Wake Up Part 4 – Creative Solutions

  • Spend time with people going through different struggles than the ones you’re going through. I firmly believe in the value of everyone’s struggles (which is another blog for another time) but I also firmly believe in the power of perspective. When you spend time with people who are going through the same thing you are, it’s easy to make your common issues seem very large. When you spend time with people who are confronting different problems than the ones you’re confronting, your problems begin to feel far less significant. Instead of getting bogged down in whatever you are going through, you will become aware of the needs of other people.
  • Pray against apathy. There is a line in Hillsong United’s song Hosanna that says, “Break my heart for what breaks yours.” Do we ever truly mean that when we sing it? A broken heart hurts! But is there a better way to wake up than to allow God to break your heart for those things that break his heart?
  • Look for ways to be less self-seeking. Our society focuses heavily on individualism, so thinking of others above ourselves takes a conscious effort. That being said selflessness can manifest itself in very small, loving actions. Empty the dishwasher for your mom, let someone go ahead of you in line, write a letter to a faraway family member, smile at friends and strangers alike. The options are endless, but the key is action.

What are some of your creative solutions?

Wake Up Part 3 – Rend Your Hearts

So far we’ve established that many of us are numb, and that we desperately need to feel again, but a question remains. Why is this so important?

Joel 2:13 says, “Rend your heart and not your garments.” Rend means to tear apart or cause distress. In this verse, the Lord is forewarning the people of Judah that locusts will come and destroy their crops. Typically, in a situation like this, the people of Judah would tear their clothes to express their anguish. In this situation, however, the Lord wanted them to feel this calamity on a deeper level. The people of Judah were caught in sin, and the Lord wanted them to wake up and feel the weight of their actions.

In the same way, God’s desire is for us to wake up! In the book of Ephesians it says, “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Ephesians 5:14.) God calls us out of a self-seeking lifestyle into an awareness of the needs of others. (Philippians 2:3 – Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.) He calls us to share in the suffering of our fellow man. (Romans 15:30 – I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.) God calls us to take a stand and to avoid being lukewarm. (Revelation 5:15-16 – I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.)

Waking up is uncomfortable. It’s never the easy choice. Many people choose to remain numb because awareness is just too messy. But sleeping people will never be able to change the world. I believe that the first step towards bringing the Kingdom of God to earth is waking up. So who’s with me?

Come back tomorrow for Part 4!

Wake Up Part 2 – Apathy

My life moves in seasons. Some are good, some are bad, and some are right in the middle. When I’m walking through a difficult season, I find comfort in knowing that difficult seasons often give way to beautiful seasons. Frequently, however, beautiful seasons give way to apathetic seasons. Why is that? I understand why hard seasons lead to wonderful seasons, but why do wonderful seasons lead to seasons of indifference? Maybe it comes down to my dependence on God. In the challenging seasons I turn to God because I recognize my desperate need for him. In the good seasons, however, I don’t ever feel the same need for him. Even though it shouldn’t be this way, my dependence on God is based on my perceived need for him.

I always need God, whether I feel like I need him or not. Apathy stems from feeling like I don’t need God. While the hard seasons of life are, well, hard, the apathetic seasons of life are a far scarier place to be.

Although apathetic seasons are scary, needing God is also scary. Depending on God means my life is no longer in my hands (as if it ever was in the first place.) As humans we desire control. We want to be in charge of ourselves, and we want a say in where our lives are heading, but that attitude doesn’t allow us to press into trusting God.

Where’s the hope in all of this? If apathy is scary and needing God is scary, where’s the good news?

The good news lies in a simple truth. God is trustworthy. No matter how frightening it is to trust him, trusting him is always worth it. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) God has never broken a promise, and his desire is for us to thrive.

What would happen if we chose to trust God? How would our lives look different? I think we would all be living better stories than the ones we’re currently living. His plans are better than anything we could orchestrate on our own. But in order to trust God, we must be willing to feel. Are we ready to feel again?

Come back tomorrow for Part 3!

Wake Up Part 1 – Leprosy In America

Leprosy is a disease of numbness. It numbs the skin so the nerves are no longer capable of feeling anything.

I don’t typically equate America with lepers because I’ve never personally met anyone with leprosy. Or have I?

In Shane Claiborne’s book The Irresistible Revolution he says, “It occurred to me that I was returning to a land of lepers, a land of people who had forgotten how to feel, to laugh, to cry, a land haunted by numbness.”

When we look at it that way, America is a land of lepers. Although it’s other people in other places who have physical leprosy, we are the ones infected with mental, emotional, and spiritual leprosy. We are numb. Can we learn to feel again?

Come back tomorrow for Part 2!