Finding Peace of Mind in the “Information Age”
May 24, 2018
This blog post was supposed to be about the news.
Actually, this blog post is the first of possibly many others, possibly not. (Laziness and busy-ness will probably be deciding factors.) It was suggested to me that it be about the news, and this is, I think, a timely topic to be writing about.
That, and gluttony.
“Gluttony?” I hear some of you cry. “Why gluttony?”
Please relax; I am not joining those who holler about body shaming or fat shaming or anything of the like. A close look at me will show that I am an expect body builder—I have been building a rather blobby sort of body for years. (Personally, I blame gingerbread cookies in the winter. I mean, hey, it’s winter, and you’re already depressed, and then comes nice, warm gingerbread, fresh from the oven. Tastes great, and if you’re kind of angry-depressed, you can bit the head off of the little gingerbread man, and nobody complains. But—I digress.)
My concern is not about a gluttony for food—though this might be a topic worth discussing at a later time. No, I think a greater problem at present is a gluttony for media, and especially for the news. We are at present able to connect with more outlets for information, from more sources, than ever before in the history of humanity. For a lot of people, this means that we tend to load up our plates. We read articles on various concerns, and then we read articles discussing those articles on the concerns, and then we might listen to pundits talking about the articles which discussed the concerns, and how they vary from the events of the original concerns, ad infinitum, ad infinite nausea….
This probably isn’t particularly healthy for us.
I do understand that, for many people, this may not be an issue. They may avoid significant news input like the plague. They may well be better off for it; they may not. Most of us, however, have overstimulated brains, either from shrill news broadcasts, yammering for our attention (because the world is really, truly, I absolutely mean it, going to end with this latest turn of events!) or from updates on social media (because the world is really, truly, I absolutely mean it, going to be different for knowing that I am once again at the local coffee house, and this is what I ordered, and what the click-bait article has said this means about my personality) or from incessant kitty cat videos, or some other source of inlet.
On some level, our minds are probably tired, over-stimulated things, that could probably do with a break.
Perhaps this kind of gluttony—an overindulgence in mental stimulus or diversion—is as hard on our minds, or even our souls, as an overindulgence on French fries or gingerbread might be on our bodies. (Hmmm. French fries and gingerbread. French fried gingerbread? Interesting… no. better not.)
Jesus told us to come to Him, and He will give us rest. He also gave to His people the whole concept of taking one day in seven off. Psalm 116:7 says, “Return to your rest, my soul, for the LORD has been good to you. (CSB).” Perhaps there is something to the idea of taking a break—from the news, or from the various inlets, and just enjoying the quiet of being disconnected from the whole electrified rat-race circus that our interconnected world has become. Perhaps our tired minds would do well with opening up a physical Bible (no click-bait, or other distractions) and reading for a bit, and thinking a bit, maybe even praying a bit—and then just resting in the quiet for a while.
Whether or not you’re able to manage that entirely, I suggest that you might try cutting back as much as you can on those things that keep demanding our attention. US submarines out at sea, so I am told, got their updates and orders—at most—twice a day: morning, and night. Their job required them to be sufficiently reach-able, and this apparently was sufficient. (I assume that it still is.) We could probably handle hearing the news once a day. Maybe checking in with other media once or twice a day. The real world is calling; a real life is calling. Quiet time with God may not be calling much, but it sure is healthful—it’s where the life is.
Trust that the world will keep going the rest of the time, because the LORD has been good to you. In Him, find rest for your soul. Reconnect with the ability to be alone with your thoughts; regain a more manageable mental pace.
And if anyone was wanting to make any gingerbread, you know where you can reach me.