I remember her words clearly. When we failed to be moved by the situation her response was, “I just want people to feel the same way I do about every situation.” The indication was that when she felt worked up about the current moment, she wanted everyone around her to feel that anxiety as well. We had worked together as a team for a long time and by this point had become accustomed to her mindset that everything was a crisis. We had become so accustomed to this overreaction that it cultivated in us a reaction that nothing was a crisis. Neither response is correct, yet one is the action, while the other is a reaction.
Unfortunately, the crisis mentality is becoming the pattern of our society. Such a mentality is one that reacts severely to every situation demanding instant modification, justification, and indemnification. The crisis mentality is a product of a society that values three factors:
- Self-Regard: The crisis mentality is set off by the attitude that elevates self above all others because it instigates a response to all situations based upon the assessment on the question, “How does this affect me?”
- Self-Fulfillment: The second aspect that fuels the crisis mentality is the notion of self-fulfillment. Self-fulfillment indicates control over the events and outcomes that affect one’s personal life, and so when things are out of that control, it creates the crisis mentality.
- Self-Sufficiency: Finally, there is self-sufficiency. While the outcome is similar to that of self-fulfillment, it can be defined differently because self-sufficiency is about routine life maintenance, while the other focuses on the end results. In either case, though, the goal is control.
In reality, these self-focused areas are never actually achieved because they attempt to overtake glory, events, and outcomes that can only be divinely orchestrated.
Therefore, in contrast to the crisis mentality is the need for the Christian mentality which is characterized by the following:
- His Sovereignty: The Christian mindset fixates on the realization that God is sovereign and therefore all things that take place are within his realm of control. It brings forth a trust that generates calmness as well.
- His Sacrifice: Second is a fixation on His sacrifice. Such a fixation takes the focus off of self and places it on someone more important and deserving causing us to respond accordingly.
- His Sufficiency: Finally, we recognize the sufficiency that comes from Him alone. Like His sovereignty, it recognizes that fulfillment and sufficiency are not the product of our own individual work but the result of God’s grace and mercy.
A Christian mindset should seek to supplant the crisis mindset by reorienting us away from ourselves and towards God.
This is not to say that moments of crisis don’t sometimes exists. Even more, certain situations demand more urgency than others. However, neither is everything a crisis. There is a great need to find ourselves in the middle of two extreme mentalities, one where everything is a crisis and one where nothing is a crisis. Instead, we must fixate upon God more so that our responses are appropriately inclined to the severity of each situation.
Photo “Division Sky Divided” courtesy of user Terry Bain and Flickr.