A friend and I talked as we enjoyed our delicious Thai dishes. Our children recently back in school, she looked forward to more regular family rhythms while I needed a week to rebound from the loss of my college student again.
As dessert arrived—sticky rice with mango; yum!—our conversation turned to the week’s disastrous world events.
It seemed too much to take in as we felt the rising anxiety. What can we do in our small corner of the world?
We’re Moms, wives, daughters, professionals and friends, but our hearts ached with longing. For what, we couldn’t quite articulate.
If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. – Mere Christianity, CS Lewis
We were made for another world, but we have purpose in this one.
In light of these tragic events, what is our purpose?
Desperation and need vie for our attention with instant news in our pockets. How do we discern and prioritize who and what gets our time, attention and resources?
If we allow it too much headspace, the brokenness of this world overwhelms and sometimes incapacitates us. What can arrest this downward spiral?
Before attending a world in need, we first must tend our soul.
If we are to discern and live out our calling, which will impact the world for good, we must hearten our soul.
But this is not a one-and-done event. We need to click repeat when it comes to soul-tending.
What does soul-tending look like in today’s turbulent culture? A few important rhythms and practical strategies have helped me—
Also called abiding, this is the most intimate invitation Jesus issued. Famously, He beckoned His followers and still does today. Don’t skip over these life-giving words:
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG)
I missed this invitation much of my life. “Come? Don’t you see I’m busy doing important things for you?” Or so I thought.
But if we observe Jesus loving and leading His followers for the 3 years prior to sending them out to fulfill their purpose, we understand the importance of ongoing spiritual formation before and while tackling the world’s disintegration.
This is accomplished not just on Sundays, but in the daily quiet of our soul.
Time with Jesus reaps not only eternal compounded dividends but daily, delightful sustenance.
It’s in the face-to-face moments with Jesus we find strength, courage, direction and protection.
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:6
If there are such delights to be discovered, why do we struggle to be with Him?
I’m convinced distraction and deception are the enemy’s most prevalent, powerful weapons.
Pull us from our Power Source, and we lose our fruit-bearing capacity.
The ultimate distraction? Following the flashing lights to the world’s way of success and fulfillment.
When we choose this path, the enemy doesn’t even have a fight on his hands.
Busy-ness, status, influence, the next trend—shiny object syndrome—leave us preoccupied and panicked.
Turn down this path and we’re lost in a torrent of disillusion.
Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
2. Keep it simple
Insignificance—one of our greatest fears—compels us to take extraordinary measures to achieve and succeed.
These are excellent aspirations as by-products of a growing relationship with Jesus, but unto themselves, they can distract, alienate, even crush us.
When I seek God’s wisdom for direction, it’s often simple and practical. Nothing grandiose or extravagant.
Just a small, next right step in the direction of love.
So, back to my friend and our sticky rice with mango. What can we do when dire circumstances shake our world?
We ask our Father. He is so, so good—He will reveal our next steps. (Isaiah 65:24)
Maybe He answers:
- Volunteer a few hours locally to help ease global burdens.
- Donate to a reputable organization.
One of my favorite organizations helping locally: Links International— Emergency relief for Afghanistan
Or maybe His answer is, stay on course:
- Love my family well.
- Keep serving my church.
- Organically share my faith with a co-worker or friend.
The world’s brokenness will overwhelm us if we take it on alone.
What are you carrying that needs relinquishing into His capable hands? Dear one, trust Him with all of it!
Trust and obey; for there’s no other way, to be happy in this life, but to walk with Jesus.
I know—I tweaked it! Join me next week for more practical stress management strategies.