Several friends who are pastors help keep me grounded when I let the constant swirl of debates taking place within the ranks of the Southern Baptist Convention — and all around us in society on any given day — engulf me.
A quick conversation with one of them and a few minutes scrolling on Facebook remind me of all the life moments taking place at any given time.
Some friends are celebrating, while others are walking a painful journey. Some are numb from the news they just received; others are wondering how they are going to make it another day.
It’s always humbling when I realize I’ve gotten caught up in something that, while important and needs appropriate attention, is not the be-all and end-all of most people’s worlds day in and day out.
“I’m just keeping my head down and trying to take care of my people,” one pastor friend said. “There’s plenty to keep my attention here. I don’t have time to worry about all the back and forth arguments taking place.”
“I used to spend a lot of time reading leadership books and absorbing everything I could on how to be a strong leader, but then I finally realized that what I need to focus on is loving the people in my congregation. Everything else will work itself out,” another pastor friend said.
“I don’t know who to trust anymore, and I don’t like all the ugliness, so I don’t read or listen to any of it anymore,” another friend noted.
“I purposefully don’t engage in social media, and I don’t watch TV news … but I do read The Alabama Baptist each week and my family alerts me to anything else I need to know,” one pastor shared. “I also can sleep peacefully at night,” he added.
Another friend in ministry shared how her tender heart becomes anxious when listening to commentators’ raised voices discussing the latest happenings in the world.
Thinking on how to protect her heart and ultimately her ability to care for those around her, she developed a plan to stay informed.
She reads her news rather than listens to it, and she asks her husband to share a brief summary of what he knows of the day’s top news items — just the facts with no drama tossed in.
The 24-hour news cycle allows all of us to stay informed up to the minute and provides countless benefits.
But as with any overindulgence, it can become detrimental if we aren’t careful to learn how to moderate our intake.
Becoming obsessed with any particular debate, organization, group of people or high-profile personality distracts us from the people and situations within our reach on a daily basis.
God has granted each of us opportunities — and family and friends — for which we are responsible in some way.
He expects us to be good stewards of the assignments He has for us; and we can only fulfill our role if we allow Him to fill our hearts and souls first, rather than the unending frustrations of the world.