What the Heart Can’t do in 2021

We live in a world that can be depressing. 2020 has been a constant reminder of what can go wrong. The good news–2020 is coming to an end!

2021 is just around the corner, but something tells me plenty will still go wrong. I don’t mean to be a “downer,” but our world is just messed up. I don’t think a new year is going to extinguish all the dumpster fires of 2020.

It stinks being a realist sometimes, but I’ve learned that my realistic heart can be rejuvenated with hope if I will monitor the amount of news, social media, and headlines I consume. Bad news, social media rants, and alarming headlines will choke God’s hope from my heart. How do I know this? Look at what the Bible says: “Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content.” (Ecclesiastes 1:8)

Wearisome! That is a good word to describe what happens to the heart when it becomes addicted to (or just goes along with) a 24/7 news cycle.

If you want to keep God’s hope for our world fresh in your heart, here are 3 things you can do:

1. Don’t start or end the day watching or listening to the news. Don’t ignore what is going on in the world, but don’t let the pain, rage, and injustice of it be the first thing you swallow in the morning or the last thing you absorb before going to sleep. To keep your heart from becoming desensitized or frustrated, use one of those times (morning or evening) to read or listen to God’s Word. Use the other to do anything that does not involve hearing or watching the news.

2. Read the news more than watching or listening to it. News media outlets are designed to give the most information in the least amount of time. The brain can handle the information, but the heart can’t keep up. The heart is not designed to carry the burdens of the world so it either gets overwhelmed or gives up. Both are unhealthy. When you read the news, your brain has time to take in the facts and the heart has time to feel. No one wants a disengaged, cold, or cynical heart. Slow the chaotic information down and give your heart time to hear the voice of God in the events of our world.

3. Think globally but act locally. Keep up with the world, but don’t become so globally aware that you are no good to your local community. God knows you can’t end poverty, but you can serve the underprivileged in your neck of the woods. He knows you can’t end wars, but you can love your enemy across the street. He knows you can’t stop racial injustice, but you can become the friend of someone who has a different skin color than yours. Don’t be so burdened with the wrongs of the world that you have no energy to battle the wrongs in your neighborhood. It is in doing good where you live that you will find the hope God provides for the heart.

The human heart was not made to literally care for the whole world. Only the heart of God can do that. Don’t try to be God. Be you. The Living God created your heart, and he has given it the ability to love and care in amazing ways. Find them and your heart will be filled with the hope that only an Almighty God can give.

Good Morning by Mandisa is a song that reminds me of the hope that is available each day. I pray it puts a pep in your step and a smile on your face as we start a new year.

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