Day 1: Apathy
The research is clear. You must have feelings about something before you can take any meaningful action on it. Apathy literally means “without feeling.” So when we stop feeling emotions about our coworkers, friends, family, or job, it’s just a matter of time before they are disconnected from us. Either way, you’re going to feel. You will either feel for the people in your life or feel the pain of separation and loneliness after pushing them away.
I started this plan with apathy because (1) it’s probably the strongest predictor of a relationship ending in one form or another and (2) if I can’t get you to feel the importance of disconnections, then you are likely to apathetically stop reading the rest of this plan.
If you think or say the phrases “I don’t even care” or “It doesn’t matter,” then you are most likely opening the door to apathy. A heavy relational blow, a lack of appreciation, redundant and boring routines (hopefully not this plan), and fear of failure can all cause us to not care. If you have experienced any of these recently, then you know how easy it can be to think, “Why should I even care?” But we need to care to stay connected.
People can tell when you’ve lost interest in them, an activity, or even yourself. But sometimes it’s not as clear for ourselves to realize our priorities have changed. We think we still care about someone or something until it’s too late and that someone or something is gone from a lack of attention. Just like a lack of self-care will have us look in the mirror one morning thinking, “What in the world has happened to me?” A lack of caring for others or our work will eventually come with a similarly shocking wake-up call.
You overcome apathy by first realizing it’s an “inside job.” You have to be the one who owns the decision to keep caring. You can’t rely on external circumstances to make you want to care, and this is actually a good thing because there is nothing you can do to make God stop caring for you! God doesn’t rely on what you are doing or have done to decide if you deserve his care and attention. No matter where you are in your journey, God always has big plans for you.
So add something new to your routines, challenge apathy, unpack and analyze the root causes of any decreased caring, prioritize the important people around you, set goals and then tackle an easy one, and make the decision to show everyone how much you care. You’ll deepen your connections and keep your relationships thriving.
God, help us recognize and respond when the Holy Spirit prompts us to care so that we can avoid and overcome apathy in all areas of our lives.