Tuesday, October 14, 2014

camps and anchors

every once in a while, we are- as a community, a nation- faced with new circumstances or issues that cause us to react and respond to new feelings brought on by the circumstances.

the issues are real, my feelings are real, but my response is what i need to be aware of. how i feel about something, and my expression of my feelings, doesn't always improve the issue, solve a problem, or add anything of value to the situation. my reactions usually don't spur community- or nation-wide change.  

and yet, we react. often very publicly. social media, especially Facebook, gives us a place to express our feelings on any given situation and creates a false sense of accomplishing change simply by posting a rant in our status update. we like to bring up our response to The Problem every chance we get in face-to-face conversations. rarely do our rants and reactions bring change. awareness, maybe. but mostly, sharing our personal stance on an issue just indicates to others which camp we're in. 

the camp of people who are afraid. 
the camp of people who are mad. 
the camp of people who research.  
the camp of people who don't. 
the camp of people who ignore it. 
the camp of people who make it political. 
the camp of people who make it about race. 
the camp of people who make it about religion. 
the camp of people who make it about money. 
the camp of people who blame. 
the camp of people who are optimistic. 
the camp of people who mock. 

our reactions and responses put us in these camps. we decide how we feel about The Problem, we set our stakes in the ground and camp out, voicing our opinions, trying to be louder than the next camp. in our camps, we decide together that we are victims of a vague crime, we grieve loss of our freedom, we go into denial or shock, we cheer for a spokesperson, and put stickers on our bumpers, proud to be part of this camp or that camp.

however, we are not always loyal. we waver. we can be swayed, sometimes, if the next camp presents convincing proof. our hearts are tugged and we can be enlightened or fooled either way. The Problem is so big and as new information comes about, our feelings about it change. we are frantic to get in a camp; there is security in being among people who share our stance. 

the camps are crowded and noisy. over time, we can forget why we're there in the first place. we start to think it's my camp versus your camp, when really it's all the camps versus The Problem. we collectively face the same Problem, but we only want to camp out with those who share our feelings about The Problem.  

the camp we're in reflects our heart's perspective. anger, fear, sadness, victimized, vulnerable. how does The Problem make me feel? that's how i'll choose my camp. if i see you in the camp of optimists, posting upbeat quotes and good news in your social media stream, i'm going to know how you feel about The Problem.

i've been watching lately as our community and nation faces new problems, how the people around me are responding. so many different reactions to the same Problem. i watch camps form and friends and family shuffle among camps, dependent on the nightly news, the latest press conference, every situation update.

i watch and i wonder. i listen to each camp and their rants. i wait for my heart to be tugged, for my feelings to line up with something. and then i wait. i don't commit to a camp. i keep quiet. i take my time, find my bearing, and seek truth. it can be lonely without a camp. 

but eventually i find my campers. they're the other ones seeking Truth. Truth with a capital T is a camp.

put me with the camp that stands firm, unwavering, unashamed, rooted in God. the camp that goes to God's word and prays FIRST, and stays there. the camp that sees The Problem but knows and trusts The Problem Solver. the camp that encourages other campers with Truth- not to disregard their feelings but to comfort their hearts with grace and love. 

when i'm quiet about The Problem, it's because i'm steadying my anchor in Christ. you'll know my perspective and how i feel about The Problem by my reaction: postured in prayer, pointing to scripture, and pursuing peace. no rants or raves, no venting or voting, just one banner: Jesus.

i'm setting up camp here in Truth. i'm praying to keep my perspective eternal, my eyes fixed on Jesus, who has already overcome The Problem. 

"I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears. 
Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the Lord delivers him out of them all."

"Songs of joy and victory are sung in the camp of the godly.
The strong right arm of the Lord has done glorious things!"

"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. 
In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

"we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence 
as we hold to the hope that lies before us. 
This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls."