Information Overload

February 2, 2019
by Diane Eaton

Excessive information has become a plague. That occurred to me one day after receiving a ticket for unintentionally violating a "No Parking 2 to 6 A.M." bylaw. If there was a sign somewhere, I missed it amidst the plethora of signs on the unfamiliar streets. Of course, that excuse didn't absolve the $40 fine.

Yet that $40 was well-spent, because it drew my attention to the terrible problem of information overload. Data pollution, as it's called, over-stimulates the mind, hinders the ability to think, and damages brain function. It makes us inattentive and unfocused. We end up giving token nods to information, but miss the critical bits. We'll click "I agree" to the 25-page "Terms of Service" without reading them. Apparently, Internet users are habitually doing that, even though these are legally binding agreements. Clearly, information overload poses a far greater risk than a mere parking ticket.

For the gospel message, excessive information and unclear language is especially deadly. No wonder the apostle Paul wrote:

Colossians 4:4 – Pray that I may proclaim [the mystery of Christ] clearly, as I should. (NIV)

That's how we can pray for one another — considering how religious communities are prone to obscure the gospel message through the use of excess wordiness and unclear verbiage. This habitual reliance on excessive information fosters the habit of inattentiveness, and then, the critical bits of Christianity get lost to the people. They compliantly click on "I agree" to the "Terms of Service" with little understanding of a commitment to God or His covenant agreement with them. This shallow pledge of faith will not endure trials or sustain the church into the future.

You see why I'm concerned about information overload: The critical bits of Christianity get lost. We end up focusing on less critical matters — perhaps defending them or even opposing them fervently. We'll drive our minds with needless burdens and anxious thoughts. We'll wear each other out making mountains out of molehills. And so, our peace is robbed through a relentless buzz of useless data affronting our minds.

The solution is to build habits of being alone, alone in our minds, alone and quiet with God, that we may clearly hear the critical bits for us and filter out the rest. Listen to Him calling:

Psalm 46:10a – Be still, and know that I am God. (NIV)

Matthew 11:28a,29b – Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened [with information overload] … and you will find rest for your souls [your mind, your life, everything about you]. (NIV with my additions)

Prayer: Lord, train us to calm our frenzied minds, that we may clearly hear and grasp "the mystery of Christ" — that we may understand, experience, and proclaim it clearly as we should. Amen.

About the author:

Diane Eaton <d.eaton@bmts.com>
Paisley, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank you.


    Amen Diane!


    Great analogies!


    AMEN! And thanks.


    I agree with you. Thanks.


    Wise words and very appropriate, Diane.


    Thanks Diane for sharing this devotional with us. Blessings.


    Thank you, Diane, for reminding us of the importance of spending time alone with God.


    Diane – what a great devotional. So apt for today’s world. Thank you and may God Bless your continued writing.


    Amen. Information overload has made truth and facts very hard to find, sometimes seeming to bend my mind.
    Thank you, Diane, for being God’s messenger to me today.


    Reminds me of the 1970 song: Sign, sign, everywhere a sign. Do this, don’t do that. Can’t you read the sign?
    When all this modern day over informative barrage hits me. Psalm 46:10 tell me just what I need to do.


    Thank you, Diane.
    Psalm 46 is one of my favourites and gives me peace and makes me feel calm. Your last paragraph is so very good, I am going to copy it and put it where I will read it often. Your prayer is also good.
    Blessings.


    Thank you, Diane! Psalm 46:10 is my mantra, and yet I still have trouble just being still! Your devotions are always interesting, educational, and a blessing.
    Keep up the good writing!
    Thanks again,
    (ON)


    Hello Diane,
    Thanks for sharing this devotional and a good reminder to shut out the overload of information and quietly concentrate on God’s word to us.
    Blessings for your thoughtful writings.
    (B.C.)


    Appreciate your pointing out how often we overload ourselves with useless information rather than arm ourselves with the ‘whole armor of God,’ so that we may be able to stand in the evil day. Sometimes these days do seem that way and all the information in the world will not help us stand. But God continues His loving presence and I am glad you point that out.


    Hi Diane,
    Yes indeed, during this time of information overload via the media especially, we do need a time for the Lord to calm our frenzied minds. I often wonder how our ancestors, and even we ourselves the people of my generation, managed to get along without all kinds of “experts” telling us what to do and not to do.
    Thank you for writing.


    Dear Diane:
    I confess it is not the first time that I am enlightened by the message you bring forth. Today’s message however spoke directly to my heart. It further presses upon me the importance and sincerity of the pledge I’m about to take. Quoting you: “This shallow pledge of faith will not endure trials or sustain the church into the future.”
    I hence pray that The Dear Lord, in the same way He caused you to speak to my heart, will strengthen my desire to serve him.
    Thanks be to God and to you for your continued sharing of His wisdom through your writing.


    Hi Diane,
    Thank you for this wonderful devotional! I so can relate to information overload and am very happy to see that someone wrote about it and how it can interfere with effectively living out the important gospel message! I’m also thrilled that you named it! I have been searching for a term I can use. Although you didn’t mention it, I think social media is the worst…everybody clicking “like” sending notifications out to people who then are distracted by yet another “bing”! I hope I live long enough to hear what the researchers find out about the effects of social media on people…I think I can already guess!
    Have a super day and thank you for being willing to write!


    Excellent, excellent, excellent, Diane! We all need the time with Him in quietness, very smart idea!


    Excellent, excellent, excellent, Diane! We all need the time with Him in quietness, very smart idea!


    Dear Diane Eaton,
    Thanks for the devotional.
    Keep writing, for the sake of our Lord and his kingdom.

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