Friday, May 10, 2013

Faithful Friday: Apathy, It's What's for Dinner

I'm really TGIFing and glad this week is almost over. Technically, it's 30 minutes into Saturday morning as I write this, but it still feels like Friday to me. Or possibly Thursday. All the days have smooshed together this week, which is evidenced by the fact that I wrote and posted the Thoughtful Tuesday post on a Wednesday without realizing it.

Perhaps it's the lingering mist in the mountain, the failure of spring to have sprung, or the contagious spirit of end-of-school burn out, but apathy has been par for the course this week. Except for a bright spot here and there throughout the past few days, I've had a hard time really caring about anything. I've been working with muddled thoughts, sluggishly dragging myself through obligations, and fighting the urge to nap every other hour.

I posted this to Twitter last night: "Apathy. It's what's for dinner. Because I don't care enough about any one food right now to make a choice." I forgot that my sister just started following my Twitter account, and she texted me to see if anything was wrong. It seemed like way too much work at that point to explain it all. I copped out with a vague, "It's just been one of those weeks." Although I did assure her it was pork chops for dinner. Because I have a kid, you guys. You can't go feeding your kid apathy, even when you have a hard time caring about things like dinner.

But then I totally burned the pork chops to an inedible crisp when the grill caught fire. That's going to have to be another post, though. One I'll save for when I'm feeling less apathetic and more hilarious.

Anyway, I've been pondering these feelings of apathy for a couple of days. Why don't I feel like writing, blogging, praying, speaking with others, and doing lots of stuff that normally brings me peace or excitement or understanding? I sort of wanted to blame it on something easy, like hormones. Biology would totally get me off the hook for any responsibility. But I knew that wasn't quite it.

Then, this evening, I read a post from my new blog friend Jonathan over at Turning the Pedals. In it, he talked about how so many people who blog are spending so much time on optimizing their content and integrating tips and tricks to ensure a readership or visits or stats. He advocated a return to what he called "unblogging," which is actually "blogging" at its most basic: just writing because you need to get it down, because you love it, because you want to share something with whoever happens by.

While there's nothing inherently wrong with all those things many professional bloggers do, it does something to blogging. It changes it a bit.

And I realized that I was doing that same thing in many areas of my life. I so was busy concentrating on the bells and whistles, the photograph measurements and font choices, the statistics and the top tips...that I forgot about the activity under it all. I was apathetic about writing blog posts because I was starting to wonder if I should be writing on certain topics to address "my niche." And I was daunted by the fact that I didn't really know what that was. But the apathy wasn't just related to blogging. I could feel it everywhere.

No where was it more tangible than in my faith. I've been slightly apathetic for a few weeks about church. I couldn't put my finger on it, but now I know why. I've been very involved lately with administrative and other such elements within our church. Time spent in and around the church was time spent working with rules and numbers--statistics and top tips. Again, there's nothing wrong with rules and statistics, even in church. But when those thoughts begin to take over the purpose of church, when they begin to usurp the role of worship in one's life...apathy is probably one of the milder symptoms that shows up.

I also just finished reading a book about praying the daily office. If you're unfamiliar with that term, it refers to setting aside a certain amount of time each day for prayer and scripture reading and reciting. Commonly, it might be done in the morning, at lunch time, and in the evening. I'd read the book because I'd like to strengthen my prayer life. Guess what? All that delving into rules and regulations and organization around prayer pushed me to apathy about prayer. Again, there's nothing wrong with rules and organization, and it was clear that such an approach toward prayer was working for the author and many others. But it wasn't working for me.

I think what I've learned here is mostly something I already knew. I'm an organic rather than an organized person. I write best when I'm writing what I feel at the moment. Even if it's just a humorous blog about goblin conversations. I worship best when I'm worshiping in the moment--when I'm not worried about the structure or the rules or how many people are joining in. I pray best when I pray in the moment, when I come to God with whatever's on my heart, whatever's bothering me, whatever's real for me right that second.

Jonathan said he wanted to start a new trend on the Internet called "unblogging." He said:

"It's not going to be anything big, grand, or visionary. It's going to be about not doing things - not trying too hard, not trying to fit in, not conforming, not doing what people say."

I've just "met" Jonathan (in the blogger sense of the word "met), so I hope he doesn't mind me stealing his words. But I'm going to start a new trend in my life. It's not going to be about trying to do anything big or visionary. As soon as I start trying anything like that, I start feeling apathetic. 

Instead, I'm just going to work really hard on the little things. On writing a blog post that makes me happy. On telling the stories that are trying to climb out of my fingers. On not burning the pork chops so we can have a yummy dinner instead of beans and hotdogs. On communicating with God rather than scheduling route prayers. On fellowship instead of rules. 

And this is what I believe: I do the little things, and God will handle the big things. He doesn't fall prey to apathy. He can handle being visionary; he'll let me know if he has a vision he wants to share with me. In the meantime, it's usually the little things that make us happy. It's the little things that ward off apathy. It's the little things that often matter in the big picture, anyway.


  1. Thankyou for the mention! Now I have to live up to my own words too :)

  2. haha. Yeah, it's like scary blogger accountability. But the wonderful thing about your "unblogging" idea is that it's all good anyway :)

  3. While I'm not of the same faith, I have similar waves of apathy and have been in one the past few weeks as well (blog-wise, writing-wise, spiritually, and in my relationships). Some of that is just feeling overwhelmed with so many to-do lists in my head that I just thinks "screw it, I'm watching TV and checking out." Which isn't any healthier than the overscheduling OR the apathy.

    I often find the "rules" for ritual/prayer/talking to the Divine are a barrier, not a structure. I realize that's not the way most people think of it, but I have a really hard time with any person/book/set of rules telling me how I "should" communicate with my Gods, or what the "right" way is to worship. And sometimes it's just hard to let go of the daily analytical mind tasks that need doing and

    1. I think you nailed it with the overwhelmed part. Apathy is STRONG during those times. And we've totally said screw it and turned to the television recently (hence, the Buffy marathon we've been on. Also, we're introducing my son to "The IT Crowd").

      I think you're also right about letting go of the analytical stuff--that gets in the way of my faith (and I'm sure many people's faiths) all the time. Sometimes I wish my mind had a dial so I could pull it back a few notches when I needed.

  4. Hey Sarah, thanks for the comment on my blog. I came on over to read your blog and this one totally resonated with me. The apathy thing stops me from posting any writing until I feel something. Then I worry that I am not "doing it right, blogging consistently, etc.". But that is exactly what kills the inner creativity. So around we go again. Ha!
    The same is true for church work which I have done all my life and now I am in between churches as we figure out our next step. I did admin for my pastor hubby and for our ministry school, and getting inspiration while doing admin is/was a struggle.
    Anyway, great post and intriguing blog, keep it up!