Between televisions, computers, and cell phones, we have access to news 24/7 in this digital age, most of it disheartening. News that ushers in emotion and concern for things we can do nothing about. We are more aware of happenings in our country and our world than any other time in history. So much so, it begs the question, is it helpful or harmful, particularly to our mental and emotional states of being?
The common comeback would likely be, “Because we know about these things we can be praying.” And I wholeheartedly agree! But all too often we do more than roll those burdens on the Lord. We take on tension, worry, and opinions that consume or distract our minds. And a distracted mind leads to all sorts of other ills: added stress, physical ailments, a short fuse with those we love, preoccupation with troubles not our own, the inability to focus, and even depression. We can get so consumed keeping up with the play by play, that it becomes detrimental to our health and productivity.
Oswald Chambers said, “…if we will only roll back on God the burdens He has placed on us, He will take away that immense feeling of responsibility, replacing it with an awareness and understanding of Himself and His presence.”
Human worry disguised as concern, noble as it seems, cannot add a single hour to our lives (Matthew 6:27). Not a one! On the contrary, worry subtracts life from our days. God calls us to guard our heart, for it is the source of life (Proverbs 4:23), not weigh it down unnecessarily. With enough personal trouble in this world, we don’t need to pile everyone else’s on top.
Offer a listening ear to a friend in need? Yes.
Offer a word of wise counsel when asked? Yes.
Offer a helping hand in a practical way? Yes.
Worry as if the solution depended on you? No.
When it comes to the constant deluge of information funneled through media outlets, may I suggest a different approach?
I’m not promoting living under a rock, but I am suggesting limiting the constant barrage by restricting our personal access. That might mean unsubscribing to certain emails or social media accounts, turning off the news, and cancelling notifications on your phone so you have to manually check the headlines. Access to every ebb an flow of society serves only to weigh us down and make us less effective for the Lord. We can be casually aware of happenings in the world without being consumed by them. And lack of consumption leaves more room for the peace and presence of Jesus.
We were never meant to carry the burdens of this world on our shoulders. We don’t even have to carry the weight of our own. We are called to carry burdens “to” the Lord in prayer and leave them there, in the Father’s hands, remembering who He is and what He is capable of. He is our Burden Carrier, and He alone is our Burden Lifter, so we can travel light and be free to serve Him.