I first heard the term “compassion fatigue” in a meeting for volunteers. It was about not trying to pour from an empty inner cup. Giving is good, but we have to be resting and taking in what we need to have anything to give. Excellent concept – and important for all of us to avoid compassion fatigue so we can say yes when God calls on us.
Then, in trying to grow as a mother, after walking through my young son’s suicide attempt, I sat in the middle of my bed, with books stacked on the nightstand, pod casts sending notifications on my phone screen, books due back to the library, and YouTube channels subscribed to, but the videos mostly untouched.
I’d read some. Listened some. Watched some. And soon the messages were blurring together, I wasn’t uncovering anything that I hadn’t just read/listened to/watched. But I was trying to keep up with consuming all this media to help me grow through this experience.
Good idea, bad strategy. It was too much. I was deep in the throes of content fatigue and not gaining ground in the whole growing-through-pain thing I was shooting for. I was momentarily caught up in so much content that I forgot to reach for even the hem of my Savior’s garment. I’m not really a “self-helper” so my piles of media were Christian based. Or at least Christian sprinkled.
I was overwhelmed and not seeing God in the mess – especially in the part of the mess that I was making for myself. I took books back unread. I deleted pod casts. I unsubscribed to YouTube channels and emails. I even stopped multiple Bible plans in my YouVersion app.
Not all of them, Bible plans are good food for our spiritual journey. But I am a busy mom and I needed to live in the mess, not in the piles of media, trying to become an expert or something. And when I crawled out of the rock pit of too much media, I was able to apply what I’d read, listened to, or watched. I was able to see the hand of God moving in my life, through people, and in the midst of painful circumstances.
Maybe you are drowning in content, not because of a tragedy, but because you are trying to learn something new. Or you are just greatly interested in something. Whatever it is, it’s okay to not consume it all. You cannot consume it all. There is too much content being created and released on a daily basis for one person to consume it all.
Read one book at a time. Listen to one or two pod casts at a time. Watch one or two YouTubers at a time. It’s okay if you don’t “complete” all of their content – get what you can for a while, then unsubscribe. You have to use what you’re learning to keep learning more. You have to apply it before it really starts to sink in.
Don’t beat yourself up because you haven’t watched/seen/heard the latest thing that is a craze. Pick content that makes you more of who God is calling you to be. Pick content that stretches your mind, challenges you and keeps you focused on Jesus.
Until next time,