Homeless shelters closing.
Rich-poor gap increases.
Racism is tolerated.
Natural disasters leave a trail of grief.
Senseless killings compound.
Puerto Rico without power.
Kenneka Jenkins found in a freezer.
North Korea testing missiles.
Injustice from political leadership.
The list goes on and on.
If you’re like me, you can get lost in the ocean of articles, social media updates, commentary, and all of the emotions that can stem from reading headlines in the times we live.
The trauma that occurs when you read each article or update is draining and breathtaking at the same time.
In fact, we are exposed to so much more bad news in the twenty-first century in terms of receiving information digitally.
If we are honest it can take you on a digital roller-coaster and almost leave you in a helpless state asking, “why aren’t things changing?”
As complex as this question is, the only way to really deal with it is by first dealing with the introspective nature of the question.
The reality is that although issues seem to be vastly increasing, our individual lives aren’t slowing down either.
It seems like the worse society gets, the busier we become with our schedules and calendars.
That same busyness robs us from, “being the change we wish to see in the world.”
Although, we wish things would change for the better nationally and globally with the magical snap of a finger we forget that it takes individuals like you and myself to make change locally.
Local change replicated creates national and global change.
“Why aren’t things changing?”
Have we become so consumed in reading bad news and arguing positions that we have forgotten that it takes action.
I’m talking real on the ground in the trenches action.
Action in our communities, action in our neighborhoods, action in our schools, action in our government, and wherever else people like you and I can do something about what’s plaguing our souls.
We can then use these actions to show others how they too can commit to creating change for the better. This month I’m partnering with the CLL to do just that by co-leading the Thompson Scholars Program with Dr. Ralph Watkins. It’s not the magic snap I mentioned earlier but it’s a start, a step forward to see lasting, positive change.
But again, as I stated before the question that haunts us must be dealt with intrinsically first.
So ask yourself, and I’ll do the same.
When was the last time you volunteered to sign people up to vote?
Fed someone experiencing homelessness a meal?
Worked in our school systems to educate and mentor children before they make life-altering mistakes?
The questions are endless, but the most important thing is to realize that before we can be the answer to those questions it starts with creating enough margin in our own lives where we have the time to change the things we hate seeing.
Busyness can be both a superhero and a villain.
The villain nature of hurry will cause us to forfeit those moments that are meant to give us life and gratitude.
Go and go “they” say!
The more you do, the better you’ll be “they” say.
Chase the “dream” they say.
Don’t slow down “they” say.
Do better than others “they” say.
Well, those are lies.
Busyness doesn’t equate peace of mind, and it sure doesn’t change the world. While we are getting busier individually the world around us continues to suffer.
If you are asking like I’ve asked these past few months, “Why aren’t things changing?”
It almost immediately has to be followed up with the question, “What can I do to change things around me?”
Be encouraged and know that you can make a difference right where you are!
If you feel called to create, implement and progress change in your local community or globally, the Big Ideas in Youth Ministry Conference: Fearless Dialogues is a good place to start. Click here to learn more.
Terence Lester is a speaker, activist, author, and thought leader in the realm of systemic poverty. He’s known for nationwide campaigns that bring awareness to issues surrounding homelessness, poverty, and economic inequality.