It was a moment that ruined me forever. I was sitting on a bus with fellow college students the first time my heart was moved to commit to seeking racial justice. Little did I know how much obeying this conviction would cost me.
Since then I’ve worked in foster care and homeless shelters, churches, and college campuses. It’s a cause and a calling that follows me into every moment of my life. But I want to confess something: Doing this work is hard. Really hard. In fact, fighting for justice is the worst. It’s not sexy or romantic; it’s often quite gut-wrenching. So in an effort to be honest about this work, I decided to make a list of why you shouldn’t fight for justice.
1.It will exhaust you. Seeking justice in the world is a significant emotional investment. When we follow this call, we’re deeply moved by the ways injustice affects real people, and we work extraordinarily hard to do what we can to make sure no one else has to face the same injustice again. This often requires working behind the scenes—unacknowledged, underappreciated, and overlooked. This kind of work is often done with little to no pay. The nice thing about a traditional 9 to 5 job is the clear understanding of when to stop and go home, but the world of justice is often so connected to who we are becoming that—in order to survive—we’ve got to intentionally rest so we can separate our selves from our causes.
2. You’ll never feel like you’re doing enough. Societal issues are intricate, multilayered, and far-reaching. When God calls us to make a difference, even if we manage to focus on just one issue we can still feel like we’re falling down a rabbit hole of complexities. With those complexities come more opportunities to act, to serve, to fight. I’m personally committed to writing and speaking about racial justice, but I often feel like I’m just not doing enough. There’s a running list on my computer of all the other ways I should be participating in the work of justice: I should volunteer, I should organize, I should support existing organizations, and I should give money. No matter how much I do, I always feel like I should be doing so much more. Fighting for justice means that you’re always exhausting yourself but are still left feeling like it’s not enough. That’s a hard way to live.1