When You Don’t Know What to Do [and you wind up doing nothing]

He calls this thing I do, “Analysis Paralysis“– My friend whose feet are now on Texas soil. He spends his days counseling young men and their families. And he’s called me out more than once over the years–asking me questions I don’t want to answer. Questions that shatter the facade I have up. The one that makes me look like I have it all together–that I know exactly what I believe and why I believe it. And that I’m actually living it out. 

Analysis Paralysis. Because sometimes we can think so much about what choices to make–what direction to go–how to extend our hand as believers–that we wind up doing nothing at all. We think so much that it grows exhausting. So we just stop thinking and stick our head in the sand. 

We wind up frozen in the midst of our turning, crumbling world. Unable to choose anything at all.

But today, I opened up the world news and I realized that I was choosing. I was choosing to ignore. I was choosing to pull my head beneath my soft, white down comforter and pretend as if my own troubles and my own concerns and my own worries are the only ones that matter.

This morning, I woke up excited about Pumpkin Spice making an appearance at Starbucks and counting down the days until I turn 25. [It literally pains me to write that] And as I sat there thinking about a sugary, overpriced, coffee drink and a birthday party, hundreds of Syrians became displaced. Drowned. Killed. 

And not just Syrians. Men and women and children from every nation. Baby girls in India are being stepped on days after they’re born simply because they are a certain sex. Women are being raped in the jungles of Ecuador before they’re 12 years old. The man down the street stands with empty eyes, large beads of sweat forming along his receding hair line. People are dying of hunger and disease and without knowing the love of Jesus.

And I spent my morning thinking about what kind of pie and ice cream I want to have and about my own heart pains.

I tell myself it’s because there’s so much going on. How can I know what to do when it feels like the whole world is falling apart? When every news article or story from my mother feels so bleak and dark and heavy. 

I tell myself it’s because I didn’t know. But that’s a lie. 

Because I see and hear and watch. And I remember what I saw over the ocean. Some days, I still find myself brushing the dust off of my shoes and out of my hair. I remember it all. It’s been engraved upon my heart.

And yet, here I am paralyzed by how to help. How to act. But maybe it’s just about acting. Doing something. 

Praying. Giving money instead of buying a coffee. Walking to my neighbors’ and having a conversation.

I’ve read Ann Voskamp’s blog. And my friend Caity’s. And their words are piercing my heart.

We–the church– are called to do something. Anything. We are called to act.

And today, that’s what I’m challenging myself to do. Even if it doesn’t seem huge. Even if I’m sitting at my desk sending up prayers. Even if I can’t see a huge impact.

May I simply do something

photo credit: Bryant Bural

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