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I don’t know about you, but lately I feel like the world is falling apart at the seams. Most days I feel like I just can’t take anymore “news.” Between terrorist attacks, police violence, racial tension, and the 3-ring circus that has become the 2016 Presidential Campaign, I can literally go for days feel hopeless, helpless, and terrified about the kind of world I’m turning over to my children. Even if I don’t watch or read the news, I find myself walking around heavy-hearted and overcome with worry because I just know that the bad things happening all around me are getting worse every minute of every day.
This morning I was smacked in the face with something an incredibly courageous man once said:
The world will not change simply because we sit around and hope for it. And it certainly will not change because we sit around wringing our hands and being fearful of it. Therefore, we must choose to create that change for ourselves. Every morning we wake up we are all–regardless of our race, religion, or socioeconomic status–faced with a choice. We can choose fix our gaze on everything that is wrong around us, or we can choose to create a space in our hearts and homes where positive change can begin to flourish. We can choose to complain about broken homes, broken systems, broken people, and broken nations or we can courageously step out of our comfort zones and find places to get busy “fixing” things.
What does that look like for me? Rather than complaining about the number of kids being raised in single-parent homes, I can find a single mom or dad in my neighborhood or church and offer to help. Rather than ranting about racial tension, I can open my heart and my ears and really listen to my black friends and neighbors. I can ask them honestly about their experiences and the struggles they face and I can raise my kids to be sensitive and aware that not every child is born with the same privileges they have. Rather than expending energy being angry at the really bad cops out there, my kids and I can use that energy to make cards or cookies and take them to the police station to show our gratitude for the really good ones who sacrifice so much to protect us. Rather than complaining about corrupt politicians and a broken system, I can pay attention and get involved in my state and local elections. I can get informed about the unique issues facing my community and vote for leaders with a track record of integrity who are committed to tackling those issues.
I happen to believe that each of us has been strategically placed in our exact neighborhoods, schools, states, and countries as a very small part of a very large Divine, deliberate plan. No matter how insignificant our part in the plan may seem to us, being even a small part of the solution is far better than being part of the problem. And besides, the world doesn’t look quite so hopeless when we embrace empathy rather than judgement and faith rather than fear.
Change is created in the hearts, minds, and homes of individual people. Why not ditch the fear and step out with hope and faith to be those people?