Are You Filled with an Incredible Resolve?

If you are ever wondering what happens beneath the surface of your city, I fully encourage you {it does take courage} to tear that layer back and size up what is beneath the appearance you see now. When I first began learning about human trafficking, commercial sex & what happens to people in the trade, I did not yet see an underbelly to the beast. I saw that we had missing persons’ photos & informational resources about a concerning problem that existed to a magnitude I did not perceive. I cared about impacting the issue, not knowing where the roots of that issue began or went. I saw the surface, and the more I try to get past the surface years later, the more complex and ungraspable the root of the problem is to me.

When our trafficking outreach hits the streets, I am overwhelmed with emotions of smallness & helplessness – it seems that there is nothing I can do in this world. Yet, I am encouraged by conversations we have, tips we get on missing people, and finding out when a case is closed. My team believes that if the end result is helping one person, it is all worth it. I also believe that we are constantly learning, and there is no end to ways we can become more aware or grow. I am finding out that the more I learn about the state of law enforcement, the cycle of crime, the methods of victimization, and the effects of trauma, the more I have much to learn. Talk with a trafficking survivor whose life was spiraled into a nightmare, and her story will only make you more perplexed about what victims face. Talk with a law enforcement officer who is trying to do good, and his experience is daily layered by more leads and tasks in the system that are coupled by the complexities of dealing with humans or hierarchies that hinder or demotivate justice work. Cases go cold, rescue and education resources are scarce, manpower in the force is full-handed, and the public eyes of society are the slumbering masses.

I know some amazing people who light matches in this darkness, who punch holes in the firm walls that Satan has built up to separate us and hide our society’s wrongs, and they will not be forgotten in eternity when someone’s life was spared or changed by the forward awakening they chase for justice’s and for love’s sake: they are like you, but they started this journey by putting on a blue uniform, or looking for a passion, or making a friend, or going to a church service, or living at a safe house, or joining a recovery group.

Something (*an incredible resolve*) in us comes to life when empathy becomes a motivator, when empathy walks with another person to see another’s journey with fresh eyes & it gives us a path to act. When you do not see another’s perspective, it is hard for empathy to fit in and motivate you. By extension, there is no change in what you can act upon because your perception, empathy, and motivations are all unaligned. You may be motivated, but you cannot empathize because you are not walking alongside someone to perceive there are problems yet. You may be empathetic, but you are not motivated to invest what time it takes to perceive current issues yet. You may be perceiving an issue, but you are not empathizing enough for that to motivate change in you yet. Any combination of these three traits is where you start from and seek change. In a desire to truly see your life make a difference, your motivations, perception, or level of empathy will have to begin in new direction together, and these three powerful skills will have to work together. Put your eyes to work & see the surface of the life around you. Then, un-filter it. See it for the grungy, dim capacity of what reality in this world can look like. By seeing more, you have a chance to perceive darkness, create good motives, and activate empathy – you are left with a very great chance to act & turn your “not yet” into “now.” You will be waking up to a very good and great change.

I stated before that society is a slumbering mass, and by that, I think of Isoroku Yamamoto’s {abridged} quote in the 1970’s Tora! Tora! Tora! film referring to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” If you decide to war against the *hidden* darkness in society, take up courage. I said this journey would take courage, because you wage two wars. One is very spiritual, in the sense that you battle darkness which you did not see or fight with before – the horrors in society that Satan & humans have done so well to hide. Your life will have a new kind of what I call “righteous-ish anger,” because it is not like Jesus rage-flipping tables in his full glory at the temple, but it feels a bit like wanting all of heaven to smite all of evil for all of time at this very moment. You will awaken awareness, and this is not something that we all comfortably bear. There is a reason we walk through life rather oblivious to a majority of our surroundings. Due to sin nature, we cover things in darkness and take our time in shedding the light on them. It is a process of learning and suffering growing pains. It is a new sight of spiritual war that you perceive over the lives of others stuck in bondage or the ones who bind them. The second war you wage is with a largely oblivious society, one full of “social [media] justice warriors,” or their counterparts, desensitized idealists. The social [media] justice warrior consistently shares about the darkness & seeing the bad, but their widest impact is the audience scrolling through their phones or the awareness they tout to others in-person. I advise you to not be outwardly showing what you do if the inside person has not been tested, uncomfortable, broken, and disliked for the impact you imagine. The world seems comfortable and raising awareness is all well and good, but action is the only way YOU change things. Likewise, desensitized idealists approach things saying, “How could this be?” and in the end walk away numbly saying, “C’est la vie.” because it would be remarkable if things improve in the world, but in the end, life will just keep moving on & things will always be as they are.

I challenge you to shun what the world coins as justice warriors & idealists, because talk is a bargain – words are free & the one buying their use will not put their money where the mouth is already roaming for free. Instead, I ask you to take up the courage and wake up. Put off making others aware of your inside thoughts & go out to walk a journey with someone else. Learn about the world going on around you, because it does not happen from the comfort of your bungalow, your church, or your current tribe of people. Figure out your passions or what makes your heart feel alive, and take on some change to act upon those convictions. Get motivated, gain perspective, and give empathy. When an entire generation wakes up from a slumber, there is an incredible resolve to influence change.