Go and do

There are days when I’m very critical. I get mad at the world, angry at political commentators, frustrated with the general state of our country and other countries. I sit around and fuss about the government and about people and I come up with a list a mile long of all the things everyone is doing incorrectly.

The government shouldn’t have to be the one we turn to in order to help the poor, people should.

Controversial words slapped on pictures hold way too much sway on the current generation.

No one fact checks.

Everyone hyperbolizes.

The rich don’t give enough.

The poor don’t do enough.

See? I could go at this all day, pointing out everything that other people are doing poorly. I could probably create an entire game plan on how to fix everything and submit it to the President if I wanted to. There’s a problem though: sitting on my rear end being critical doesn’t do a single thing. Nothing is going to change because I sit around complaining all day.

It comes down to a phrase that the Christian writer, activist, and hugger Bob Goff uses and I always come back to:

Love does.

The love I have for this world isn’t going to be expressed through a detailed critique of everything other people are doing incorrectly. The love I have for people isn’t going to come through the more I sit around yelling at the government or yelling at the wealthy to help people. My love isn’t even truly expressed through writing these words and posting them on a blog. The love I have for this world and all of the people in it can only be expressed in doing.

Maybe I write well, maybe I’m good at pushing through logical fallacies and calling people out on their bull, maybe I’m really clever and smart and can humiliate those who disagree with me. Ultimately none of these things matter because I’m not actually doing what I’m called to do. See, I’m not doing and that is the key.

So instead of lobbying for a certain political position or piece of legislation, maybe I should put that money and time toward helping families. Instead of complaining about the failing education system in this country, I could jump into it and reach into the lives of kids who are struggling. Maybe instead of condemning young women who have had sex and are pregnant and looking for an escape, I can come alongside them and walk them through the process and whatever process they choose let them know that they are loved through it all.

Why do all of this? Because Jesus has walked with me through my hardest times, through my darkest patches, and continues to pick me up when I fall.  He does. His love manifests itself through the people that step into my life with encouraging words, who come alongside me and tell me that it is okay to not have a job and that God has a plan, who tell me I will kill it in graduate school, and who insist that I can be a powerful force in the world if I just let myself be.  

I don’t think my life has ever been genuinely impacted by anything less than the people around me doing something. Actions speak louder than words and I believe actions carry the message a lot further. 

Go Big or go Home

It is difficult for me to come off of an inspiring weekend.

Monday rolls around and it seems as if everything I had learned and felt over the weekend gets crushed by the responsibilities of the week. This past weekend I got a chance to go to a leadership conference and hear Bob Goff speak. I also had a chance to worship with student leaders from all over California to celebrate the work we get to do in the coming year for God on our campuses. With emotions running high I was completely exhausted but felt completely blessed.

Then the dreaded beginning of the week rolls around and I realize that I have to focus to finish my work and my homework. I have to get to classes, run errands, and do x, y, and z before I’m allowed to rest. All of the inspiration I felt over the weekend is sucked right out of me as I fall back into my old patterns of living. Oftentimes I feel like a failure. I lost all that potential, all that energy, and now I’m stuck doing the day-to-day stuff that seems so insignificant.

After all, I’m not out saving kids in third world countries. I’m not able to fly around the world to meet dignitaries and work with them to change the world. I’m just a 21-year-old American college student with very little money to her name and no famous connections to carry my ministry across the world. While Bob Goff spoke about all of the grand, amazing things he is able to do because of the resources he has and the connections he’s made, I stepped away from it all feeling insignificant and thinking one thing:

I’ll never do anything as amazing as that.

What a big bunch of bull I have allowed myself to succumb to. I think in looking at Bob Goff’s message from the direction of, “I will never be that successful” I miss the point he was making. He doesn’t want us to do what he is doing. That is not the point of his insane stories or his exciting life. The point he was making, I believe, was to do what is true to us as believers. We don’t have to roam around the world promoting social justice. We don’t have to become an honorary member of the Uganda Consul. What we as Christians, as people, have to do is make the most of what we do have.

Where we are in any moment is our mission field. I forget that so often and get caught up in the “go big or go home” philosophy that I end up missing the opportunities right in front of my face. My mission field is the Starbucks I get my morning coffee at. My mission field is the school I attend. My mission field in the neighborhood I live in. My mission field is my roommate, my friends, strangers I pass on the street, and even my church. When I start small by reaching out to the people around me, the world starts to change.

Save one life and you save the world entire.

So my goal is to stop focusing on everything I’m not, everything I don’t have, and everything I cannot do. Instead, I’m going to focus on what I am able to do and go from there. Baby steps.

A New Beginning

I’ve done the whole blogging thing before but it did not go well.

Writing and I have a complicated relationship. For a while, writing was what I lived for. I knew when I sat down with a pencil in hand or with my keyboard in front of me that something freeing was about to begin. Just for a little while I would be allowed to escape reality and disappear into a world of my making. Then I hit college and the mountain of academic papers I had to write destroyed any desire I once had to come up with stories. I was burnt out and uninterested.

Lately life has been throwing curve balls at me and I have once again found solace in writing out my thoughts. The fact that I recently purchased an iPad has made it even easier for me to pause throughout the day, pull it out, and spend some time plucking away at the on screen keyboard. Since this desire to write has returned I have often thought about starting a blog, but always found a reason not to. Oh, I am no good at making blogs look good, I would tell myself. Who wants to read a blog that is hosted on a default layout? No one will want to read what I write, I’ll just be blathering on is another thought that often comes to mind. The way I’ve come to see it though is this: If people read it, they read it. If people don’t, they don’t. If my layout turns away someone from reading what it is okay. In the same way, if what I write is completely uninteresting to anyone else except me, that is okay too.

Do not get me wrong, I still feel anxious as hell writing this and putting my thoughts out there. In this blog I will talk about life, faith, and psychology and will probably get personal. That scares me. However, today I went to a leadership conference where the keynote speaker challenged my fear of doing.

Most people want to make a difference but don’t want to live differently. -Bob Goff

I do not want to be someone who listens to inspiring words, thinks “gee, that’s inspiring,” and then does nothing to change her life. I want to be someone who makes a difference. Unfortunately, making a difference usually means stepping out of my comforting zone and living differently. It is hard, but a task I believe I am ready to tackle.

So I am starting a blog…again. I am putting myself out there in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, by living differently I can make a difference.