From my title today you can see that my brain is going on a bit of a wacko ride at the moment, and I’m going to attempt to take you with me. Lucky you. Or not.
You will have heard that story of how if you try to put a frog into boiling water it is of course going to try everything in its power to get out of that water. How you would try this in the first place, I have no idea. However, if you have some frogs in a pot of cold water and slowly increase the temperature, they don’t notice the change and…well…voila…frogs legs for dinner, anyone?
That picture is often used in describing the idea of desensitization and how we can become used to our environments and we morph and change with them.
A couple of weeks ago we were in San Francisco and on the boat to Alcatraz we meet three fellow New Zealanders. It’s not often you see kiwis around here, so we struck up a friendly conversation with them. We had to tell them we are New Zealanders. Seriously. They could tell we knew they were New Zealanders but we had to actually tell them we’re New Zealanders. I was mortified. They said our accents have taken on an American twang. Mate. Not good.
Now my American friends would laugh at this – as all they hear is a foreign accent. But to someone from our homeland, they can hear the slight difference in speech, a few different words being used and they can tell – we’ve been living in a different environment. We are morphing. We’re always in the process of adapting. Of trying to be understood. And slowly, over time, there has been some desensitizing going on in our lives. It’s no longer foreign to flick the lights the ‘wrong’ way around. I can quite happily drive on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. There aren’t as many things that jump out and surprise us now, although we’re always living with cultural differences.
We can’t help that we have become a little bit desensitized. It is what happens, gradually, over time, sometimes for good, and sometimes for bad.
Sometimes my ‘outside’ eyes see things and they get me into trouble. Not everyone always appreciates it when I see ‘stuff’ and I say ‘stuff’ – because from my experience, from looking from the outside in, life here – or anywhere for that matter – sometimes needs some questions to be asked of it.
And that’s my challenge to myself and to you, today. Ask yourself the ‘why?’ questions. The tricky questions. Don’t just blindly follow the things of your culture – don’t be desensitized by what you see around you, by all the haves that people have. Be intentional with all you do.
Take i-phone/ smart phone payment plans. Is it really that important to you to always be in touch with your social media apps? Does $70 a month really enhance your life, when you’re striving to be that ‘hands-free Mama’ that everyone was oohing and aahing about a few months ago? Now before I get a whole bunch of defensive comments all in favour of your fancy pants phones, this really isn’t about the phone and the benefits or the ins and outs of having one. I’m really not judging. Hear my heart. It is not about Suri or Sari or Sara. It is about being intentional. It is about knowing what you stand for and why you buy/need/ want/avoid/ desire certain things in your life.
It is about living your life in such a way because that is what God desires of your life because HE has your HEART. (And isn’t that something we’re all, constantly working on?)
It is about protecting yourself from becoming sucked into and thrown out of the whole desensitization vacuum so that the Moms at school pick up do know you love Jesus. The Moms watching their little Princesses at Ballet know you care about how their day was. The teens in your life know you have something better to offer them, than the false promises of the world.
It is about tuning our ears, our eyes and our hearts towards someone who cares a lot more about US and how our hearts are, than the car we drive, the fall decorations we do or don’t have in our houses and the fact that I still, after all this time have quite the Brook Shields look going on.
Frogs may not survive in their environments, if the water gets too hot, but for us – we can do more than survive when the going gets tough. If we’re intentional and determined not to become desensitized….the tough in us will get going.