If you just turn on the news it is everywhere. Worry. Fear. Defeat. Speculation. Everyday there is a new development on the impending spread of Ebola. Stories about the horrific crimes against humanity by ISIS pepper our daily newspapers. A few years ago, the news was saturated with the stock market crash. Before then our minds were consumed with E coli or avian flu. A decade ago it was Y2K and before that the pandemic of AIDS. No matter where you go – life and chaos confronts us.
Where do you find refuge during times of chaos?
When I am bombarded by the horrific news story or overwhelmed by the negativity in the world, I usually take a media fast and focus on more positive things. This morning as I sat in church and listened to the message, I had a tiny little revelation. I realized that I often overlook an obvious place of refuge…God.
Psalm 91:4 says:
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
The scriptures my pastor shared reminded me that God is always watching and He is aware of everything I do. Matthew 10:29 tells me that God watches over the sparrows and that he will not let any of them fall to the ground. If God takes care of the sparrow, won’t he also care for me?
Psalm 46:1 tells us that God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
My pastor shared several things I could do when I feel overwhelmed with the chaos and burden of my world. Below are a just a few:
1. Take a media fast. Turn off the news. The news industry is a business and like any other business, it will do what it can for the sake of generating revenue and profits. If the news business is profitable, it is more attractive for advertisers who will increase revenue and profit. News agencies look for ways to sensationalize news stories so that you will not only watch but also come back for more. As a marketer by trade, I understand the dance of revenue and profit. I am not criticizing the industry; however, if you are totally consumed with the news and the negativity is affecting you, please take a media break. I have chosen to “opt out” of watching the daily news. By limiting my intake of news media, I have found that the headlines don’t often change. There is never a shortage of stories covering war, murder, slander, cheating or scandal. Although there are human-interest stories (more often during the holidays) sprinkled in the news, the coverage is often unbalanced compared to the negativity. I choose to fill my mind with things that build me up and not tear me down. I devote my time to things that are life-giving and I offer less of my mind to life draining content.
2. Seek wisdom for guidance. Consult the scriptures for guidance on the topic that is worrying me. It does not do me any good playing out the worst-case scenarios in my mind. We often whip ourselves into frenzy and plan for the worst. I know that my imagination can be more dramatic than reality. There have been so many times when I worried myself over things that never actually came to fruition. What a waste of my energy!
Learn about what God has promised for your life in the bible. Read about God’s wisdom, power and faithfulness. Memorize scripture that will provide wise perspective on your life’s issues. I often find that the book of Psalms and Proverbs are bursting with guidance. Both are great books for wisdom. I also use the concordance (at the back of the bible) to help me search the scriptures on specific topics.
3. Get the facts for yourself. Find every piece of information on the topic that is bugging you. Seek the facts for yourself (minus the drama & sensation). For example, it is highly unlikely that you will contract Ebola by being in the same car, plane or bus with an infected person. Unless you and that person exchanged bodily fluids, you most likely will not get the disease. You have more chances of catching the flu (and by the way more people die of the flu each year than Ebola). It’s crazy! I have had friends declare that they were going to curtail their traveling plans for the remainder of the year because of Ebola. These same health conscious friends; however, won’t plan to get their flu shot either. So they will postpone their vacations to avoid Ebola yet they won’t go get a flu shot to protect them from something they have a high likelihood of contracting. Go figure.
Let the facts from your research help you determine how scared you should be. At least you will be in control and armed with the cold hard facts instead of letting the local news anchor drive you into frenzy. You can control how you react and your fear.
If you want specific scriptures for the next time you find yourself camping out at Worry World, check out the verses below: