I know everybody has something to say about the state of the world right now. But come with me for a moment, friend. I have an idea, and I can’t do it without you.
I know you see the stories in the news. I do too. They whisper to us – keep scrolling, keep watching, keep searching. We want to figure out What On Earth Is Happening. We want to be wise, to understand, to discern these times. We want to be in the know, to have some semblance of control.
Knowledge is good
We hear about riots, or violence, or protests. It’s scary beyond these four walls. The world outside says, “Stay home.” It’s easier, safer, more controlled.
Safety is good
Or there are a million ways in which our government is not doing what we think they should. It’s time to stand up, to stand in the gap, to stand up for what’s right. We want to be active, to speak up for change, to make a difference. We want to find a million and one ways to fight back.
Fighting back is good
We see the prices going up, and we remember that time a year and a half ago when the local grocery store was out of bread. And flour. And toilet paper. We make mental notes and checklists – what would my family need to survive, if there was ever a real food shortage? My pantry and my grocery list whisper, “Stock up. Get ready.” I buy, I organize, I plan.
Preparation is good
All the things that have us spinning our wheels these days – they might be good, and helpful, and worthy endeavors. But at the end of the day, we are parents. At the end of the day, our job begins and ends right here. And lately, I think I’ve been forgetting that.
Remembering what matters
If I’m so stressed out that I can’t count down the days until my son’s birthday, then doesn’t the darkness win?
If I’m so distracted that I don’t notice how the baby’s learned to grab his toes and roll from side to side, then doesn’t the darkness win?
If I’m so off-somewhere-else mentally that my daughter asks me a question about friendship and I tell her, “I’m too tired to talk right now,” in that moment, doesn’t the darkness win?
Can you tell, friend, I’m at the end of a long week of worries as I write this? But I’ve had a moment to reflect. And I’d like to propose something a little different.
Let the light in
I’d like to propose that every time fear comes knocking, we slam the door on its face and let the light in instead.
I’d like to propose that every time we’re tempted to hoard groceries, we think about who we’ll invite over for dinner next, instead.
I’d like to propose that every time we’re tempted to just keep scrolling, we put down the phone, and plan that birthday party, or that playdate, or that trip to the pumpkin patch.
And when it’s time to pick up supplies for said birthday party, or playdate, or trip, I’d like to forget about online shopping and actually go to the local corner store instead. Who knows, maybe there’s someone there who needs a friend today. Maybe I can make a difference in the community I have right here, and give a smile or an encouraging word to someone who needs it.
Not letting our hearts sink with the darkness
What if we watch the world grow darker, but we don’t let our hearts grow dark with it?
What if we remember that our relationships – with our families, our communities, and with God, don’t depend on current events? What if we stop bashing our political leaders and start praying for them? What if we took all that energy we’re using to grumble and complain, and used it to bake cookies for an elderly neighbor instead?
What if we ignored the cacophony of voices, and tattooed this truth on our heart instead:
“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” ~1 Corinthians 13:7
What if we tuned out the commotion, and tuned in to God’s Word instead? We might hear Him say things like,
- Do not fear.
- Love one another.
- I am with you always.
And we might remember that in times of stress, we actually need each other more, not less.
What if we decided to love each other like the world ain’t burning?