There was no post last week. Sorry about that. I was teaching myself a lesson – the world keeps spinning whether we debate national politics or not.
I unplugged from the news cycle for all of last week. I heard about the big things like the shootings from friends. But I didn’t read the newspaper, listen to political talk shows, or watch the news.
It was extremely difficult at first. However, after a couple days I began to wonder where I had found the time to keep such close tabs on the news.
I was expecting to come out of those 7 days with profound insights that could change the world. However, during those 7 days, I don’t feel like I learned a whole lot of anything. It wasn’t until getting back into the news, happenings, and current events that I starting seeing things in a new light.
I want to share 3 key lessons that I learned. Then I want to ask you a question.
Lesson 1: Do Things That Matter
I’ve spent countless hours listening to political podcasts. I’ve spent countless hours reading political treatises. I’ve spent countless hours debating political ideas on Twitter and Facebook.
But has any of it mattered?
The answer is yes and no. You’ll never regret learning something new (unless it’s learning that decapitated snakes can still bite). You’ll never regret talking to someone and hopefully planting a seed of truth in their lives. But there is a balance.
There is such a thing as being too submersed in politics while missing out on real life. Educating yourself and being engaged is necessary not to mention our duty. The question is – am I using that information to accomplish something that matters?
You can listen to political podcasts, have the comebacks and the stats and the answers for whatever they throw at you, but does it go beyond head knowledge? Are you employing that knowledge to do something that impacts the lives of those around you in a positive way?
So from now on, while you educate and engage in the political process, ask yourself – am I accomplishing something that will truly matter?
Lesson 2: Love Thy Neighbor
Debates in America demonstrate the worst in us. The name calling, the dehumanizing, the cynical Twitter rants, are all bringing us down to dirty fighting while the country crumbles.
What does name calling accomplish? Isn’t that something we tried to train out of our kids in 1st grade?
What does blame shifting accomplish? Individuals must be held accountable for their actions. However, we err anytime we place a blanket label on an entire group (Republicans, Democrats, immigrants, gun owners, etc.).
Social media, the 24 hour news cycle, and political agendas have all combined over years and years to erode the way in which we view our fellow man. Were we to individually aspire, with a sincere heart, to love our neighbor, to see them as a fellow human, how would that change our lives?
It’s basic, but vital. The current debates going on in America have both side demonizing the other. The political hay is made when we can get one side to fear and hate the other. While it may make political hay, it will not advance freedom.
So from now on, while we have the debates we have to have, ask yourself – am I seeing my opponents as fellow Americans, or as a cardboard cut-out political opponent? Is the way in which I debate showing respect and love for those around me?
Lesson 3: Local = Impact
When was the last time you truly felt that something you did significantly influenced national US policy? I’m going to go out on a limb and guess for most of us, the answer would be never.
The national issues our country faces are important. And we should pay attention to them. Yet we focus exclusively on national issues to our own peril. It’s the local elections, the school boards, the water and power boards, that impact our lives on a daily basis. And not only do they impact us, but we have the ability to impact them.
Just because it won’t make a CNN headline does not mean that it is not important. For too long, we’ve ignored the one place we can have the most impact – our home. It’s time to refocus.
So from now on, ask yourself – am I paying enough attention and engaging in what’s going on in my own backyard?
A Question: Time For a Fast?
So the question is – how might a 7 day media fast change your life?
Unplugging from the daily rush of media that’s thrown in our faces is one of the most relaxing and freeing things you can do. I highly recommend it. It gives you space to think. It gives you perspective. And who knows, maybe you’ll walk away with 3 awesome lessons too (if you do, I’d love to hear your takeaways! Comment below!).
The thing to remember is – a fast is supposed to be temporary. We have a duty to be involved and engaged. We have a duty to be educated and then use that education to impact this country for good.
George Washington said:
Thomas Paine said:
“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.”
I don’t know about you, but I love freedom. A lot. It’s worth the pain. It’s worth the fatigue. But while we struggle on to keep the torch of freedom burning bright, let’s not lose sight of these 3 lessons. Do things that matter. Love your neighbor. And magnify your impact by investing right there at home.
If each of us start implementing these lessons in our lives, America is going to get a glimpse of hope on the horizon. Pass it on.