Have you ever thought to yourself, “I do not want to be here now.” Me too. A lot.
For a lot of us, it becomes a motto for anytime we’re not exactly where we want to be, say, out with friends, or at home, relaxing. School, work, church- they can all be so dreadful, and cause major tension.
Apathy and anxiety are all too common. We either waste time, or hate what we’re doing, until we’re where we think need to be. Then, finally, we can enjoy ourselves.
What a sad way to live, and what a waste of resources to not put our precious talents to good use. When you live like this, there are good times here and there, fleeting at best, but there is a much happier way to live.
It starts with changing the way you think.
Escape Apathy and Anxiety
What can make the difference?
The realization that every situation:
1. Has the potential to be awesome,
2. Can teach us a valuable life lesson,
3. Is something to be thankful for.
How do we start to realize this?
Personally, I try to think of it like this: each situation is the situation God has chosen to put before me at each exact moment.
So how could I disagree with God? How can I say to him, “No, thanks, Buster, that’s just not what I had in mind.”
Maybe God has set an obstacle in front of you to teach you a lesson, just like when we set obstacles in front of our youngsters to teach them lessons, like making them clean up their toys.
We have options: never deal with the problem, and let the consequences pile up, or avoid the problem by running away, to name a couple. (Perhaps, in God’s eyes, adult versions of toddler tantrums).
Why do we so often choose these? Why not choose to fix even the tiniest inconveniences, like fixing the sole coming of a sneaker, if it means we’d be happier?
Because it’s the easiest route to go. It’d be easier for the child to leave his toys out, and it’s easier for us to ignore, or just be annoyed with, the problem.
Only, God wants us to step up and address those problems.
He doesn’t want us to not care about the happenings that are affecting us, or to submit to a victim mentality. You can change your lot in life, if you’ll take the steps to.
He doesn’t want us to be overwhelmed with anxiety when something comes up. An anxious feeling is fine, if you use it as an indicator that something is wrong and needs to be fixed. But anxiety is not what you, me, or God wants for you in any long term sense.
Instead, he wants you to develop the skills he’s made available to you, using the brain he’s given you, to work out life’s kinks.
There is a wide array of solutions each problem may call for: perhaps an attitude change, or a small tweak of some sort here and there, is all that’s necessary. Or maybe you’ll find that you’ve not found, chosen, or yet pursued the path that is your life’s purpose. No matter how simple or hard your solution is, the important thing is that you identify it, and proceed to act on it.
The most important part of the solution is calling on your relationship with God for guidance.
And if you don’t believe in God, think of your problem as your own personal challenge- a project that’s been brought into your universe just for you to accomplish.
Ridding your life of apathy and anxiety makes it much easier.
Your Life as an Art Form
When you realize God is intentionally putting every situation in front of you- no matter what it is- your every move starts to resemble a happy artist creating his masterpiece.
What does this mean?
- An artist is not forced to make art; never resentfully does he stroke his brush.
- An artist is completely fulfilled while making art.
- An artist breathes to make his art, simply elated to work on his masterpieces.
- An artist has a purpose for every single movement of his brush.
And every task of your life can resemble this artist at his easel.
It comes naturally after you start to imagine God saying things like this to you: “Child, right now, it’s time to do the dishes. This is part of managing all the things I’ve blessed your household with.”
Or, scarier for me, “It’s time to work on your people skills: you have to be around X group of people, and yes, I know it’s hard for you. Don’t worry, I’ll be there for you should you need help, if you just call on me.”
You wouldn’t slack off at any situation, no matter how mundane or unappealing they once seemed, would you?
Those very mundane and unappealing jobs turn into exciting challenges, an absolute pleasure of a mission to accept, because they mean you’re becoming who God wants you to be by completing the work he has given you.
CS Lewis talks about this in his book The Screwtape Letters. He says we’d never be annoyed while listening to a senseless person talk if we’d actually heard God task us with such. And the same is true with every situation.
Your mouth would never again utter the words, “I do not wanna be here right now!” no matter where you were- school, work, the grocery store, church.
You will do things with pleasure. Every step you take and every move you make will become those of purpose. No more dragging your feet, not a single wasted action.
You’re first thought in the morning will become less like, “Good Lord it’s morning,” and more like “Good Morning Lord!”
The horrid dishes that need to be done become a delight to clean because you see that they are gifts from God that deserve the utmost care and attention.
The messes around the house that need tidying up become much easier to tackle when we see them as a mission from the Lord. And ditto with all the other tasks that we sometimes don’t look forward to, or at least take for granted: the meals that need cooked, the homework the kids need help with, job duties.
And if we really listen to what God’s telling us, maybe we’re not meant to be filling up our lives with things we find so awful. Maybe we’re on the wrong path, and God is trying to clue us in. And when we actually take the time to listen to him, we’ll figure out what would bring us happiness. And the happiness will come when you’re fulfilling your life’s purpose.
If we do everything with intention, as if God set it in front of us to do, soon our lives will lack the oh-so-common pains of anxiety and apathy, and instead exude of meaning and fine artwork.
An intangible aura of greatness will accompany you wherever you go, and will spread to those around you, making the world a better place, one ripple at a time. You’ll affect others’ lives more than you’ll ever know.
It takes work. It takes intention. And it’s definitely the path less traveled. But it’s worth it.
Be that person you’d rather be. It’s possible, and it’s awesome.
Related Scriptures and Article
2 Timothy 1:7
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
I call on the LORD in my distress, and he answers me.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”