I've received several e-mails from young parents asking how to combat the feeling of doom. Yesterday a newscaster stated that 40% of Americans feel as if a cloud of pending doom followed them through the day.
It's no wonder. All of us are conditioned to watch the news or read the paper. We don't want to be out of the loop or walking around in a daze if some calamity is on it's way. We have been trained every since we took that first bus ride to school "Always be prepared. Have you got your coat? Better take mittens. Did you pack your homework and some tissues?" Watching, listening to or reading the news makes us feel prepared.
Listen to the evening news or read the paper and here's what you'll find.
Perhaps your city is listed as the most violent in the country. That statistic is followed by the sadistic details of one murder after another. If some horrible crime is committed, national news will cover the story for days and interview everyone from the high school chum to the dog walker who saw him in the park two months before the incident occurred.
Switch the channel and you'll find that unemployment is up and pay scales are down. We are in a recession, obsession, compression, regression, throwback and totally spiraling out of control. We are going to be blown off the planet tomorrow because some loony is building a new weapon - but that's okay because we've destroyed our resources anyway so if we stay it will be a slow death.
You get the picture. News has become like the old children's lament. "It's horrible. Let's just eat worms and die!"
Before you grab your trowel and head out to hunt for worms, let's get to the truth.
1. Anytime you watch the news or read a paper or even Google something on line, you need to beware. When the news services were created their main concern was truth. Many reporters would die rather than report a falsehood. That integrity reflected the deeper morals of people in general. As time went on and more and more people began to relax their moral integrity - the news was compromised.
Rules are still in place to punish anyone who lies in print. However, because the news services are based on ratings and because a lot of money is involved in getting your attention - reporters, news services, television programs have all become masters at innuendos and viewpoints. They have learned how to get as close to a lie as possible without incurring punishment personally or for their businesses.
Am I telling you not to watch the news? Of course not. Just beware. Unless you know someone personally and can vouch for their integrity - you must understand that anyone is subject to pushing the evidence or story to the limit to influence you to their point of view.
Unfortunately, I've witnessed this personally. Someone close to me was covered in the press in an unfavorable way. When I called the reporter and tried to give him the facts he said, "That's the way I see it and that's the way I'll report it. Your truth doesn't matter - mine does."
Tough lesson to learn. But it illustrates that yes, the world is in a mess - but probably not as bad as most reporting makes it. And remember, if you know the reporter - trust him. Otherwise it might be good to give some situations and people the benefit of the doubt.
It's also a good idea to limit how much news you watch. Don't try to get a PhD in surfing the channels. Watch enough news to get the scoop on what's going on, but turn it off when it begins to repeat. Go for a walk, out to eat or simply enjoy your child. Don't let the news consume your life.
2. Realize that you have a job to do. Be assured that your job will change the world. It is your God given duty to make the world around you a better place. Do you have children? Then it's your duty to raise them to be strong so they can change their part of the world.
Do you attend church? Then it's your duty to have a ministry in that church and do what you can to make that part of your church and community better.
Do you have neighbors? Then it's your duty to make sure that those neighbors are okay and not hurting.
Do you know how to change the world? One person...one church...one community...at a time. Changing the world starts with YOU!
If the news has scared you and made you concerned about the future of this world then darling...it's up to you to change your part of this decrepit old world! That's why I have all these pages and why I teach at seminars and why I answer so many e-mails and why I run the library at my church. I am busy trying to change the world. You need to get busy too!
"But I don't have time!" Sorry. Everyone has at least a few minutes of time that they can serve others. Do you work? Go by the store and purchase a $2.99 pie, stick it in the oven while you change and take it to your neighbor with a simple smile and "I was thinking of you." Don't stay. Leave and go home to do whatever. But in that 5 minute encounter - you have changed your world.
3. Unless you are God or President of a country, there's nothing you can do right now to instantly change the entire world. YOU can change it over time by being all that God has called you to be....but....for today, you can't stop crime entirely.
Knowing your limits will set you free. Take your list and cross off "World peace". You don't have the ability to do that today. Knowing that means You are free to tickle your baby and enjoy the moment. You are free to have lunch with a friend and discuss a brighter future. You are free to buy a new dress, sing a song, plan for your child's education, get a job, quit a job....
......In other words you are free to go on living.
When you move away from the computer, grab of cup of tea and step outside (Unless it's freezing like it is here). Look up at the sky and smile at God. Think of all the good in your life and then take a moment to think of all the bad that isn't in your life. You are not in jail. You are not in the hospital. You are not totally without options.
Even if there is bad happening at the moment - there are options. They may not be what you want, but in this country there are probably options. (If you don't think so, e-mail me.)
4. Don't forget the God equation. Georgia is running out of water....but then there's God. I can't sell my house....but what about God. Global warming scares me....God will keep you safe. I'm scared of losing my religious freedoms....you have a vote and God will hold you in his arms no matter what.
I'm dying of cancer and I only have two days to live....God is already waiting to receive you into his loving arms and he has prepared a place so bright, so beautiful that no one on this earth would ever have enough words to describe it's magnificence.
Gloom and doom have always been a part of this world. Be encouraged and live your day to the fullest...why? Because God has always been a part of this world and He will be with you no matter what!
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Wow! It can't be said better than that.
God loves you,