Our Change the World Mentality

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Jalene and I follow cartoonist Nick Seluk and his masterful collection of comics called Heart and Brain, which, “follow[s] the inner dialogue between the cynical, society-influenced Brain and the impulsive, optimistic Heart.” It is common for us to share the latest strips between one another for a good laugh. The reason it resonates with us so much is that I (Adam) tend to depicted in the brain character, and Jalene tends to be depicted in the heart character. All in all it is a great laugh.

Jalene most recently tagged me on facebook with the following comic titled Caffeinated0929_Caffeinated

This comic struck me because of the deep truth that Seluk captures in it: “Our change the world mentality has dissolved into general anxiety.”

I know we don’t like to admit it, but Autumn is coming. Back to school shopping is aggressively taking place, organizations and churches are ramping up for the next season. We may not identify our frantic preparation as having an underlining drive of, “changing the world”, but below our running around and preparation Isn’t there a desire to experience the next season as being better than it was in the last? Isn’t there a desire that we will be people who work more change and make a more significant impact than we had in the las?.  It is a “pursuing change for the better” mentality, and on the surface it is well-meaning.

I am among those with these aspirations, planning, thinking, preparing, and in addition to this, often worrying and feeling pretty anxious. Like the cartoon Brain and Heart, I desire that my efforts in this next season of my life would have an impact, that they would make a difference for the better, that I would be a person that is remembered for positive influence. Yet when I look at the tasks I’ve placed before me, when I draft plans of all I think it will take, the anxiety sets in. The anxiety sets in because I’m worried I won’t be able to do it, I’ve thought up a task that is too big, a to-do list too long. So I reach for another cup of coffee.

Am I alone in this? Or are you also reaching for that cup of coffee? Do you desire great things? We desire to do good, to set our children up to do good, to inspire others to do good. Culturally it seems that the cost of making this happen is by pursuing a lifestyle conducive to worry and anxiety.

Isn’t it obvious though that the level we have taken our “change the world” to posture is simply wrong?

Jesus taught us an alternative, “do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Simple, familiar words, we all know them… and he goes on to invite us away from a posture of worry and anxiety and to a posture of seeking, “… but seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” Don’t worry, don’t be anxious, instead seek, seek Jesus, seek his direction and guidance.

I believe whole heartedly that when we seek Jesus we will find him. Seeking Jesus instead of anxiously trying to change the world or even simply change our worlds is an act of trust. It is choosing to trust that Jesus’ way and plan is better than ours could ever be. And instead of labouring in trying to change our worlds, we choose to partner with Jesus in all that we do, trusting that he will do what needs to be done, that he will provide what’s needed, that he has got it.

So, for me, perhaps next time I reach for that cup of coffee I should slow down and see if there is an anxiousness in me that ignores Jesus and reflects me trying to work change in the world on my own. And if there is, I should slow down and seek him. As I seek him, I will find him, when I find him I can partner with him in bringing change, in being a father, in being a friend, and in everything else I find myself doing.

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