Worry is only one of a hundred things that burden our souls. Genuine concern is just as dangerous, maybe more so because it’s grounded in something noble—your concerns for your aging parents, a sick friend, a people group, a cause crying out for justice.
Those kinds of things can fill a backpack, and make it mighty heavy.
Jesus began teaching me about benevolent detachment almost two years ago. Every time I would turn to him with a question, he would say, Give everyone and everything to me. The invitation rang so true; I knew I needed to learn this. So I began to practice it as best I could. But then Jesus kept on repeating the invitation. I’d be asking about something entirely unrelated to the people in my life—car repairs, scheduling a trip, my tax returns—and Jesus would reply, Give everyone and everything to me. It was irritating. I finally realized that the reason he kept repeating it was because I wasn’t practicing it very well. I was carrying people. Worrying about things.
We are far more entangled with the world than we know. And the thing is, people and causes have a way of entangling themselves with you too.
Some of this has to do with the moment we live in and the obliteration of social boundaries.
Thanks to social media, everyone’s life is open and accessible through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram—all of it. We’ve created an assumption that you can enter and observe, or engage, with anyone, anywhere, anytime. There are no boundaries. We’ve created an assumption that we’re entitled to enter anyone else’s private space at any time. It’s very harmful. Cell phones have been a major contributor to this loss of personal space. A friend who is a successful businessman explained to me how the rules of corporate loyalty have changed: “They expect you to be available anytime, day or night, because of this,” he said, holding up his phone. “They can text you, call you 24/7. You are now considered to be available anytime, all the time. Those are the new rules.”
People have this unspoken assumption they can enter your world anytime. It's suffocating to the soul; there's no breathing room. No wonder books like Boundaries and The Subtle Art of Not Giving an F are selling millions. People are looking for some way to push this stuff back just a few feet. Gimme some space for heaven's sake.
Benevolent detachment is your way out.