Oh, the news. The news, the news, the news. Some days we read or watch or log in and then what can we do but trade words like grieving and heartbroken and terrifying and awful and how and why? Our words get worn thin.
I know that conflict is nothing new. I get it. Heartache and hurt and brokenness and fear and pain and injustice: they’ve been around awhile. That doesn’t actually make it better.
And still, you have to figure out how to live your life, the one with the early mornings and contested bedtimes and projects that aren’t coming together and deadlines looming and trips to the grocery store and dinners around the table.
In other words, you still have to be you, here, now. You were made to be you, here, now. It’s no surprise, this existence of yours. The question is, what are you supposed to do with it?
Does it matter, if you walk around with a sense of purpose or not? Does it matter that you put down the mask and see who you are on the other side? Does it matter, if you practice unraveling your worth from your busyness? Does it matter whether you ever let go of expectations and comparisons and pride and fear and insecurity and all the other things that get in the way of building a life?
Does it matter?
Does it matter, if you wrestle with your own brokenness and your mess and your beauty and your light and the fact that all those things are swirling around together in your one mind and body and soul? Does it matter if you practice seeing how everyone else is a swirling muddle of everything, just like you?
Does doing work on the inside matter, when things are crashing and burning in various directions on the outside?
Well. Sometimes no. If you have a choice between save the world and listen for your purpose, I vote for save the world. I vote that probably is your purpose. But most of the time it’s not an either/or proposition. Most of the time they work together.
(And if you are thinking: Purpose? I am just trying to SURVIVE over here—I hear you. Survival is the FIRST purpose. Everything else depends on that. You just keep moving forward and that is enough. That is everything.)
All things are being made new all the time.
Me. You. The world. Our understanding of it.
They’re all being renewed. They’re all in motion, always. That means they—we—always have the option, the possibility, of moving toward greater wholeness.
We want to see the world healed, and we’re part of that world. It isn’t one or the other. It’s both, all, together. We’re being made new and we help make things new.
Even Jesus had something to say about this one. Jesus said (and I’m paraphrasing here, you understand) you aren’t doing any good for your brother—you can’t do one little thing for that nasty speck in his eye—unless you get the plank out of your own eye first. Your own stuff will just keep getting in the way until you deal with it.
You might think you know what needs fixing, but you can’t see clearly until you deal with your own junk. Not only can you not see to help—the ways you try to help will actually hurt. That plank you’re carrying around? You’re going to hit somebody with that thing.
Our whole world is spinning around with something in its eye.
It’s got specks in there that have been festering for generations, specks that have been rubbed at and covered over until they just seem to be part of the very fabric of things.
They need to be tended to. They need to be dug up and carved out. The wounds from those specks need to be washed clean and bound up and set to heal.
And we can’t do any of that if we’re walking around smacking into each other with planks in front of our faces. It’s hard to create a world of peace if your heart is a place of conflict, is what I am saying.
Most of us aren’t going to wake up tomorrow with the option of fixing everything that’s wrong with the world.
What we have instead is a choice about how we’re going to live today—how we approach the world and each other, and how we hold ourselves and the people in our path.
Be yourself. Figure out who that is. Do the work of showing up in your own life, being who you were made to be, doing what you were made to do.
Listen well. Ask good questions. Imagine a new reality. Bring something beautiful into the world. Tell your truth. Say what hurts. Show us what you see. Pay attention when someone else holds up another point of view.
Put down the plank. Put down the plank. Put down the plank.
Be the new thing and listen for the new thing and create the new thing. It all works together. Put down the plank and start building something better.