This world can easily feel big and overwhelming.Wide-eyed and heart-heavy I stare blankly across the landscape of faces, images, and highlight reels showing both joy and poverty, hope and devastation.
Within seconds the despair sets in, my chest tightens or sometimes my eyes fill with tears that weren’t mine to cry, or jealousy casually wanders through the door of my soul as I expose myself to yet another person doing what I’ve only dreamed of doing.
My world expands quickly, too quickly. For years, I’ve thought this to be commendable. To get beyond my own nose, front door, or neighborhood was selfless and compassionate.
“Get out… see the world,” we say to young and old alike.
Even if we can’t experience it firsthand, we take pride in at least knowing- finding out what’s going on in every country, in every state, with every person. We convince ourselves we are growing in our understanding so we know how to pray, or how to act, or educating ourselves so we can take a stand for worthy causes, be a better friend, or stay in touch with the ever-changing news and trends.
But perhaps we need to recognize the world is much too big and too overwhelming to squeeze into our back pocket or stuff into a small corner of our heart?
We were never meant to carry the world and all its concerns, chaos, and causes.
Might our over-exposure, to all the good and bad happening around us, makes us mindless consumers instead of empathetic caretakers?
I wonder what would happen if we pared down our awareness of all the issues going on around us? I’m not saying we hunker down and become a hermit, never turn on the news and only notice those within our four walls. Quite the contrary.
What if got honest about how much our hearts can handle?
Instead of walking around ignorant about the world, and all its heartache and happiness, we become intentional about how we interact with the world- who we take interest in, where we get involved, and what we pray.
We set limitations for our eyes and heart, not because we are selfish, but because we are humans created to love deeply.
I wonder if too many random relationships and connections and haphazard glances across the globe through news and social media is making us more selfish, and dulling God’s voice in our ears?
Like a deer in the headlights, I sometimes become paralyzed, gripped with fear. There is simply too much too take in and I stand frozen unable to move with the Holy Spirit.
We think staying in the loop, watching all the headlines, reading every blog post or story, hearing every opinion, and speaking up about all the injustice will build us up, make us better humans, and somehow, hopefully, increase our compassion for the world.
But what I’ve noticed, at least in myself, is that my limitless looking and ever-increasing knowledge of all that is happening around me (even the beautiful news!) is callusing my heart more than ever. I start to feel numb, void of emotion, empathy, and excitement… I begin to shutdown.
As my friend sweet friend Audrey said, “My heart has reached its capacity.”
Perhaps we could all afford to make our world’s a little bit smaller.
Instead of scrolling through pictures we pray specifically for people. Instead of letting news fly at us all hours of the day, we filter what we see and hear through the hope of God. Instead of reading all the latest books and blogs, we pick one or two to linger on for months at a time.
Instead of carelessly taking in and consuming the world around us, we ask God to help us carefully give and enter into the world in the small ways He’s asking us to.