Thursday, January 29, 2009

Branches and Roots

"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root."
--Henry David Thoreau

The hot topic everywhere is the state of our economy and the overriding response from most people is fear. This is understandable. But it does not have to be. We learn in driver's ed class that we will navigate towards the object of our focus and it is true in every area of life. When the eyes of the heart are locked in on what is lacking, fear and dread are an inevitability. When pain looms front and center it becomes difficult to even breathe. The pregnant woman is taught that she should plan ahead to have a focal point when labor begins so that the pain will not overwhelm her and so that she can better control her breathing. And God has given us a focal point for the unavoidable pains of life...Philippians 4:6-9. Here is the Taylor paraphrase: "Do NOT be fearful, but rather talk to Me about your needs with a thankful heart and My peace will protect you. Dwell only on the good report."
While no one person can repair the economy, each of us can repair our response to the economy. I make light of hard things sometimes, such as in this post, because humor is how I cope. But most of us need to move past coping and start hoping. Coping hacks at the branches of fear while hoping strikes at the root. The passage in Philippians holds the key. What will you choose?

--embrace fear
--become too paralyzed to pray
--resent what is lacking
--focus on the negative reports (and they are everywhere)


--resist fear
--tell God what you need and how you feel
--DAILY list what you do have and THANK HIM for it
--dwell on what is good and positive (especially in idle moments)

As for me? I will take "Resist Fear and Be Thankful" for five hundred, Alex.