article on girlsminister.com.
Fear of missing out” or “FOMO” is a term that started to trend when social media posts would document events. People wanted to make sure that they were in those pictures and not missing out at home. It created this anxiety that takes place within you as you scour instagram stories or snapchat to make sure there wasn’t something you weren’t invited to.
I’ve started playing around with a new term lately. It’s called “YAMO” or “You are missing out”. Recently I’ve been hearing about girls sharing moments on their stories or direct messaging other girls to let them know they were missing out and they weren’t allowed to be present. It moved from a casual, “wow, those people are together for a party and I didn’t get invited” to “hey we are having so much fun without you at this party”.
It’s a new way of mean girling and it hits at the core of our need for community. So what do you do about it as you minister to students?
1. Be aware that one of the tactics of satan is to attack when we are lonely. And social media highlights our loneliness. Scripture tells us that Satan prowls like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8) Lions devour weak, isolated, sick, and hurting prey. That’s one reason why we need to be in community as the body of Christ. We combat the loneliness that Satan wants us to live in.
2. Ensure that you have consistent places of community that exist for students where they are regularly having face to face conversation and soul to soul accountability. I say face to face, because generation z is losing the art of communicating deeply. They are exchanging real conversations for emoji’s, snaps, texts, and stories. They need to learn how to go from a face to face to a soul to soul talk. It’s in those moments where you as a leader can call our Christ in them and remind them of their identity in Christ, their significance in Christ, and their purpose in Christ.
3. Use attendance tracking to pursue those who have dropped off the scene. This is not something I have done well at, but I can tell you this is a new goal of mine. I want to pursue the unseen student as much as I pursue the present student. The lifegroup I lead is now in 10th grade. We use a tool called GROUPME to continue weekly conversations when we aren’t together. I want to send notes and phone calls in addition to a quick groupme so that these girls who may be suffering from loneliness begin to experience community to comes after them.
4. Address the YAMO attacks. This is not something that sisters in Christ do to one another. Even tonight as an adult girls minister, I have experienced persons that have stopped pursuing me for community for one reason or another and have posted social media moments that have ushered in some FOMO feelings. As an adult, although hurt, I have the maturity to respond with grace and forgiveness. I have persons in my circle that can remind me that my worth doesn’t come from who I hang out with, but from being loved sacrificially by my savior. Our girls need help in being equipped to handle those moments.
When I was growing up, I had a group of nine girl friends. The circles of friends within that group of nine would always change. My mom observed that every few weeks, it would be my turn to be left out. It was such a horrible experience, but she was right. My mom acknowledged the pattern. She would use those moments to remind me what makes a good friend. If there were some unhealthy friendships, we talked about how to walk away. As a girls minister, we need to remind girls that it’s not okay to mean girl through a YAMO story or DM. And if a girl is being YAMO’d, we need to come alongside of her and equip her to know how to respond. And as she is being lulled into loneliness, we need to bring her into intentional community. Pray that God would help you to see the girls who may be walking in loneliness because of a FOMO or YAMO incident.
Amy-Jo Girardier is the Girls Minister at Brentwood Baptist in Brentwood, TN. She has been serving in this role for 17 years and keeps pinching herself that this is what she gets to do for a job! She also is the founding editor of www.girlsminister.com, a website created to connect and resource girls minister, moms, and youth workers engaged in the girls ministry conversation. She is also the author of the two biblestudy and DVD teaching series: Authentic Love and Faithful One. She has authored Becoming from The “just like Christ” series and Proof: a 6 lesson study on The Book of John.
She has just launched studywithher.com to release free youtube bible studies for moms and daughters or daughters with their friends. Check it out as it grows!
She is also the Facebook Group creator for the girls ministry facebook group. If you work with girls, come join us!