Being vs Doing

Apathy can sometimes look like boredom
Apathy can sometimes look like boredom

As a man who grew up in a somewhat “traditional” home, it’s very easy for me to fall into the habits I grew up with. Mainly the idea that the man works and the wife takes care of the house. I find it very easy, and slightly comforting sometimes, to just sit and stair at my computer screen, doing a whole lot of nothing.

It’s unfortunate but it happens more often than not in my household. I don’t like that it happens but it sometimes just does… Sitting around and doing nothing is just passively letting life pass me by instead of being active in it.

Being passive, or not participating in life instead of participating with those around me can cause me to become apathetic to life in general. To be apathetic means to be indifferent to those around you. I think Wikipedia does a better job of defining Apathy than I can:

Apathy (also called impassivity or perfunctoriness) is a state of indifference, or the suppression of emotions such as concern, excitement, motivation and passion. An apathetic individual has an absence of interest in or concern about emotional, social, spiritual, philosophical and/or physical life. – Wikipedia/Apathy

The idea that being apathetic can suppress passion is a bit frightening. To not feel passion for TJ is a scary thought. That’s one reason why I don’t like the idea of becoming apathetic. Here are a few others:

Apathy Is Selfish

Apathy says that my desires and wants are more important than those around me. It’s a me centered, me first attitude. Have you ever felt yourself being upset when you’re asked to take out the trash or when you’re asked to give the baby a bath? That could mean you’re on the road to really not caring about those around you.

Apathy Sets A Poor Example

A husband is the leader of the family; not by force but by example. TJ looks to me to show her what a person pursuing Christ looks like. Also, my future generations are looking to me to show them what it means to pursue Christ. They look to me to see what someone who is not passive or apathetic looks like. If I can teach my kid(s) to not be apathetic to those around me, then they will in turn not be apathetic to those around them. Always remember that you reap what you sew. My kids choosing to not be passive with those around them will bless the people around them and it will also bless me. Which leads me to my last point:

We Will Be Held Accountable As Husbands And Fathers

God has set men as the heads and leaders of the household for a reason. It is our responsibility to make sure that the generations that follow us are chasing after Christ like David did. As a man we have a greater responsibility to this Earth and we have more to be held accountable for.

So, now that we know some of the consequences of being passive, or apathetic, what are the ways that one can avoid becoming apathetic?

If we look back at the definition Wikipedia provided, we see that someone that’s apathetic has an absence of concern, excitement, motivation, and passion. I read that as someone letting life pass them by.

So, it would be logical to assume, to not be apathetic you need to participate in life. Instead of just sitting in the chair and getting annoyed whenever someone interrupts your “work” (which I’m guilty of having happen from time to time), try stopping what you’re doing and listening to what the person has to say. Here are some small steps that I’ve come up with that I find help me participate in my relationship with TJ and in the relationships around me:

Never Say the Words, “I don’t care.” or “Whatever”

These two phrases are the death of being active in life. Saying you don’t care is saying I want someone to decide for me and, by extension, live for me. Instead of saying “I don’t care. You decide.” why not try something like “I’m not sure. Do you have a suggestion?” Or “Either option sounds great. Do you have an opinion?” While these options sound somewhat similar to “Whatever” they’re different in that you’re giving a response and inviting a response from the other person involved. This gets you both participating in the decision and keeps you interested in the outcome.

Make A TODO List Each Day And Then DO IT

If an apathetic person is just letting life pass them by, then you need to have things to do in order to participate in life. Having a TODO list does a few things:

  • It gives you a visual of what needs to get done; it’s not just sitting in your head likely to be forgotten
  • It keeps you accountable if you show it to someone else, like your spouse
  • Getting things done makes you feel better in general. It improves your mood and makes you a lot happier (trust me, it brings me a lot of joy whenever I can check things off my TODO list)

Getting things done I think is the biggest way to avoid becoming apathetic. Having something to work on gives you purpose and helps to generate passion.

Find Something You’re Passionate About – Then Do It!

Find something that you REALLY like doing. For example, do you like writing short stories or poems? What would happen if you would spend a little more time doing that each day? Even if you never get “noticed” or published, pursuing and living out your passion makes for a much happier person. Getting to do what you love is another big way that you can avoid having life just pass you by.

If you’re looking for a GREAT book about discovering your passion, I highly recommend Quitter by Jon Acuff. A great book that talks about finding your passion and pursuing it as a career.

Participate In The Lives Around You

God put people in our lives for a reason. Obviously we have our spouse and kids that we can interact with but I’m thinking in much broader terms. Don’t let your neighbors be strangers but start interacting with them; get to know who they are. Remember that life is messy but it’s a lot more fun to go through the mess with friends.

These are just some ideas to avoid letting life pass you by. By finding your passion, avoiding using words like “Whatever” or “I don’t care” and participating in the lives around you, you will find yourself doing more in life and caring more for those around you. When that happens, you can kick apathy right out the door.

What other ways that you can think of to avoid becoming apathetic?

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