I’m an information junkie.
When making a decision, I want options and I’d like to know just what they are.
In an age where computers are assumed vital, this is easily accomplished. Each morning, I fire up the thinking machine on my desk and within seconds, Fox News is dumping information into my lap. More information than a soul could possibly need. I scan the headlines while a cup of caffeinated-something-or-other keeps me chugging along just like the hard drive whirring within the plastic box at my side. The tower, it’s called. Just one of the many stops the daily news makes on its way to the nesting place between my ears.
But, Fox News isn’t my only source of info (some of you just heaved a huge sigh of relief).
I read ten or fifteen blogs a week; Google and I are fast-friends; there are RSS feeds that slide right into my email inbox; and Wikipedia is a frequent stop of mine. I don’t even (much) mind the oft-biased opinions threaded into the commentary spewed at me from the world at large. I’m smart enough to weed out the opinions. I’m well read. I know what I believe.
And yet, my moderately intelligent, sponge of a brain has a limit.
Like that line on the Bisquick Shake ‘N’ Pour container: You can keep adding water, surpass the recommended measurement. Fill it right up to the lid, in fact, and be darn proud of yourself for squeezing so much in. But, I’m not quite sure you’ll get what you’re looking for. For starters, I think you’ll have an awfully hard time getting the pancake mix and the water to successfully meld. To get full value out of your “shake,” the water and mix need a little elbow room. They need a place to dance around in. Without some empty space, you may just end up with a bloated tub of water and powder.
But, let’s say you’ve got the Paula Dean anointing and do get that itty-bitty handful of mix to blend with the oodles of water you’ve added. My guess is you’re going to have nothing but a slew of sad, thin, little pancakes. No substance. No yum-factor. Nothing for the chocolate chips to melt into. Just wafer thin, useless carb carriers. No one’s gonna want to eat ’em and all your effort will have been for naught.
Often, when I’ve been on an information binge, I’m just like that pathetic Shake ‘N’ Pour container. I somehow exceed the recommended dose of global, situational, and social advisement, and there I sit: a bloated, good for nothing info-hog unable to successfully process the junk crammed into my head. These days are anxious days. Impatient ones. The cogs are hard at work trying to force too much info into the saturated sponge that has become my mind.
At times like these, when I’ve thoroughly gorged myself, it becomes necessary to unwind a bit–make room for the new facts and opinions to dance with the old ones. But, even this is only moderately successful, and it can take days for me to return to a sane place where thinking things of substance trumps regurgitating good-for-nothing bylines.
Advice from here. Advice from there. Tips on how to be successful. Testimonials from those who’ve failed. Tragic news stories from across the globe. Sports scores and The Fashion Police. “How-to” books and the like. While information technology can be a very liberating tool, I am finding that it can also handicap me. Too much, too quickly and I’m toast. I’m a walking sound bite–a billboard for the latest news I’ve ingested.
And that can’t be the way God intended it.
Perhaps it’s the difference between moderation and excess. Maybe it’s understanding the difference between the information I need and the information I want. Or it could be that while I’m craving knowledge, I should really be seeking wisdom.
James, the brother of Christ, talks a lot about wisdom. He says this, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
Maybe before sidling into the computer chair, I should open my Bible. Maybe filling my mind with a morning foundation of God stuff–pure, peaceable, gentle, reasonable wisdom from above–will remind me that collecting information will not make me wise.
I’ll say it again: Collecting information will not make me wise.
It will not make you wise.
The only way to redeem knowledge for wisdom is to apply the lessons of the Word to our busy, info-inundated lives. And to apply the Word, we must know the Word. And we will never, ever know the Word if we are spending our day searching computers, newspapers, or televisions for more information.
While extricating ourselves from a routine of intelligence gathering may be painful, I’m betting it pays off in dividends. I’m betting we’ll be more productive and more reasonable. We’ll be less anxious and less busy. If we swap out half the time we spend searching for meaningless information, trading it instead for time digging through the Word, I’m guessing our daily satchel of cares will be a little lighter and our heart a lot happier.
We may know a tad less, but we’ll have a direct line to that wisdom from above.
And that sounds like the kind of junkie I’d like to be.