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Disconnecting on purpose

24 April 2024 By Joanna la Fleur

Embracing the “joy of missing out” online

In an era when digital connections often overshadow face-to-face interactions, the concept of the joy of missing out (JOMO) has emerged as a refreshing perspective.

For many of us social media platforms serve as windows to the world, offering real-time updates on the lives of friends, family, church life and the global community. Yet this constant stream of information can become overwhelming, leading to feelings of inadequacy, stress and fear of missing out (FOMO).

It’s in these situations that stepping back can open the door to the joy, contentment and peace of living in the moment, away from the digital fray.

Seeking balance

Human love of novelty and inclusion dominates much of the digital world. That can make it difficult to choose to miss out on certain digital opportunities. But it’s actually a healthy choice.

  • Curate your content. Tailor your social media feeds to uplift, inspire your faith and educate. Don’t hesitate to mute or unfollow sources that contribute to negativity or stress. Do a spring cleaning to purge all the accounts and follows dragging you down.
  • Purposeful participation. Engage with intention. Share moments that bring you genuine joy and interact in ways that foster meaningful connections. Comment with encouragement and share uplifting stories of God at work in your life. An attitude of trying to keep up is exhausting, so instead take the attitude of putting quality ahead of quantity in your online interactions.
  • Set boundaries. Allocate specific times for checking social media and be disciplined about logging off. This helps reduce the urge to constantly check for updates, allowing for more focused and enjoyable online sessions. As author and pastor John Mark Comer describes it, “Give your phone a bedtime.”
  • Embrace positivity. Use platforms to spread kindness. Share good news, celebrate others’ wins and offer wisdom. Use social media in keeping with the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. It can be contagious.

Creating an offline oasis

Choosing to miss out on parts of digital life is most valuable when also choosing other good activities.

  • Nature’s nurture. Spend time outdoors. Whether it’s a walk in the park, a hike through the woods or simply sitting in your garden, reconnecting with God through nature can have a profound effect on your spiritual and mental well-being, offering respite from the digital world.
  • Revive old hobbies. Rediscover hobbies and activities you (or your elders) enjoyed before the rise of the internet. Whether it’s crafting, reading, gardening or playing a musical instrument, make time for activities that are offscreen.
  • Foster face-to-face connections. Organize meetups with church members and neighbours. Real-life interactions foster deeper connections, providing a sense of belonging that can’t be replicated online.
  • Give your time. Engaging in your church and city through service or volunteering offers a unique sense of fulfillment. It’s a way to give to others in response to what you have received, connect with the community and find joy in helping those in need, away from the digital realm.
  • Practise spiritual disciplines. Take time for prayer, solitude, generosity and hospitality. The practices Jesus modelled for us help us stay focused on things that matter and aligned with God’s peace. There are digital aids for such disciplines, but nondigital methods have less chance of distraction.

image of a girl

As author and pastor John Mark Comer describes it, “Give your phone a bedtime.”

Embracing joy for a fuller life

The digital world offers unparalleled opportunities for connection and learning. However, the concept of JOMO reminds us of the beauty in simplicity, and the value of nondigital ways of connecting with God and the world around us.

Jesus said His purpose was to give “life to the full” (John 10:10). Might JOMO be part of that? Many of us find life fuller when choosing quality over quantity, presence over distraction and real connections over digital ones. Let’s keep talking about how we can live out the values taught by Jesus as we navigate the complexities of the digital age.

Joanna la Fleur is a podcaster, TV host and communications consultant in Toronto. Find more of these columns at

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