I go through rollercoasters of emotions, highs and lows. I can really get caught up in the sorrow of this world and get consumed by how much darkness there is, wondering what we can do to change it. I am bothered by our culture, the emptiness, the destruction of lives, families, morals, the wasting away of everything good. It hurts to imagine what people are going through. I feel it all.
Sometimes I laugh because this attitude reminds me of Woody Allen in Annie Hall (or just Woody Allen for that matter).
When Annie and Alvy are at lunch and he’s being a miserable sad sack, as usual, she remarks about how he’s incapable of enjoying life. He says,
“I can’t enjoy anything unless everybody is. If one guy is starving someplace, that puts a crimp in my evening.”
Sure, nobody likes a pessimist, and feeling by itself does nothing, it’s action that counts. But sometimes I can relate to this doomsday attitude about the state of the world.
But then, out of nowhere, there are those days when nothing moves me. These are the days I absolutely dread and fear, the days that keep me in a rare state of void. Void of real feeling, drive, passion, emotion. Tired of feeling, tired of being concerned, and sick of even thinking. Just wanting to tune everything out.
I cannot stand feeling this way, and it scares me when it happens. In that moment, I just pray that it won’t last and that I’ll wake up the next day with a fresh heart for God’s will.
Apathy: without feeling.
This is a good definition: freedom from suffering.
“I’m sorry,” I could say. “I just can’t take all of this feeling and suffering on behalf of others anymore. It’s really getting to me, so I have to excuse myself.”
Apathy is making a decision to keep the things that people are dealing with, those icky, unfortunate situations, the plights of souls all around the world, in a place where it doesn’t affect us. Apathy is to be “free” from sharing in suffering.
Indifference: lack of interest or concern.
“Anger isn’t the opposite of love. Hate is, and the final form of hate is indifference…”
-Rebecca Manley Pippert
These are Satan’s emotions. These are the things that keep us from budging. Apathy and indifference are his territories! Because we can’t be the hands and feet of Christ if we don’t first care enough to take action.
Because, let’s face it, caring is really exhausting. It takes a lot out of us.
I think indifference is an understandable human response in a culture like ours. I can look at my situation and see that I’m doing okay and getting by just fine. And I can look over and see someone who really needs help and love. Ehh, I think I’ll just mind my own. It’s safe, automatic, and easy.
Caring requires selflessness, it requires inserting yourself into the lives of others and tapping into their pain. It’s uncomfortable and it wears our emotions.
Gosh, life could be so easy and comfortable. I could drift in this middle ground of being aware of evil and suffering but keep it at a safe distance. I could tune everything out and be numb to the world around me. It’s so much more convenient to just push it out of my mind and sigh it away.
Satan LOVES this wide road, moving forward like fish swimming downstream, just trying to survive and make it each day. Our culture is just one big road of moderation and comfort. We are zoned out and plugged in, looking forward and not around at the other lives around us. We don’t know our neighbors, we don’t even make eye contact with strangers, we talk more about the people on TV than people in our own communities. We have more awareness than we’ve ever had, we are more hooked up to what is happening all around the world, but we’ve grown cold and devoid of empathy. We are a big mass of people looking out for “Number One.”
But what if my Number One was Christ? And with Christ, His commandments? To love who He loves, to serve who He came to save. Turning around and swimming upstream. Stepping out of the comfort zone and thinking first about others.
This is where I want to be:
Compassion: a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.
I’m really tired of drifting downstream. I want to make the choice to do the difficult things. And it can be really, really difficult, because the comfort zone on the couch is always calling out to me. But because Jesus saved my life, because He loves me, I want to reflect His love onto others. Not only do I want to but He commanded me to.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
I want my heart to be broken by what breaks God’s heart. I’m afraid of falling into a life of indifference, safe from the reality of what people are desperate for. The world is starving for compassion and love. As children of God and people who love Christ, let’s rise up, love and serve others, and become the counterculture that we should be!
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'”
All my needs you have supplied,
When I was dead You gave me life.
How could I not give it away so freely?
I’ll follow you into the homes of the broken,
I’ll follow you into the world.
Meet the needs for the poor and the needy, God,
I’ll follow you into the world.
Use my hands, use my feet
To Make Your Kingdom come…
I give all myself to You.
Take these hands I know they’re empty,
But with You they can be used for beauty
In Your perfect plan—All I am is Yours.
Take these feet, I know they stumble but You use the weak
You use the humble, so please use me—All I am is Yours.
I give You all my life, I’m letting it go
A living sacrifice, No longer my own
All I am is Yours, All I am is Yours
Take this heart, set it on fire, shining in the dark
I wanna tell the world of who You are
All I am is Yours, I give You all my life
I’m letting it go, A living sacrifice
No longer my own
All I am is Yours, All I am is Yours
6 thoughts on “when apathy strikes”
This is a great post! Thanks for writing this, such a good reminder to us about how to be in our walk with Christ.
I have posted part of this with a link to your site!
You can see it here, http://inspirationalchristiansfortoday.com/2012/02/11/when-apathy-strikes/
Honored, thank you!
This is beautiful! I completely understand the feeling of wanting to run upstream but getting too lazy or being too scared. Why does it have to be so much more difficult sometimes to do the Lord’s will. Why does it have to be so hard to do what’s right?
Exactly! I always think, well, I guess that’s why Jesus warned us that the gate was narrow. It’s so easy to get swept away in that gray area! Plus, I know Satan never attacks me when I’m there.
I know! But don’t beat yourself up too bad! One person can only do so much and Jesus knows our hearts. I also take comfort in knowing he knows how it is to be in this human condition. Nice post!