The environment we live in today is packed with so much information, much of it fear producing, that we cannot possibly process all of it in ways that allow our mental and spiritual health to remain strong and flexible. Some people have reached a tipping point and announced they are taking a break from news or contact with others. I can understand this response and appreciate the healing power that can come from something as simple as changing what we listen to and watch. Scary news and fear-filled conversations stimulate that part of our brain designed to keep us out of danger. This is good when there is something we can do to stop a threat or escape it, but it’s a different matter when we don’t have that kind of control. Taking in fearful news keeps us in a state of readiness; prepared to respond at any moment. We are not designed, mind, body or spirit, to sustain that level of vigilance for prolonged periods of time. We need to also rest.
Just as we feed the mind things that drive up our fear, we can also feed it things that allows us to calm and find rest. If you decide it’s time to take a break from the daily trough of bad news, which I hope you do, you might also find something else to focus on. As Christians we are people of good news, and when good news is what we take in it gives us the strength we need to deal with the bad. You’ve heard it said many times, “you are what you eat”, and this is also true of the news we dine on each day.
So during you bad news break, find some good news. Read a story that gives you joy and makes you smile. Watch a movie that makes you laugh. Get lost in a book that transports you to a place where you can relax. Have a conversation with a friend that lets you forget everything else going on around you. And don’t forget that there are many verses in the Bible that can be a source of strength and hope. Here are just a few:
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
Isaiah 41:10 “Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”
Isaiah 40:31 “But those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Joshua 1:9 “Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”