Activism Burnout, Freedom from Fear, and His Healing Love
By Jesse Jost
This past year has been so difficult because we have been cut off, to varying degrees, from in person fellowship and human touch and real life community.
We are desperate for human contact. Without it, we turn to the substitute of social media.
It has been wonderful to see babies being born, and cute stories and embarrassing moments. These good things from social media have been a gift.
But among the positives, have been the way social media has stirred up so much fear and frustration.
People feel frustrated that they can’t make more of a difference in the real world right now, so they turn to social media activism. At least we can bring awareness to the problem, they feel.
Awareness is such a vital first step to solving problems and injustice. It used to be that you were blissfully living your life, and someone would show you a graphic image of a slave ship. You were shocked. You woke up to the problem. You wanted to make a difference. You could take real action.
The problem today is the non-stop bombardment of social media activism. As I scroll through my facebook and twitter feed, I see activism about global warming and the need to reduce emissions, I see activism warning me that global warming is a hoax and part of an agenda to reduce human population.
I see activism about the coming economic collapse and the rising totalitarian agenda.
The list goes on. There are so many real problems in the world: Abortion, human trafficking, abuse of lockdown measures, hunger, addiction, and on and on.
When I see these all at once, I am filled with a sense of doom and that the world is falling apart. Rather than motivate me to action I feel weakened and filled with fear and despair.
On a personal level, when I do post on social media, I can’t see real life feed back from a human face, so I’m left with trying to decipher how I am being received by the number of likes or comments. When I am not noticed or disagreed with, I feel like my value and causes have been threatened. Those who disagree become a threat to me and the division grows.
So what can be done?
For me the first step has been healing my own fear and insecurities in God’s love. I have been moved to tears several times recently as God has awakened my soul to His unconditional love.
It’s not enough to know the love of God in theory, He has to speak his healing love to my soul. He does this through prayer and meditation on his word and through worship.
God has said,
“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.”
6 So we say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?” (Heb 13:5-6)
It has made such a difference when I am filled with fear about the future or anger towards who disagree, to stop and say “I am loved. I am safe.”
God is bigger! God’s got this! Jesus is ruling and reigning, all evil and injustice will be defeated.
But the big objection to all of this is: Isn’t that selfish? Isn’t that turning your eyes from the poor and needy? Isn’t that just letting evil advance because I’m doing nothing?
Paul says that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Tim 1) John says that perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. He who fears has not been perfected by love. (1 John 4)
We need to act, but first we need the fear dealt with. It’s a command from Jesus to not be afraid, but have his peace.
When our hearts are freed from fear and healed by love. It does not leave apathy, but a deeper motivation of love. Love acts! But love also does not feel threatened by those who disagree. Love does not hate or stir up contention. Love is patient and surrendered to God. Love builds unity.
The world needs love and action. But first we must find freedom from fear. We must be healed by His love. We must love one another fervently so they feel safe in our love.
Then we must act in ways that truly make a difference.
I challenge you this week as you go through your social media feed and see a problem that needs action, pray that God will make clear which one is your responsibility and which one is His.
Then put the phone down and take a deep breath. Focus on His love and presence until the fear is gone.
Then pray about the situation. Ask God if there is more you can do today to address the problem. If not, give it to Him and seek to do the things He is calling you to do today.
Those around you need your words and actions of love. But if you are overwhelmed by fear and frustration. The whole world suffers.