Why Miley Cyrus eclipses suffering orphans
There’s a reason why Miley Cyrus rakes in money hand over fist while my friend Ed can barely scrape together any money to fund an orphanage in Uganda, Africa.
He came home and began soliciting donations, only to be met with bewildering indifference.
“It’s been so frustrating,” he told me. “Especially the number one objection I get.”
“What’s that?” I asked.
“People tell me they don’t want to contribute to anything in Africa, because they say Africa is a ‘bottomless pit.’ They worry that they’ll just be wasting their money.”
And then he said something that stopped me cold, which will haunt me for the rest of my life:
“I get so frustrated when I hear this because to me the bottomless pit is American consumption.”
I thought of how I’ve been wanting to upgrade my wardrobe, when my closet is full of perfectly good clothes. I felt ashamed by how much I focus on the lack of things I want when I’m swimming in abundance.
I pondered on the injustice in the world. It dawned on me that the reason for it is actually quite simple, and it’s connected to a lot more than injustice and inequity.
The reason is the Law of Energy: That which we give our energy to grows.
Miley Cyrus grows in popularity because, the more salacious she gets, the more energy we give her. Our insatiable thirst for material goods grows because, drowning in advertising, we give incalculable energy to consumption.
I ponder on whether my energy expenditures reflect my deepest values and purest desires.
I want my relationship with God to take first priority in my life. But how much energy do I spend cultivating that relationship in prayer, meditation, scripture study, and service?
I want my family to take precedence over my career. But on which do I spend more energy?
There’s a corollary to the Law of Energy: That which we neglect decays.
In the negative sense, that can mean that marriages dissolve when we neglect the relationship.
But there’s a positive side to it as well: We can consciously choose what we want to shrivel and disappear from our lives.
We’re taught to starve our problems and feed our solutions. Likewise, I say:
- Starve your fears and feed your faith. Scared of public speaking? Envision yourself smiling confidently at your audience and delivering a powerful message. Focus your thoughts and energy on the needs of your audience and how you can transform them.
- Starve your temptations and feed your virtue. Don’t put yourself in situations where you will cave to temptation. Cultivate your relationship with God through daily prayer, meditation, and scripture study. Find ways to serve others.
- Starve your pride and feed your humility. Actively seek ways to get outside your comfort zone. Periodically leave the confines of your own life and see how other people live.
- Starve your time-wasters and feed your purpose. Cancel your cable subscription and read good books instead. Limit your Facebook time and maximize your most productive activities. Stop rubber-necking pop culture train wrecks and keep your eye on the prize.
- Starve your wounds and feed your forgiveness. Pray for empathy toward those who have wronged you. Strive to see through their eyes and feel their pain.
Want to change the world? Want to live in a world where suffering orphans in Africa are given more time, attention, money, and energy than degenerate pop stars? Want to be more faithful, courageous, virtuous, valiant, forgiving, and loving?
It’s simple: Change what you give your energy to.