In 2005 Jo Dee Messina released a song titled “My Give a Damn’s Busted”. In the song she tells the story of a woman who has been burned by so many men that, try as she might, she just doesn’t give a damn any more when they make advances toward her. While I can’t sympathize with her reason for not being able to care, in the last several months I have echoed her sentiment. I have felt that my own “give a damn” has been in need of repair.
From a young age I’ve been a girl with an opinion. Many opinions, in fact. You could throw any topic my way and in pretty short order I could come up with not only an opinion, but a pretty good argument to support it. Hair styles, shoes, work stuff, laundry detergent, politics, whatever. Ask me and I could tell you what I thought. Lately however, things that I used to get all fired up about, I just can’t make myself care about. I heard myself saying, “I don’t give a %H*t” far too often and decided it was time for some self reflection.
Ambivalence can be a sign of depression. Could that be it? Could I be in a funk and that’s why I don’t seem to care about things? I don’t think so. Even though I don’t seem to care about some things the way I used to, I feel like I’m in a good place. My marriage is solid, my kids are at an incredible age and although they can make me a little crazy sometimes I really, really love them. I look forward to doing fun things and have a generally positive outlook on life. I sleep fine and haven’t had significant weight gain or loss recently. No, I don’t think I’m depressed.
Could it be that I’m too busy to care? Is my schedule is so cram packed that I’m always run down and exhausted and simply don’t have the energy left to care about simple things? Two years ago the answer might have been yes, but these days I’m pretty deliberate about what I commit myself to. I have worked really hard on telling people “no” (occasionally) and have made an effort to keep my family’s schedule manageable. No, I don’t think the reason I’m unable to give a crap is because of a busy schedule.
Could it possibly be that the things I no longer seem to care about are things I never should have cared about as much as I did? I feel an epiphany brewing here. Is it possible that I have matured to a place of not caring about stuff that, in the overall scheme of things, DOESN’T REALLY MATTER?? Is it possible that my broken “give a damn” is a good thing and not something in need of fixing? I’m beginning to think this could be the case.
My little world has been growing over the last several years. I used to have a fond affection for my comfort zone and rarely dared to step out of it. I liked things neat and tidy and safe and manageable. I liked control. In order to keep that, I needed my opinions. I think God looked down and saw what was going on with me and in His infinite wisdom, laid foster care on my heart to cure me of my chronic caring-about-things-that-don’t-matter. Then, about a year ago, He broke my heart for the homeless in our community. Again, shaking me up and giving me a whole new perspective.
I have heard stories that I would have never imagined to be true in real life. Things I only thought happened in movies. Unspeakable horrors that happen in my town. Neglect, abuse, hunger, loneliness, desperation. I’ve met folks that carry everything they own in a backpack. EVERYTHING THEY OWN. I’ve heard stories of kids being abandoned and sold (yes, you read that right). I know people who have self-medicated to the point that they don’t even recognize themselves. It’s hard, heartbreaking stuff. It is reality.
The real world knowledge that I have gained has been eye-opening. There has been a paradigm shift in my world. My small circle has grown and I don’t even know everyone in it yet. My focus has changed. And it needed to. I was using up my energy on things that, in view of eternity, simply do not matter. I was straining out gnats and swallowing camels (Matthew 23:34).
I’m learning to be grateful for the fact that I’m able to not give a %H*t about silly things. I’m done trying to diagnose myself and figure out what’s wrong with me. I’m thankful for this new outlook on things. I pray that I am able to continue to focus on things that matter more often than things that don’t. And if I start getting all twisted up about silly stuff, I hope I can take a step back and realign myself with what is truly important.
I thought my “give a damn” was busted but it turns out my heart was. And I’m better for it.