Is it any wonder that weariness has pervaded our land? That trudging through the slough of the pandemic, enduring unending political turmoil, and imagining every possible outcome from the attacks on our country’s very foundation have threatened one’s sense of tranquility? Add in the never ending intrusions of social media, online fixes, and constant data updates on any subject, solicited or not . . . no wonder we are tired. Our minds are under assault . . . nearly 24/7.
Recently I had the pleasure of spending time with several of our grands. Relaxing after a day of school they were riveted to a very animated – and loud – episode of Minecraft something or other. My mind could hardly handle the incessant jabber and noise that was pouring into their home. “Turn down the volume, please!” worked for a bit, ‘til boundaries were set, and the thing was turned off. The whole scenario reminded me of an article I read recently from the Amen Clinic that addressed the addictive overload that our minds battle. “Sex, Drugs, Rock N’ Roll, Smartphones, Video Games, & the Brain” (link below) is well worth the read as it succinctly reminds us how insidiously these things entwine themselves around our minds. Presenting input either of good or of ill, the snare remains the same. I have found this to be true in my own experience.
Not long ago, as my husband and I drove towards Yellowstone to meet dear relatives, I began to feel strange as though I was emerging from a hole (like one of those deep wells one hears of a child falling into). My spirit was tight, like a straight jacket had been placed around it. And as we drove farther away from town and the frenzied fray, the more loose and free I began to feel. Never having had this kind of experience before, I was somewhat astonished to discover myself in such a state. Being cloistered and isolated, focusing on many online communities and classes, enduring the ongoing narrative of social dissension, carrying family concerns . . . there have been many overlapping intense mental demands over the last couple of years. And I realized, was even surprised, at the degree of mental exhaustion in myself. My brain even felt physically tight!
It is no wonder that fear, anxiety, and depression are such huge mental health problems in our world and in the younger generation. Many are so paralyzed by the overload they are easily sucked into screen time and do little else. Conversely, others have claimed, or are driven by, a sense of high alert, the pursuit of busyness and accomplishments, finding the better thing, and (for some) a frantic “get ‘er done!” momentum, leaving behind needed time for rest, reflection, and relationship. I barely knew how this snare had taken hold of me, yet was so thankful for our travel time, literally, to have relief from it.
Happily, I know where to find true rest in the midst of anything, in the peace and promises of God. Even so, my human physical mind, my brain as an organ, needed time away from the stressors, a change of pace or scenery, a different focus, or no focus at all. It could be as simple as a daily walk. Perhaps that is what I need to do more of here in town, even on the days I’d rather not leave my self-imposed restraints. I am thankful to still have a choice!
Help me, LORD, to choose to take courage to face each new day in Your strength! And let the winds of Your wisdom and peace blow through my mind so I do not become a prisoner to the world’s enticing and incessant demands; or a false narrative I might deem more important than listening to You! And help me please to remember to take the time to breathe and to enjoy Your magnificent creation!