In the past month, my extra studying on origins science has faded into the background. My science professor actually asked me if things were going okay because she hadn’t gotten any questions from me in a while. I laughed and told her yes, I’m fine; I’ve just been busy with other things and needed to give my brain a break.
Being a critical thinker and a research-things-for-yourself student is exhausting. Essentially, it entails giving yourself an extra portion of homework. But beyond that, almost everything you’re learning in that extra research contradicts what you’re learning in class. That takes way more mental power to sort through.
Sometimes, apologetics and truth-seeking, combined with all the other aspects of life, gets overwhelming. You experience a case of information overload. So what can you do when this happens?
1. Take a step back.
It’s likely that you’re losing the view of the whole forest and getting stuck staring up at one giant sequoia tree. You’ve struck something huge, and it’s throwing off your game. You’re drowning in the swamp of too much information. You can’t see the big picture anymore, and you have no clue how all this fits together.
So take a step back.
Reevaluate your goal (What are you looking for? What are you trying to learn?) and analyze the steps you’re taking toward it. Are you keeping your search focused, or are you following a link trail all over the place? Are you giving clear and concise arguments, or ones that are totally scattered and random? Regain a perspective of the whole.
2. Take a break.
Remember, you’re in this for the long haul. Apologetics and truth-seeking is a lifelong pursuit. Pace yourself for the marathon rather than blowing all your energy on a sprint.
It’s okay to take a break. Yes, what you’re doing is important, but studying and argument-making can’t and shouldn’t take over your life.
Read a book just for fun. Watch an episode of that TV show your family member or friend has been begging you to watch with them. Better yet, spend some time outdoors, away from the books and the screens altogether!
3. Accept that this will never go just how you want it.
The reality is, truth-seeking and truth-sharing aren’t as neat and tidy as we hope they will be. They don’t always cooperate with deadlines or appointments, and they rarely go as planned. Inevitably, you will run into a new challenge you hadn’t seen coming, or the person you’re talking to will respond completely unexpectedly. Be flexible, and enjoy the ride.
So, when you experience information overload and you’re overwhelmed…
Remember, authentic apologetics is integrated into your life. But it’s also a deliberate pursuit of learning and growth–towards establishing what you believe and effectively communicating that to others. It takes effort and time–a lot of both!
Sometimes the best thing for your health and growth is to take a step back, take a break, accept God’s sovereignty in this area, and just let things simmer for a while.
Take Action: Give yourself a check-up.
Right now, take a moment to evaluate yourself. Are you feeling burnt out? Feeling lost and overwhelmed? Feeling like you’re taking one step forward, then falling two steps back?
Be honest with yourself and decide whether it’s time to put things on pause for a bit, so you can later return with fresh energy and perspective.