Everything has felt so big in the world lately. Even as I’ve tried to turn off the noise of the news and social media, it’s proven impossible. The injustice and sadness and unfairness of the world has seemed so overwhelming and incomprehensible in their scope. And of course I have opinions on some of these things. But they’re complicated, and my opinions don’t seem to come close to touching the the immensity of our problems. Nothing I say or write will temper it, and in most cases, I think it would only add to the cacophony.
There seems to be only one option: Get small. Get quiet. Get simple.
It’s easy to sit in our homes and philosophize about what the world needs at this time in history- more religion, less religion, more laws, less laws, more education, less education. It’s not only easy- it’s tempting. The urge to make the problems big also leads us to make the solutions big. Which is not necessarily wrong, but it takes away some (or almost all) of our responsibility for it. When we say, “People need to…” it rarely leads us to say, “I need to…” and much less follow up on that impulse.
When you get small, you see small solutions. You see the needs in your community. Your neighborhood. Your family. Your very own soul. When you get quiet, you can fear God speaking to you in the those around you. You can hear Him telling you the next step. When you get simple, you don’t get bogged down in worry about the future or what you should do in any variety of imagined situations. You do what’s right in the moment. You serve, you love, you move on to the next step.
Don’t get me wrong: there is room for righteous anger and passionate activism in quiet and simplicity. But for me, it needs to come from a place of thoughtfulness and prayer, rather than solely hostility and irritation. I don’t know how to perfectly balance this, but I’m working on it.
Big, loud, and complex is what gets attention in this world. But it’s not what brings peace and it’s not what will bring about change. Yes, there is injustice. Yes, we need to do something about it. But instead of striving to be the loudest voice, I’m going to strive to be the most ardent in prayer, the most constant in service, the most enthusiastic in encouragement of our brothers and sisters. I want to stay small and let God be big. I want to stay quiet and let God speak loudly. I want to stay simple and let God do really big things through me.