Be anxious for nothing.”
A couple weeks ago, my daughter Brooke and I had a great conversation about the anxiety caused by being so hyper connected to the world at large and to the inner and outer worlds of a social network that seems to be growing exponentially.
“It’s so hard, you know,” she said. “So much to take in…I find myself getting anxious.”
I love her honesty.
I shared with her the words of one of my giants, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, written over fifty years ago:
“For life today in America is based on the premise of ever-widening circles of contact and communication. It involves not only family demands, but community demands, national demands, international demands on the good citizen, through social and cultural pressures, through newspapers, magazines, radio programs, political drives, charitable appeals, and so on. My mind reels in it, What a circus act we women perform every day of our lives. It puts the trapeze artist to shame. Look at us. We run a tight rope daily, balancing a pile of books on the head. Baby-carriage, parasol, kitchen chair, still under control. Steady now!”
― Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea
Ever widening circles of contact and communication.
What would Anne say today? Add the Internet + Social Networking + Smart Phones + Apps + etc. etc. etc.
I am completely convinced that we are not built to process all of this information.
It all becomes “too much” to take in. Back in the day where we didn’t have this ever-present access to everyone’s life, we only had to care about those in our spheres of influence, primarily. But, to borrow the words of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, we face not only ever widening, but ever increasing, circles of content and communication.
What Do We Do?
Brooke decided, at the urging of her church, to fast from social media for a week.
And, me? Definitely implementing The Practice of Silence and Presence. I know for a fact that I spend less time in God’s Word and in prayer because of the multiple electronic interruptions and distractions. My mind has become way too full and way too preoccupied with beeps and tweets and dinging notifications.
But as I told Brooke, this ever increasing, hyper-connected world we live in isn’t going away. It’s going to get worse. I know…pretty fatalistic, right? But, oh so true.
The answer? Once again, we have to learn to manage it all. And that might mean disconnecting in order to reduce our anxiety levels.
Three Practices to Pray Anxiety Away
- Practice silence and presence.
- Practice physically letting go of something. I love to go down to the pier by my house and pray. Sometimes, I even take a big ole brick with me. I write down what is making me anxious or angry or sad or ____________ and then I say a little prayer and cast it into the river.
- Practice putting the Word of God into action. Read through Matthew [6:25]-34. Picture yourself sitting by Jesus himself as he talks and teaches the disciples about worry. What do you notice as you watch him and listen to his words? Close your eyes. Listen closely.
I’m going to practice with you today. As they take me into surgery, I’ll be thinking of our conversation here. I can’t wait until next time! We’ll share what we’ve learned.
And, thanks again for praying for me. Your prayers give me strength to face the day. Isn’t it great to have each other?