Monday, November 30, 2015

Less Talking - More Doing

I was tossing and turning one night, unable to sleep from frustration and discouragement.  Try as I might, I felt like my words of evangelization were the equivalent of spitting on a forest fire.  All of my efforts seemed utterly fruitless and I thought that perhaps I had missed God's will for me entirely.  I thought I should give up, scrap this blog, and admit failure.  My heart cried out to God to just tell me what He wanted from me.  "Lord, I want to do your will, but please, I don't know what you want me to do!  Don't be subtle, I'm too dense for that.  A boot to the head, neon sign, or something of that order is most necessary."  

As usual, when I'm throwing a tantrum like this, God did not give me what I wanted.  Instead, a gentle message worked its way into my heart, two actually.  The first was a reminder of some wise words from Blessed Teresa of Calcutta:  God does not ask us to be successful, only to be faithful.  And: If you are discouraged it is a sign of pride because it shows you trust in your own powers.  Ouch.  I had to realize that my idea of success and God's are not necessarily the same.  I don't know God's plan;  I can only be faithful to what I think He is calling me to do.  If this blog stays relatively unknown forever, and nobody but a stray friend with words of encouragement ever comments on it, then so be it.  It is not for me to decide whether or not this is worthwhile.  I may never know God's purpose in my sitting for countless hours trying to drown out the noise of children to focus long enough to get these thoughts out of my head and on the screen...and I don't need to.

The second message was the title of this post:  less talking, more doing.  Over and over it repeated in my mind and I could feel the start of something.  I could also feel the realization that I wasn't getting anymore sleep because once the gears start going on a new idea it's hard to make them stop, even if it is three in the morning.  But what it turned into, is the idea that we do so much talking and so little doing.  This is true more today than it has ever been.  Thanks to modern technology we are able to communicate with anyone anywhere in the world.  How ironic and sad that we are more capable of communicating now than we have ever been, yet we've never been more out of touch with our fellow man.  We can surround ourselves with everything we like and nothing we don't.  The more we "like" on Facebook, the more we see of what we like.  Don't like what somebody has to say?  You can make it go away!  Somebody getting on your nerves too much?  You can unfriend and block them!  We can create our own little virtual bubble to live in and the effect it is having on society is undeniable.  We feel entitled to never be upset or offended...ever.  We declare the need for safe spaces and healing spaces and trigger warnings when people are going to say things that might upset us.  And finally, we consider it helping our fellow man when we share a post or change our Facebook profile picture to raise awareness.  

Now, I understand the blaring hypocrisy of a blogger calling out the virtual world.  This post will be shared on Facebook, and I'll ask everyone to read it while encouraging people to spend less time on Facebook.  Social media has its purpose and can be a really good tool used to accomplish great deeds which would otherwise be impossible.  But it has a way of taking over our lives and I'm sure most people can acknowledge that.  We need to find a balance of spending just enough time on social media and technology in general to gear us up to get back to real life with focus and purpose.

So what's your point?

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What do I mean by "less talking, more doing?"  Let's stop spending so much time broadcasting our opinions and more time putting them into action.  Rather than trying to convince each other that we're right, let's show why.  Speaking directly to my fellow Christians, put your Faith into action.  Don't just tell people what you believe, show them.  Show them the fruit of Christ living within you.  Show people what God's love makes you do and let them know that He is the reason.

Non-believers, you're not off the hook here.  I hear it all the time that we don't need God to be good people.  Let's see it.  What does your love for humanity make you do?  How are you moved to act by what you believe?

Now, do I expect everyone to run out there and adopt twelve kids, end world hunger, and bring about peace in the Middle East?  Of course not.  We have jobs, kids, responsibilities coming out our ears and I get that.  Now, perhaps many of us could be a lot less busy, but let's not go off on that tangent(yet).  The point is, everyone can do something.  Whether you're flat broke, have a brood of children to mind, or whatever else heavy responsibility, we can all do something to help one another, encourage one another, lift each other up.  Dare I say, that cross on your shoulders might actually feel a bit lighter if you take some time to help someone carry theirs.

Let me be clear, that I am not at all suggesting that we all just stop talking about our Faith, opinions, issues and so on.  I applaud my fellow evangelizers and anyone who is willing to carry on civilized discussion and debate with people they disagree with.  It is truly a lost art in our society.  But it seems that too often, talking is all we do.  When I was an atheist, it wasn't the debates I had with my brother that made an impression on me.  It was how he and his wife loved and cared for me unconditionally.  They supported me through a very difficult time in my life and it was such a powerful witness to the love they had in their hearts.  We can all talk until we're blue in the face, but it's through our actions and especially our sacrifices that we will change hearts and minds.   

There's so much to say about this, and I intend to make this an ongoing topic on my blog, but I am determined to keep this post short.  What I want to do today, is just start a little flame burning in the hearts of anyone who reads this.  Let's start something together.  Make it your goal to do something good today.  Find someone who needs help and just help them.  You don't have to save the world, Christ has already done that.  But you can be His hands and feet here and now.  Show someone they are loved.  There are so many possibilities and this will look different for everyone.  Pay for the person behind you in the drive thru.  Tell them God loves them and you hope they have a great day.  Take a homeless person to lunch and sit down and eat with them.  It doesn't have to be a stranger.  So often we look to help those far away and overlook the ones right in front of us.  Put down your phone and give your spouse your undivided attention.  Call up an old friend and catch up.  Read your child a book when you would rather be watching t.v.  Just keep your eyes open and God will do the rest.

Come on, let's start something.  Until next time, may God bless you.