When it’s all too much, it’s OK to tune it out. It’s OK to take a break. It’s OK to change what you think about. It’s OK to STOP. PAUSE. BE STILL.
If you are like me, you’re a mess— just kidding (kind of)
If you are like me, you are on overload! I’m on overload from COVID. I’m on overload from what people are posting on Facebook that I don’t agree with. I’m on overload from bad news- around the world, on Facebook, in the town in which I now live and in the town from which I moved. I’m just on overload.
The worst of it started about a month ago. I keep up with several very special people that I’ve met through my GriefShare ministry. Within the same week, I got some very bad news about three of them. Two had received cancer diagnosis. One lost her husband very suddenly and very unexpectedly. The loss of her husband was right before some other very stressful situations dealing with her son’s death a few years ago.
The heartbreak from hearing of what was happening to these three ladies just about sent me over the edge!! Yet, I knew that I all could do is pray for them. I still had a hard time dealing with all this news!
And Then I Remembered
Nine months before the death of my first husband, my daughter’s best friend lost her dad. I remember my mother giving me some really good advice. She said, “Sharon- this is not your burden. You can’t take on this family’s grief as if it is your own. You will have to own your own grief someday, but your grief is not today.”
Little did I know then that nine months later, I would have to deal with my own grief. I would have to watch my kids deal with the death of their father. My mom was right, I did have to own my grief. No one else could take it on for me. It was a journey I had to be on myself.
I am not an empath. However, seeing a family lose their husband and father sent me into a tailspin, until my mother had that talk with me. She reminded me that we are called to pray for others, help others, but we are not called to take on their grief or problems. We will all be given our own trials in our own time.
All these thoughts bring me to this week. Watching and reading the news of Haiti, Afghanistan, our own southern border has been overwhelming. What am I supposed to do with all of this information?
Every single day this week I’ve heard bad news about someone that I care about. So many people extremely sick from COVID. So many people dyeing. So many people receiving sad medical diagnosis. All of this news from people that I know and love coupled with world news on top of all the pandemic news is too much.
It is so much to process. Yesterday a good friend shared this article with me.
“I think of that fuse box often these days, because friends, I just do not think our psyches were developed to hold, feel and respond to everything coming at them right now; every tragedy, injustice, sorrow and natural disaster happening to every human across the entire planet, in real time every minute of every day. The human heart and spirit were developed to be able to hold, feel and respond to any tragedy, injustice, sorrow or natural disaster that was happening IN OUR VILLAGE. “
This was just what I needed to read.
Please take the time to read the whole article! I hope that it helps you as much as it helped me. It’s OK to not be able to take it all in.
So what do we do when it’s all too much?
The bible tells us clearly that there will be times when we don’t even know for what we should pray.
“26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27
So there are times when I’m praying that I just admit this to God. “Lord, I don’t even know how to pray for this situation.”
I also know that I can’t just pray about it and forget it. We are called to help others. No, me helping out in my own community may not help a poor mother in Afghanistan. However, kindness begets kindness. Help begets help. I need to do what I can do where I am with what I know with whatever resources I have. I need to do the research and find organizations that I can trust to send money.
Besides praying, there are things we can do. Do we have to take on all the problems of the world today? No, we simply can’t. Take on what you can handle without overloading your circuits and pray, pray, pray!!