The news feels scary these days. If it’s not the actual current events and politics, it’s the fire people are spitting at each other because of it.
It’s daunting to even express an opinion for fear of being berated… or humiliated… for having a decided thought on the matter.
Simply offering an educated opinion is an open invitation for a fight.
So I venture to guess that most of us read and learn enough to educate ourselves, share our thoughts with a few close and trusted people, and don’t stick our necks out more than that. We watch the most venomous of our friends spout off on social media, sharing commentaries and videos that support their beliefs (which of course they have every right to do). If their opinion matches ours, we feel justified. If it opposes our view, we feel confused, or angry, or offended, or outraged.
Ironically, in all of this outrage, I have a sneaking suspicion that most people aren’t actually doing anything at all to make a change, or support those who are making changes.
Really, I imagine most of us don’t really know what to do. So we read, we scroll, we rage, and we repeat. Same story, different day.
The amount of outrage in my newsfeed before 8AM is staggering. So much that I had to start protecting myself from it.
What I love most about the internet is the fun – goofy animal videos, stupid human tricks, silly memes, music parodies, red carpet fashion, and weird news. There is GOLD out there if you’re willing to take a break from the tragic headlines screaming for your attention. Here’s a fun and free bonus just for reading today: this is my never-fails go-to if I ever feel sad.
Once the child in me is satisfied with funny cats and Oscar gowns, my grown-up self reads the real stuff. Just enough to know what’s happening, from sources as neutral as I can find, which is almost impossible these days. At the very least, I’ll try to find both sides of the story. There are a very select few wise leaders I look to, simply to see their perspective on the issue. Sometimes they approach things with a wisdom and viewpoint I haven’t considered, or shine a light on it in a different way. Even if I disagree with their thoughts, I feel better knowing that I’ve researched the issue with maturity and wisdom rather than blindly trusting a news source, or worse, someone spouting off on social media.
It’s important to remember that the human race has been mucking things up since the dawn of time in the Garden of Eden. What we do today absolutely matters but we will still go on, stumbling forward in spite of our flawed humanity, for generations to come. In the grand scheme of things, the outrageous news we read this morning is just a drop in the bucket. So we can spend our energy wailing in despair and blaming people for how messed up it all is, or we can make an intentional positive contribution to our corner of the world in this spot on history’s time line.
Fred Rogers always said to look for the helpers. Who is helping the world? Not just in the areas of the current news outrage but also in unlikely ways that are making a difference. Look for the people helping. It’s really that simple.
Because even when the world is in chaos, remarkable people are still doing remarkable work.
Dial into those people.
This is why I love listening to podcasts and reading biographies. When you do a little research and just keep your ears open, you will stumble upon some of the most remarkable people. Their lives are an inspiration because they are real people with real problems just like us. They saw a need in the world and rather than saying “someone should do something about that,” they chose to be the someone.
Your mind will believe what you feed it. If your input is doom, gloom, and outrage, your brain will begin to crave it. It’s the same dopamine hit that can create addiction.
Instead, feed your mind the good stuff. If there’s an issue that’s upsetting to you, find some trusted people on both sides of the fence that you can learn from.
What fields are interesting to you? Here’s a starting list of great biographies of amazing figures in politics, environmental issues, arts, theology, civil rights, business, etc. Find an expert or notable name in the field and learn about them. What motivates them, inspires them, drives them to achieve? I promise you will find the same colored threads in yourself too.
The easiest way to remind yourself of your faith in humanity is to highlight and thank someone remarkable in your own sphere. What unsung hero would be blessed by your acknowledgement? Is there a shining quality could you affirm in one of your child’s teachers or coaches? When was the last time you called your mom or dad? Grab an index card or a piece of printer paper (it doesn’t have to be fancy) and write them a note of gratitude.
Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, then it’s not the end.John Lennon
My dad loves old westerns because the bad guys always lose, and the good guys always win. That is a comforting idea for a kid. And I think it’s even more comforting for grownups.
So be one of the good guys. Because, spoiler alert: in Real Life, the good guys win in the end.
There is so much bad in the world. But there is also so much good. It all comes down to how you want to look at it. Not with your head buried in the sand! Educate yourself, protect your mind, keep doing good work, and remember that it’s all going to be okay. If there’s an issue or cause that’s especially important to you, get involved. Action cures fear, and there’s no better way to make a difference than to put your own feet on the ground in support of something meaningful.
But you don’t have to go far to make a difference. Mother Theresa said, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.”
Love people well. That’s how the good guys win.
And that’s how you drown out the noise of the scary stuff on the news too. Just keep loving people well. Because no matter what happens here on this planet, God’s bigger than all of it, and He knows how it’s all going to finish. Our job is simply to trust Him, do faithful work in His name, and be the “someone” making an impact for good.
Comment below: what current event issue is stressing you out? (ABSOLUTELY NO BANTER OR BASHING ALLOWED HERE.)
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Jessica is a writer, musician, entrepreneur, wife, and mom. Jessica's mission is to write "real" - shining light into the dark places of the tough stuff we all experience. She and her husband Jack live in Houston, Texas and have weathered the storms of grief, infant loss, adoption, and a marriage that almost fell apart. Jessica and Jack have 4 children, LJ in heaven, Grace, Jackson, and brand new baby Elisha.