Worry . . . And The News . . . And Us . . .

A recent post from Dear Abby:

DEAR ABBY: My girlfriend watches the 24-hour news channels and seems to be obsessed with them. It is hurting our relationship and affecting her happiness. She’s constantly worried about national and international politics, global warming, the economy, health care, crime, etc. She neglects herself and her family. She seems agitated, anxious and depressed by all the news. Is this a disease? How can I help her get off this habit? What should I do? — MISERABLE IN MINNESOTA

DEAR MISERABLE: Your girlfriend appears to have become a news junkie. She’s overstimulated and hooked on the adrenaline rush she gets from channel surfing from one tragedy, outrage and horror to the next. While this may not technically be a disease, it is exhausting and depressing.

When the same thing started happening to me, I fixed it by turning off the news and going “cold turkey.” After a four-day news blackout, I felt like my buoyant self again. Now I ration my exposure. Please share this with your girlfriend because it’s what I’m recommending for her.

Holy Lions and Tigers and Bears . . . !

Oh, my. For those of us that can, try to think back oh, at least a couple of decades – maybe three. The news; it came in the morning rolled up on the driveway, and took 20 minutes of our evenings, minus the weather and sports. And for the most part, that was pretty much it.

But now?

Frazzled

Observing the photo above of Frazzled Fritz, it would be easy to attribute his fatigued, stressed out demeanor to any number of things. And at a point, don’t you agree, that there isn’t enough caffeine available to stem the tide?

From the Psych Central website, below are listed the top 20 stressors among American adults:

Death of a family member

     Terminal illness (one’s own or a family member)

     Physical incapacitation, chronic pain, or chronic illness

     Drug or alcohol abuse (self)

     Drug or alcohol abuse (family member, partner)

     Divorce

     Marriage

     Loss of job or job change

     Moving house

     Change of school (primarily for children or teens, but this can effect adults, too)

     Primary relationship problems (spouse or parent/child/sibling)

     Persistent Relationship Problems, non-primary (difficulties with other family members, conflict and loss of friends, difficulties with coworkers)

     Academic problems (poor grades, inability to retain information, problems with teachers, unable to meet deadlines)

     Occupational problems (lateness, absences, problems with boss or coworkers)

     Victim of abuse

     Victim of crime

     Criminal actions towards others

     Abusive actions towards self or others

     Extreme loneliness/lack of community membership or friendships

     Severe financial problems 

Somebody get me a Valium!

If you take just this list (and you can think of dozens more), doesn’t it stand to reason that there are already enough stressors in our lives than to add the bazillion things we might ingest as we obsess over the local, national, or world news? A compilation of surveys states that on average, American adults watch, read, or listen to more than two hours of news every day! And more on weekends.

th-2

We are blitzed by the news of our world. OK, so dog bites man, or man bites dog (which do you think is likely to generate greater coverage?) and we all watch the story unfold before us. We constantly hear that we are living in the world of “A 24-Hour News Cycle.” 

Really?

At best, it seems that it is a 60-Minute cycle, but I bet you a subscription to Fox News it’s fast-closing-in on a 60-second cycle.

So why report about the news?

Because never in The Human Person Owner’s Manual (aka Holy Bible) have we seen, “Cast your cares upon CNN, and it will sustain you.” 

or . . .

“NBC is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble.”

Instead, we are encouraged in Matthew 11:28-30:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Life is work. Isn’t that enough? And when I picture myself with a “yoke” around my neck and look to the side, I don’t want to see Katie Couric (no offense to Katie), but instead, the image of Jesus Christ, sweating alongside me and making the burden tons easier than it would be on my own.

Just think about the junk of this world with which we are filling our minds. Bombings, suicides, school massacres, murder/suicides in families, tsunamis, and the collapse of the American economy.

But wait . . . there’s more!

But don’t let Realtime be the cause of even greater stress. Can you imagine what goes through a child’s mind when they are watching a never-ending video loop following the latest school shooting? And what remains in that mind? The images? The sounds? Like a smartphone app, they stay open in the background of the mind, draining the emotional and security batteries day in, and day out, until fear . . . just . . . reigns.

Our wives and children deserve our time . . . and attention. Not the endless tragedies that infiltrate our lives 24-7 . . . if we let them.

How do you shield your family and loved ones from the barrage of “bad news” that is so readily available to us?

How might you “better” do that? Would you care to share?

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy1:7)

Don’t worry! Be Happy!

And, as always . . .

FINISH WELL!

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About Kyle Hargrove

There's really not much that's all that special about me . . . It was probably about a decade ago when I realized that "in all its glory." At about that time some of life's recent experiences taught me that regardless of who or what anyone ELSE is, and regardless of how much I may have built MYSELF up, I'm just one life circumstance from being just like anyone else. Although my pride took a ding in the process, it was ultimately a positive and humbling experience that gave my life a different direction altogether. I'm a pretty ordinary husband and father . . . Of course, ordinary comes in lots of shapes and colors. My wife Debbi and I have been married since 2000, and both of us had been previously married. She is a school administrator and has a work ethic that has been passed down generationally - usually leaves home in the dark, and for at least half the year, comes home in the dark too. We're praying that as our kids get through college, she can retire and fulfill some of her most intimate dreams. Debbi and I have five children (Adam, Cameron, Callye, Caleb, and Brandon), one grandson (William), one son-in-law (J.R.), somewhere around five "adopted kids," (not officially but in our hearts), and four dogs (Symon, Sombra, Sophie, and Duke). I often say that I love my kids and love my dogs, but there have been days that I liked my dogs more than my kids. That is of course, suggested in jest . . . mostly :) One of our sons has completed college, and the other four kids are still finding their way through that maze. We love Auburn University (Debbi's alma mater), and Texas A&M University (doesn't everyone?) It took a long time for me to understand my job . . . Professionally, I've had the opportunity to experience some fairly diverse "job titles." I came up as a burgeoning sports journalist, switched to church staff ministry, returned to school to earn two masters degrees, entered the world of private practice, experienced the world of corporate training, founded a Christ-centered residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, and enjoyed some more private practice. Oh, on top of that, I have enjoyed the thrill of becoming a teaching chef in my spare time. All of that took a lot of learning, understanding, and energy. But in 2003 through the benefit of Fellowship of the Sword, a ministry out of Fort Worth, Texas, God showed me what my real job was, and for the first time ever, I really, really "got it." He showed me that my real purpose in this life was to first serve Him, and in the outflow of that, to serve my wife, serve my children, and serve anyone else, anywhere else, who exhibited any need, whatsoever. For a very egocentric person, learning to serve is initially kind of hard. But as the blessings start to roll in, it becomes a joyous lifestyle. It's not always easy. I'm not always successful (I'm still kind of selfish). But it is one of the highest privileges I enjoy - the calling from God - to serve people - just like He did. If we're going to develop the character of Jesus, we had better get serving - the sooner the better. Cooking, singing, golfing, reading, speaking, teaching, and writing . . . Those are a few of my favorite pastimes outside of "work." I try to not let those things define who I am, but sometimes the golf thing gets in the way a little bit. And I'm really not that good. But I value my recreation and free time. I love being around people, and meet very few "strangers," but need "me time" too. I prefer outdoors to indoors, cool weather to hot weather, mountains to the beach, and being active to sitting still. I have traveled the world, and want to find new places, and visit the previous ones again. You could say I was born with a sense of wanderlust. I want to encourage you . . . This blog may have themes but the desire to write it, and the commitment to maintain it is about one thing more than any other. If through the blog, you can be encouraged, recharged, reminded, uplifted, motivated, or if you can just relate to something you read, I will sleep well and know that God has used something - as benign as it may seem on the surface, to help you move forward in understanding who you are, and what your purpose ultimately is. Life was intended to be dynamic - not static. One of my good friends Ricky Bobby once said, "If you ain't first, you're last." Although there may be some detractors to the actual truth (or benefit) of that statement, don't you want to live your life progressing? I don't want to sit around and wish I was getting better at what I do, or who I am. I was born to pursue - to improve - to invent - to move forward. When it's all said and done, I'd like to know that I ran after God, rather than for Him to have had to run after me. We'll all be challenged . . . Writing is sometimes as much about me as it is about you. My "bag of tricks" comes as much from my own experiences as it does anything I've learned from a textbook. I don't know about you (actually I do but certainly can't speak for you), but the things I have learned in this life have typically come from challenging circumstances, mistakes I've chosen to make, mistakes I've unintentionally made, places I shouldn't have been, and a myriad of other mostly-painful experiences. I think we're a lot alike. And I think we're about to find out. As always my friends . . . FINISH WELL!

Posted on April 23, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Oh, yes, an ongoing “discussion” in our family. I told my children that social media is Satan in disguise. They think I am obsessed about limiting their time on social media including electronics, but they don’t realize how this changes our disposition, our attention onto things that in the grand scheme of things don’t really matter. The saddest is that we believe what we hear on the news and take it as gospel rather than take the time to educate ourselves. Heck, we even try some of their suggestions just adding to the already insanity that we have in our lives. I just love to hear good news and I wait to hear good news. It really stores my faith back in humanity when I hear something good happened in our world. Why do we look for the negative? Negativity is like a magnet just sucking us in until we become just like everyone else. As you said, there is something out there to help us, we just have to focus on Him and keep all the garbage out. You know what they say in the computer world, “Garbage in, garbage out.” We should take some good sound advice. What comes out of us, is what we put into us on a daily basis. That is when we so our real selves. 🙂

    • So, so true jdaa12. And when what we are “offered” via the media does not provide for us what we “need,” it behooves us as spouses and parents to look for people, things, and places that can. Thanks for the uplifting comments, support, and readership. But most of all, thanks for being you!

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