I think I need to care less this year! Not be careless but care less.
Have you noticed how people are keyed up? Doesn’t take much to see a conversation go from boring to ballistic with just a couple of phrases. A lot of folks have a hair trigger.
Now more than ever, when people who don’t know each other well talk, they float conversational trial balloons. We have to see where the other person agrees or disagrees. Maybe a casual mention of the virus or the economy…how do they react. Is this person an ally who agrees and so it is safe for me to share my views, or do they disagree and I may have to argue or say nothing and remember not to talk to them anymore?
It can be exhausting constantly having to “check” where everybody is at before you can discuss anything. But we want to protect our echo chamber.
Maybe you just don’t have any more fuel to care. People have been screaming “fire” about everything lately and you are burned out. You can’t seem to muster much energy for the latest crisis, conspiracy or injustice. The part of you that cares, your carer is worn out (I know it is not a word but it is real).
With all of this I have decided the best strategy for my own mental, emotional and spiritual health is to care less. Don’t get me wrong I am not going to ignore important things, just the opposite. I want to give my best to what matters most.
In your life, you absolutely should have some things you care about deeply, passionately and consistently. But they need to be the right things.
I want to humbly offer you a filter for figuring out what to care about and what to care less about.
1) Stay out of the dumpster, especially when it is on fire.
Is it gossip, a sensationalized story or a conspiracy theory screaming for your attention? It seems like most of what is reported in the “news” these days falls into one of these categories. It is not worth your time.
Gossip doesn’t need much explanation. As a follower of Jesus we should avoid it at all costs. Gossip never helps it only hurts. I don’t want to hear or spread unflattering stories about other people that may or may not be true.
Sensationalized stories, you and I both know so much of this stuff is click bait. If they can get you to watch/read it forces you to look at advertisements. The more wild the headline and the more impossible the story the greater chance you will take the bait. It isn’t about telling you something important, it is about making money.
Conspiracy theories. Wow they are running rampant, about everything and from everyone. Some are so crazy I can’t believe anyone believes them. Others, even if they are true have no effect on us and we couldn’t do anything about it anyway. Ask yourself this question next time you come across something about an unidentified group who secretly controls the world…where is Jesus in this? The question where is Jesus, leads to the next filter.
2) Question the Destination
Does this thing in front of me, demanding that I care, draw me deeper into Christ or deeper into worry. Worrying about something is not caring. Worrying is obsessing over the possibility (usually remote) that something bad could happen. Is what is in front of me drawing me deeper into Christ, then it is absolutely worth caring about, otherwise, no.
When the issue creates fear, frustration and anger, let it be a warning light. At times, the things we should care about start with frustration or anger, because what is happening isn’t right. Someone is being devalued, a person is being taken advantage of, an innocent is suffering and these should be upsetting. This kind of frustration and anger is not a self-centered flare up, it is a desire to help.
However, many work to through fear, frustration and anger to manipulate. Using our insecurities and making threats they try to coerce us into caring. If the issue is drawing me into Christ and energizing me to care for others I am on the right track. If not, best to hold that anger and frustration in check.
3) Go all In
Once you blow off the junk and find the right destination, go all in. don’t hold back. Care with all you have.
The right cares and concerns are other centered. You cannot and should not live a life of cold self-absorption. The adventure of life, the feeling of significance the purpose you crave comes as you care for others.
If the end result of what you are caring most about is your reputation, safety, comfort, wealth, and ease, they are not worth caring about.
Don’t waste your precious energy and passion caring about things that don’t care about you. Do you think all the things yelling for attention care about you? They don’t. Politics will go on without you, Hollywood wants your money, and the gossips just want attention.
There are so many more important things for you to care about living around you!
How are your neighbors doing, really?
How can I build up my husband/wife?
What is happening with your kid’s spiritual development?
Is there someone at work that could use help and encouragement?
Who could I lend strength to?
If you are still stuck there is simple fix, restrict yourself to only caring about the things God cares about. When you do, you will never get off track and you will never wear out your carer!
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