In our household, we have to fight the urge for each of us to withdraw from one another on our individual devices. We have to challenge ourselves to move our bodies to build and make things or delight in a recent snowfall rather than simply sit and receive the entertaining worlds available to us through games and shows and the shiny, disembodied, isolated and isolating world at our fingertips. We have to fight the temptation to hopelessness in the face of what seem like intractable global problems we will never solve.
Andy Crouch writes about withdrawing in his book Strong and Weak. He notes that many of us in the western world have been given “authority.” We have enough choice, social stability, and opportunity to engage the world in a meaningful way. And if we pair that authority with vulnerability, with the capacity to love (which is also the capacity to be wounded, as I wrote about earlier this week), then we will experience what Crouch calls flourishing.
Snow Days: Withdraw or Engage
This week, we had a few snowy days. On one of them, we succumbed to the call of the screen. And we felt a bit cranky and bloated and disconnected. On the other, we invited friends over and pulled out sleds and hot chocolate and got cold and wet. And we felt exhausted and invigorated and grateful and connected.
In this case, we simply used our “authority” to welcome other kids and create a space for fun connection. But I hope that even hot chocolate and sledding can be an act of resisting the hopelessness and disconnection. I hope it is teaching our kids, and me, that connecting with the physical world—in our own bodies, with other real people—is where we will come most alive. I hope we are learning to resist withdrawing and instead receive the authority we have to participate in love.
And fun fact—I learned last week that this “withdrawing” could also be called “pusillanimity” (new word for me!). Do you know it? I actually get to talk with Anne Snyder about pusillanimity on the next episode of the podcast. So stay tuned!
Learn more with Amy Julia:
- S3 E18 | American Politics, Power, and Human Flourishing with Andy Crouch
- Slowing Down in Our Family’s Fast-Paced World
- Feeling Our Feelings as a Family
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