Aug 132017 7 Responses

Why You Just Don’t Care Anymore

My son is living on the outer edges of the age of wonder. At 9 years old, he still loves to pretend, create, and dream. It’s fun to watch how quickly he can transform into a character he reads in a book or sees on television. Give him a book on animals and a few pages in he wants to be a veterinarian. Let him watch a ball game and before the first half is over he’s in the yard with a ball and helmet. Talk to him about science-fiction and he will quickly get out his Legos and make a new creature.

As I look at him, I wish I could empower him to always keep the sense of wonder. Of course, time will erode aspects of this stage and the age of wonder will give way to the age of sarcasm. But there is a way to grow old and not lose your heart. It’s possible to still care. Sadly, few of us intentionally make the choices necessary to cultivate wonder, hope, possibility, and passion. In the end, we simply just don’t care.

3 Ways to Kill Your Heart and No Longer Care

If I were designing a plan to kill the heart and passion of many people, I would design it the exact way a good number of people live today. It’s the perfect recipe for an uncaring, unfeeling, cold, skeptical outlook on life which will accomplish nothing.

Step 1: Exhaust Yourself. Compassion and empathy take energy. A passion for life and full engagement in an important mission demand things from us. The first way to kill your heart is to withhold important resources from it. Always have it operating on fumes. An exhausted heart must become selfish. It doesn’t have the energy necessary to give of itself or focus on others. The more you can make your heart weary, the more skeptical it will become. Ignore your limits. Refuse to rest. Continually try to push yourself to do it all, be it all, and have it all. Do this, and your heart will begin to die.

Step 2: Isolate Yourself. Both passion and compassion demand healthy community. Our hearts were created to connect with others, to draw from the strengths of those around us, and to be motivated by the kindness and empathy of others. If you want to kill your heart, withhold community from it. Tell it that no one loves it, no one will ever understand it, and no one desires to be with it. Allow it to live in isolation to where it’s never challenged, encouraged, or seen. Isolate yourself and your heart will continue to wither.

Step 3: Distract Yourself. For whatever energy your heart has left, make sure it is used on the most pressing issues of the moment rather than the most important things. Let it run from fire to fire without any discernment. Assume whatever makes the loudest noise is what deserves your greatest effort. Never take the time to think about the long-term issues, instead simply focus on today. Distract your heart and even if it doesn’t fully die, it will fail to make any lasting impact.

Of course, no one would live this way intentionally, yet every day I interact with people who are exhausted, isolated, and distracted. They wonder why they struggle with compassion, lack energy, are unmoved by the suffering around them, aren’t making a meaningful impact, and feel disconnected with those around them. Exhaustion, isolation, and distraction are destroying our lives. They are killing us from the inside out.

Thankfully, we do not have to submit to these three characteristics. We can make choices which will revive our hearts and propel us in the direction we want to go. While everyone else is exhausted, we can live in a pattern of work and rest always finding rejuvenation for our weary souls. In a time where so many are isolated and alone, we can prioritize relationships in every season of life creating a meaningful web of love and support. During a day where distraction defines everyone, we can discern what is truly important and focus our attention on the things that matter.

If exhaustion, isolation, and distraction kill our hearts, rest, connection, and engagement will position us with passion and empathy. A heart that is fully alive is rested, connected, and engaged.

 

7 Responses to Why You Just Don’t Care Anymore
  1. Joao Reply

    Of the three causes mentioned, isolation seems to be the most difficult to break.

  2. Sandy Meeks Reply

    Kevin, right on target! I just started teaching Sunday school again this summer & I forget how exhilarating it is being with those young people! What a high & blessing for me! Makes me want to be more social. Just one small example. Distraction & isolation can be such a battle!!!

  3. Stacy Reply

    Good read. We relocated across the country to be with our daughter and family. New connections and engagement have been vital for me to make this a successful transition. Look forward to additional articles.

  4. Jack Reply

    Great piece. Sorry it took me months to come across it.

    What if you’re not a people person? What if you’re an introvert at heart? Yes, we all need connections, but some of us can connect only to the few of us who are similar. To everyone else, we’re misfits. Even outcasts. Interacting with most people drains us rather than uplifts us. In a sense, our introversion makes us all the more introverted. We’re lost with no place to start. We connect only with others who aren’t good at connecting. Oh, the irony!

    What about us, Kevin? We actually enjoy isolation. Well, most of the time anyway. The trouble is, we need connections, too. Perhaps moreso than “normal” people. But only sometimes. It’s a paradoxical puzzle.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Jack, good questions. I’m an introvert myself. I think the key is to make sure we are living in balance. Introverts need to be alone, but if we aren’t careful we can isolate ourselves too much. You have to always make sure you have a good number of connections in your life while still getting refilled by your alone time.

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