Annie Testa

Fieldstone Counseling Administrative Assistant

“Did you hear… [insert a new piece of heartbreaking news]?” is a question that has become all too common today. Honestly, are you having trouble waking up each morning, with eyelids as heavy as your heart after getting through the daily news update? There’s no doubt it continues to be a sad and troublesome time to be alive. 

Listening to the news is like drinking lead, it goes down thick and then sits dense in the pit of your stomach, all the while leaving a sickening taste in your mouth. The past 2 years have been filled with traumatizing moments. While trauma is broadly defined as a deeply distressing event or experience, it may be described more personally as a type of inner wound accompanied by intense suffering. A global pandemic; political polarization; racially charged shootings; major national, financial insecurity; gun violence and heated gun control debates — these, and many other circumstances, draw our attention to the presence and impact of trauma.

Perhaps you can relate to this feeling of distress and anxiety from something as large and looming as the news. Recently, as I was spending my morning lamenting to the Lord all that was going on, particularly the latest heartbreak of that day, the Lord directed me to Romans 8:6. Which reads, “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace” (ESV). 

In the larger context, Paul is giving an explanation of the freedom the Gospel brings from the Old Testament Jewish Law. And when he mentions the “flesh” in this particular verse, what he is referring to are things of the fallen, unbelieving world. This is not the only time Paul, or the Scriptures at large, direct their readers to set their minds (Rom. 8:6, Col. 3:2), fix their eyes (Heb. 12:2) or think about (Phil. 4:8) the ways of God; his praise and his kingdom.

Therefore, friends, to set the mind on the latest news headline is death and anxiety, but to set the mind on God’s Kingdom come is life and peace.

Yes, I believe we ought to mourn and to lament sin and suffering in our world. But we cannot make them our lives. That being said, gospel motivated action is a noble effort. Even when we stand for justice and advocate for the outcast (which are both biblical commands) we do it from life and peace we’ve received because we long to see his Kingdom come. When our minds are set on news headlines or other anxieties of our daily lives, we withhold from God the trust he is due and withhold from ourselves the peace we’ve been gifted. 

We are called toward action amidst the broken world, to be bearers of light and life, and we cannot do it alone. So please consider with me, in the days and news headlines to come; how can I give this burden and lament to the Lord, and receive instead the life and peace of the Good News of the Kingdom of God, amidst this very moment?

For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace” 

(Romans 8:6 ESV)

Annie Testa is a Grace College Alumni, where she received a Bachelors of Science in Biblical Studies. She serves Fieldstone as the Administrative Assistant, where she enjoys learning from and serving the Fieldstone team, as well as, caring for and serving Fieldstone counselees.