"It is not your fault; it is not my fault; it is not our fault that this is the way things are, but it our responsibility to work for positive change." -Jamie Washington
Last week at the People of African Descent Conference, this was just one of many powerful statements that helped me better understand the ways that we, as followers of Christ, can seek positive change in the world without feeling overwhelmed or unsure about what to do.
So many problems in our world today just seem too big. If one focuses on them too much, it feels like any one of them could crush you. This week alone I've been in conversations with folks feeling overwhelmed about racial injustice, immigration, threat of nuclear war, and general fears relating to the state of the world and the fragility of human mortality.
Any one of those big problems is enough to overwhelm anyone, and so it is no wonder that we are all walking around a bit on edge, carrying extra worry, and seeking some relief from the anxiety we feel. So, I remind you today: It is not your fault that this is the way things are. We are not personally responsible for the problems we may see around us, and no one of us can solve all those problems or save all those whose lives are in harm's way. Instead, we each can simply do our best to face the challenge of each day by seeking to be a positive force for change in our own sphere of influence.
Another thing we did at the PAD Conference was consider our greatest strengths and commit to doing those things as best as we possibly can. Are you a good listener? Then commit to being a great listener as people are seeking to process their current fears and anxiety. Are you good speaking up and naming hard truths? Then commit to doing a great job of naming the hard truths that current local and global events will force us to face. The good news in this is that you already have every skill you need to help create positive change. You don't need to read a book, go back to school, or sit around simply wishing that there was something you could do. There is something you can do, and you are likely already doing it. Just do it more!
I hope that this lesson I learned over the last week brings you the same hope and encouragement that it brought to me. This is not the first time that the people of faith have lived in trying and even terrifying times, and this will not be the last. Let us simply do our best to play to our strengths and be the best images of Christ we can be in the world.