A few days ago I was restless, nervous, anxious. The only thing that brought me peace was adoration or private prayer. I tried to read my Bible, but more than a few verses and I was back to that feeling of anxiety. I tried to read St. Teresa of Avila’s autobiography; same result. Picking up a book by my favorite author lead to sighs and tossing it aside after a few moments. Even Facebook, texting, and reading email, my normal diversions when I begin to feel restless all brought on anxiety and that feeling of “this is pointless” and “I’m wasting my time.” I spoke to my confessor about it. His diagnosis–I read way too much and I need to cut back.
Too much Bible reading? Too much spiritual reading? Too many emails about how to grow in faith and virtue? Yes. There can be too much of a good thing, where that good thing actually becomes harmful. I had reached my saturation point with the printed word.
Now instead of reading three emails per day about the faith, I read none. Instead of four separate books of the Bible for lectio divina, I read one. Instead of a chapter of spiritual reading, I tackle a paragraph. Even in non-spiritual reading I have tried to cut back. Sometimes we have to take a break from the doing and just…be. God will tell us, through anxiety, through restlessness, through discontent, when our lives are out of balance.
Look to Him. Rest in Him. Stop doing so much and take time to be. “I am who I am,” says the Lord of all Creation. May I be who He created me to be.