We, too, live in a world that triggers our souls into vigilance far too often. The complexity of modern life is mind-boggling. Thanks to the smartphone and the web, you are confronted on a daily basis with more information than any previous generation had to deal with! And it’s not just information; it’s the suffering of the entire planet, in minute detail, served up on your feed daily. Add to this the pace at which most of us are required to live our lives. It leaves very little room for that sigh and the experiences that bring it.
We live in a spiritual and emotional state equivalent to horses on the plains during the late Pleistocene.
This morning I can’t tell whether my soul is more in fight or flight. But I do know this—I don’t like the state I’m in. I didn’t sleep well last night (one of the many consequences of living in a hypercharged world), and after I finally conked out, I overslept, woke up late, and ever since I’ve felt behind on everything.
I rushed through breakfast, dashed out the door to get to some meetings, and now I’m rattled. I don’t like that feeling and I don’t like the consequences. When I’m rattled, I’m easily irritated with people. I didn’t have the patience to listen to what my wife was trying to say this morning. I find it hard to hear from God, and I don’t like feeling untethered from him.
I notice now in my rattled state that I want to eat something fatty and sugary; I want something that’s going to make me feel better now. When we’re unsettled, unnerved, unhinged, it’s human nature to seek a sense of equilibrium, stability, and I find myself wondering—how many addictions begin here, with just wanting a little comfort? Get out of the rattled place and soothe ourselves with “a little something?”
We live in a crazy-making world. So much stimulation rushes at us with such unrelenting fury, we are overstimulated most of the time. Things that nourish us—a lingering conversation, a leisurely stroll through the park, time to savor both making and then enjoying dinner—these are being lost at an alarming rate; we simply don’t have room for them. Honestly, I think most people live their daily lives along a spectrum from slightly rattled to completely fried as their normal state of being.
In the late morning, I finally do what I should have from the beginning—I pause, get quiet, settle down. I give myself permission to simply pause, a little breathing room to come back to myself and God. My breathing returns to normal (I didn’t even notice I was holding my breath). A little bit of space begins to clear around me.