Yesterday at work, I was listening to some old music and stumbled upon perhaps my least favorite song in the entire world. No offense to John Mayer, because this is honestly the only song of his I’ve ever heard and detested. His song, Waiting On the World to Change, bothers me for so many reasons, not the least of which is the chord progression. Every time I hear it, I sing, “I’m waiting (waiting!) waiting on the chords to change!”
In all seriousness, though, the song is a wake-up call. Maybe that’s John’s point—who knows. He speaks of the lack of action in his generation, not for complacency, but for the feeling that the system is rigged, and there’s no action that can generate change.
I get that. I know you get it, too. We’ve all felt that in our personal lives, haven’t we? Maybe you’ve had a medical diagnosis that feels like a death knell. Maybe you’ve lost a job and felt paralyzed by the struggle to find a new means of income. Maybe you desperately long to finish college but cannot afford it and yet somehow you make too much money to be eligible for financial aid. Maybe you have clinical anxiety and each day you fight what feels like a losing battle. There are a million possible maybes, and they are specifically tailored to each of us in our lives.
Many times we feel stuck in our circumstances, and the truth is, we just don’t know how to keep going. It hurts; we feel both helpless and alienated.
But, it’s not true. Don’t believe it. The worst thing you can do when you feel alienated is to retreat into your own discouragement and disappointment.
As Conservatives, we tend to believe that there’s not much we can do to change the game. Politically, we have watched the nation grow more and more divided, and we have had little recourse. We see the media monster swallowed up by itself to such a degree that we don’t even feel like the information getting out is truthful or complete. And so many times, in the face of adversity or politically unsettling situations, we do nothing.
We, like Mayer, are” just waiting (waiting!). We’re waiting on the world to change.”
Except, change doesn’t just “happen.”
It’s not some ethereal force that exerts itself upon the wills of mankind. Change, largely, is a result of action and inaction—of the choices of man. So while “we’re waiting (waiting!) waiting on the world to change,” the truth is, we’re choosing inaction, and inaction brings change the same as action does. The only difference is that someone else’s actions are paving the way forward—and friends, that might be a direction we don’t want to go.
Waiting (waiting!) is every bit as much “change” as activism because it allows others to determine the course of our culture and our nation.
Let’ take politics out of it for a moment. Governments come and go, leadership changes, policies are made and rescinded so quickly that sometimes we honestly don’t know what’s what. But don’t let that be the reason you aren’t promoting positive change in the world. Don’t let politics or differences of any kind (religion, race, sexuality, economic status, weight, eye color, shoe choice) keep you from being the person who lives the change our world desperately needs.
It’s what we learn in one of my favorite passage of Scripture, Micah 6:8.
Walk humbly with your God.
So get involved. Be informed. Be a voice. Stand for what is right, and for those who have no voice. Know that in spite of a rigged system and an unfair fight, your actions can, and will make a positive change in the world, even if it doesn’t pan out as quickly as you hope. But please, don’t “do nothing.”
Don’t wait on the world to change, or else you may not like the world your inaction creates.