I love visiting online with my friends all over the world. But sometimes, it’s overwhelming. Our attachment can be good, really good. But it can also be emotionally too much. Let me explain.
This grandchild is very ill. Another child has cancer—accompanied by a photo of a precious, bald little one. This woman’s husband passed away. A friend lost his wife. A baby dies. I follow a childless couple on their adoption ups and downs. I am overwhelmed. Life is so hard and sad!
And then, there are the appeals for money. Go Fund Me for this cause, that cause—all good causes. Support an orphan, help a cancer patient, help pay for unexpected expenses, support our team effort . . . . It is overwhelming. I can’t. We are already helping people every week.
Do you ever find yourself overwhelmed by the negatives, the needs, the asking?
I believe there are five helpful steps we can take in order to be effective but not overwhelmed:
- Limit your connection. Don’t let your phone beep for every social media reaction. Go to social media less—yes, I’m preaching to myself. I find great rest to my soul and emotions when I limit to only checking twice a day. (Radical, I know.)
- Ask God to help you be discerning in using the money He’s entrusted to you. Decide priorities and boundaries ahead of time. When you can’t, you can’t. If God burdens you and you can, help!
- As you go through your friends’ posts, pray for them. Pray for each need as you read it. Ask God to bless and for His will to be done in each life and in each case. Social media can help us pray for others.
- Leave God’s work to God. You cannot heal the world, provide for the world, hug people not near you, or meet the needs in people’s souls. You can encourage them, but only God can do God’s work. There’s freedom in trusting God to meet needs.
- Praise God and think about good, honest, true . . . . The Bible speaks of thanks as an antidote for sinning. Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks (Ephesians 5:1-4). When God gives instructions for our thought life, this is what He says: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things (Philippians 4:8).
The next time you’re overwhelmed by the needs you see on social media, turn your thoughts to praise. Look for the good, and reject the oppression that can come from empathizing with so many legitimate needs. Pray for your friends, and leave their issues with God. After all, He’s working in all our lives!
God bless you!