At the beginning of August, I muted most of my informational/news accounts on Instagram. There’s so much hurt and pain and horrible things going on in the world this year, more so than even what the media has been sharing with everyone. Pretty much since this pandemic thing has started, I’ve been following these particular accounts that give accurate and unfiltered information and news on the constantly evolving situation that is 2020. Every day I’d open my Instagram and be bombarded with not just my favorite bookstagram people and writers, but with a daily dose of hard to swallow info and news about the world. I was under the impression that it’s important to be uncomfortable and to be aware of what’s going on even if it’s hard and it makes you cringe. But then the end of July happened, and I burned out. The pain and sin in this world was crowding all around me and overwhelming me. It all felt like too much. Even though I leaned into God like never before as my eyes were opened to things in this world I wish didn’t exist, I started to feel hopeless and depressed. I could feel myself spiraling. Life didn’t feel enjoyable anymore. Everything I did felt pointless and dull. I was so full of anger and frustrating and sadness and helplessness. Every time I opened up my phone, I just saw more and more bad stuff that I could do nothing to fix. The only thing I could really do was pray, but at the time my head knew how important and powerful prayer is but my heart didn’t. So, I realized the best thing to do for my mental and heart health was to mute every single account that has been keeping me informed. I deleted Twitter. I got very disciplined with how long I was on Facebook every day and if I saw anything that made me uncomfortable or cringe or feel any sort of anxiety, I went off Facebook and did something else.
I needed a break from the constant influx of bad news because honestly, no matter where you look like right, no matter where you get your information, it’s almost always some sort of bad news. I was exhausted and needed to recover from the burn out. And slowly... I did. I feel like I had a weight lifted off my shoulders. I didn’t realize just how much all the bad news was affecting me until I went a few days without looking at anything to do with politics or the news. It felt good. My anxiety started to level out. I can’t really describe it, but I just felt better. I was able to focus on other things again, start to focus on life and just living life again and finding enjoyment in the small things. There are other things that contributed to that, but more or less the biggest thing that helped was shutting off the constant influx of information. 2020 started to feel a little more bearable.
Fast forward to the first two weeks of August. We moved and are trying to settle in and get things sorted out and organized.
I was sitting in bed in the evening and was looking through Instagram and could just feel that I was ready to slowly dive back into being aware of what’s going on in the world. I unmuted a few of my favorite accounts and looked through them. It wasn’t until a few days later that I had this crazy epiphany. I realized that during my little info break... I had stopped praying as passionately as I was in July. I stopped being so serious in my prayer. It was when I felt helpless and hopeless that I leaned into prayer and was hungry to know as much about prayer and about God as I could. I found purpose and hope in my relationship with God like never before. And while I had disconnected myself from the world’s problems... I had stopped knowing what to pray for or how to pray so that it would specifically help certain areas of this very broken world. I stopped praying for our nation, for our president and our leaders. I stopped communicating with God about the things that hurt my heart.
I realized in that moment that I can't swing either way. There has to be a balance. I can look out for my mental and emotional health while also staying aware of the current situations going on in the world. When there were those bombings in Lebanon and all over the world, I hate to say when I saw articles on them or anything to do with them I closed out of that app and ignored it because I didn't want to see another bad thing happening in the world. I didn't start praying for those effected or educating myself on what was happening with those bombings till days later. It was hearing about those bombings that made me realize all of this actually. I unmuted a few accounts because it didn't sit well with me to go around living my life not knowing what was going on, shoving my head into the sand because it was too uncomfortable to know. When I finally did see what was happening with those bombings that was when I started praying hard again. That was when I started being bold in my prayer again for those effected, for those countries and for everything else I had been praying for throughout the month of July.
I guess what I'm getting at is to know what to pray for and how to pray to help specific people and specific places and broken areas of the world we have to get a little uncomfortable. There is a way for me to keep my sanity and take care of my mental health while also being aware enough to know what to pray for and when to pray for it. Prayer is powerful, and God wants us to use it to make a difference in this world. Prayer can heal people and places and brokenness. All we have to do is have faith and trust and know what we're praying for. I'm still learning that balance, but I know now that I can't shut myself off from the brokenness and pain of the world just to make myself feel better. I can't be effective in my prayer if I'm curled up in my little ball of comfortableness.
More than ever before we need prayer. We need bold prayers that are willing to get knee deep in the dirt and grime of this world. We need to keep our head above the sand and our ears to the ground so when God puts something in front of us to pray for, we're there and we're ready. 2020 is a year full of hard and uncomfortable things for everyone. Protect your mental health, but also, don't shy away from the things that make you squirm because more than likely, those are exactly the things we are called to pray for. God gave us hearts with a vast array of emotions for a reason, and He tailored each of our hearts to respond to certain broken areas of the world in different ways. If something touches you deeply and moves you and hurts you and makes you angry or uncomfortable then pray for it. Pray for those effected, pray for those who are on the front lines, ask God what you can do to help that situation or broken area, ask Him to give you discernment and to lead you in your prayer and to ways where you can be a help. He may lead you to pray some more. He may lead you to use your social media or your blog or your actual voice to bring awareness to that brokenness.
Don't be afraid to wade into the deep waters. Ask God to protect your heart, mind and soul. Take a break and a step back when you need to catch your breath, but then dive back in and keep praying for those hard, uncomfortable things that hurt your heart.