I decided that I was going to stop caring this year.
Originally, it was just going to be a mantra that I would use to get me out of a dangerous thought pattern, that ascribed importance to everyone else’s opinion of me. My answer to all of the questions life (or people) had to throw at me this year?
I don’t care.
“What will so and so think if I got my nose pierced?”
Answer – I don’t care! (Sweet.)
“I wore this shirt yesterday, and I wanna wear it again, but so and so saw me and I might see them today…”
Nope. Don’t Care.
“Are people going to judge me because I’m a 26-year-old black female who’d rather watch The Flash over Scandal?”
I. Don’t. Care.
My mantra was working out great…until it wasn’t.
I was riding in a car with a friend over the holiday, and as we were catching up, she was asking me serious questions about my life – more serious than my plans to punch a hole through my nose, or watching The Flash.
Her questions made me confront uncomfortable things, things that stirred up hurt feelings, and it was then that I realized my little mantra was also a bad habit that I had, when I wanted to avoid being vulnerable.
Somewhere along the way, I had already convinced myself that things couldn’t hurt me if I pretended not to care about them.
Quickly finding yourself in an argument that you can’t win, but need a way out, without looking stupid?
“I don’t care anymore.”
Want to dissolve conflict while avoiding confrontation? Just pretend like your feelings aren’t hurt.
“I don’t care anymore.”
Turns out it wasn’t as freeing in every situation. My “I don’t care anymore” answer to those questions felt more like I was trying to convince myself that it was true, until hopefully it was, so using it as a defense mechanism was about as effective as a little kid covering their eyes and expecting that no one else can see them.
One thing I’ve learned about emotions is that they will always catch up with you, no matter how hard you ignore them. Usually when mine finally do, I reach a Kim Kardashian ugly cry level, and it’s just. not. cute.
So, my feeble attempt at becoming a free spirit in my mid-20s, was crumbling before my eyes. If I couldn’t stop big problems in my life from consuming my thoughts, was my mantra to not sweat the small stuff really sustainable?
The answer is, yes.
Here comes the “Jesus Twist.” (Praise!)
1. He cares FOR me.
Psalm 55:22 – Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you – He will never let the righteous be shaken.
He cares so that we don’t have to.
Jesus doesn’t just ask for us to bring matters to him after we’ve ranked them as an 8 or a 9 on a stress meter that goes to 10. Jesus cares, and wants to care about every thing that may trouble my fickle little brain.
I wouldn’t wish that on many people, but He told us to, so…
Once we do, He will give us self-confidence to let the “small stuff” roll off our backs, and peace to maneuver through the “big stuff” with grace.
And He does it because…
2. He CARES for me.
(I hope this emphasis thing is working.)
1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
He loves us enough to carry our burdens because he knows they are too heavy for us to carry on our own. He never asks us to figure things out by ourselves. So why do I continually try to?
I wish that this blog could put that question to bed forever, but I’m sure 2016 will have a few “snot-faced-wanna-hide-in-my-closet-and-never-come-out” days in store. It’s not that I’ll never care again. But now I have a plan so that my cares don’t carry me away to a place where I feel out of control. (See what I did there?)
So, I’m keeping my mantra for the year. I DON’T care, anymore. But it’s not an escape route to save face, or permission to do whatever I want. It’s an action step that pushes me into a deeper intimacy with my Father, who knows me and CARES FOR me.