Called to Care: Keeping Compassion Alive When I Just Want to Scroll Past the News

On my daughter’s birthday, yet another horrific act of violence was committed in our country. There was talk about it on social media and in the news, but I’ll be honest: I wanted a pass on caring. I wanted to take a minute to not care and to just focus on my baby’s birthday, not to mention navigating a personal health crisis.

People say “I can’t care about everything” or “I can’t speak up about everything.” And while of course, that’s technically true, I find it’s often a cop-out when something feels too hard or overwhelming or controversial to engage in. Trust me, I get. I have three little kids at home full time, my husband runs a start-up that feels like a rollercoaster, and, as mentioned, I’m navigating a major health crisis. It’s hard to care about everything going on in the world. But still. The fact that I can choose what to give my attention to, the fact that I can not mentally engage with certain issues, that’s a privilege. And it’s not a privilege I want to let rule my life.

As a person, and for me as a Christian, compassion has to be at the forefront of my daily living. God forbid I get so caught up in my own world that I can’t lift my eyes to see the need around me.

So what can I do when the headlines crash in and it’s hard to get a breath? How do I respond?

• I don’t tune it out. No, I don’t read every single article or every single post but I DO engage enough to know what’s happening and to understand the issue.
• I direct attention to the voices speaking up and making a difference. I don’t center my own opinion, instead, I center on those who are speaking from personal experience and insight whose voices I trust.
•I look for ways to give practical support. Is there an organization combatting this specific issue or doing the good work? I jump in where I can to support that ongoing work.
•I pray and I search my own heart for where I need to change. Are there ways I have contributed to this issue intentionally or unintentionally? What’s a way I can change?

As a stay-at-home mom, it can often feel like, what can I actually do? But here’s the deal, mamas, we have influence over the little people in our home and when we choose to let compassion lead the way when we choose to not live in a bubble but to actively engage the pain of the world around us, we are doing the good work of raising the next generation of people who will care and who will contribute to the world being a better and safer place for the most vulnerable. That sounds pretty meaningful to me. So, next time I’m tempted to scroll through, I’m going to set that privilege aside and actively choose to let compassion lead the way.

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