Many of us have, at some point in our lives, come into contact with that foul beast called apathy. It is a frightening monster, because when we find ourselves trapped in its clutches, we simply don’t care enough to fight our way out. We are content to remain trapped, bereft of motivation or drive—even the desire to regain these things seems beyond us.
So what should we do to overcome apathy? What can we do, for that matter? As with all problems, apathy is surmountable. We can overcome. The following are four steps (I will not call them easy; if you have faced this problem yourself, you know why) that will help you in your struggle to do so.
1. Ask God for strength and willpower
Of all the steps, this is the simplest and most overlooked one. All too often, we forget that “with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27) and “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). But before we can call on this strength to do the seemingly impossible, we must first ask our Creator for it. This way, we remain conscious of where our help and deliverance is coming from—not from ourselves, but from God.
2. Understand where apathy comes from
God has an amazing plan for us—in this life and the next. Every day we face new opportunities to grow into His character, and every Holy Day (the Sabbath included!) we are reminded of the eternal plan He is ever working toward. This plan provides us with both the drive and motivation necessary to get up and face each day.
Apathy comes when we lose sight of this plan and its importance in our lives. Think about this. The source, the very origin of apathy, is a loss of focus on God’s plan. And when we have lost sight of what God is doing, we have distanced ourselves from God. A friend of mine, in relating her story of overcoming anorexia, confided in me that she had realized not only that God did not like what she was doing, but additionally that she didn’t care. And that was enough of a shock to jolt her out of apathy and into action.
So ask yourself: Is a state of mind where God doesn’t matter to you really where you want to be?
3. Get doing
Once we realize that we need to be doing something, the next step is to go out and do it. Is that an easy task when you don’t have any real desire to? No. But you can’t wait until you feel like it. If you wait until you care enough to do something, then you’ll never do anything.
That’s not how apathy works. You need to be the one who breaks the cycle, whether you have the motivation to do it or not. Pray to God for strength, and then plow ahead.
Sometimes it helps to have someone “light a fire under you,” so to speak. Others have done that for me and allow me to return the favor. To go back to the previous point, if you are apathetic, it means God’s plan and God Himself have dropped from their appropriate position as number one in your life. This is not okay. God demands that number-one spot; and by placing Him anywhere else, we jeopardize our salvation.
God is not asking you to overcome this alone. Talk to Him; He is with those who turn to Him—but the decision to overcome apathy has to be yours.
4. What to do
As far as what we can be doing, the possibilities are limitless. In serving others—following the example set by Christ (Matthew 20:26-28)—we can often recapture that sense of purpose we have come to lack. (Don’t forget the principle set forth in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12—with the help of others, such tasks become easier.) Ask your local pastor for suggestions on how you can help out.
Prayer and studying the Bible to better understand a topic of interest or a previously unexplored section of Scripture can help rekindle the fire as well.
The most important thing to remember is that with God, all things are possible. With His help, we can fight our way out of the grasp of apathy and finally slay the beast. With the promise of the future He has set before us and the opportunities we encounter every day to grow into the son or daughter He wants for us to be, there is no room for apathy in our lives—so let’s get doing!