Weekly Thought – July 1, 2014
Fred loved watermelon! After he went on dialysis he reduced his fluid intake dramatically. But summertime watermelons were his nemesis. A dear friend, Ed Yates, figured out how to make watermelon pie which delighted Fred. Ed once said, “Put enough whipped cream on anything and it tastes great.” Each July 4th Fred remembered his days of chicken and watermelon eating contests.
On this holiday week, we celebrate the freedom to practice our faith. At the Breakfast With Fred Leadership Institute, we gratefully acknowledge the privilege to connect with Christian colleges and universities.
Since childhood I have been interested in automobile racing. I am fascinated by the driver’s ability to hit the wall and yet steer his car through the traffic into the infield. He doesn’t quit unless he is unconscious. He fights to minimize the loss and avoid deadly pileups. Panic means giving in to the circumstances and giving up all control. The racer’s rule: keep as much control as possible.
We handle the urge to panic differently. 1) Some are hysterical; explode like a Roman candle, going all to pieces with their hands in the air, mouths wide open, and eyes tightly shut. 2) Others deny loss and assume the ostrich position. The downside of this stance: those who put their heads in the sand leave an awful lot of backside exposed. And, people love to kick it. 3) Fatalists placidly surrender to the circumstances, like my friend who convinced himself plane crashes come in threes. When one occurred, he waited for the next two before flying again. He created a fatalistic formula that controlled his life.
May I give you a word or two on fatalism? Sadly, there are those who believe you can’t get comfortable with good things because bad quickly and certainly follows. They see life as a set of scales which balance between triumph and tragedy. The illogical extension of this thinking is the warped view that God is poised in vindictive mode, poised for the scales to tip to the “gotcha” side.
A good example is the story in my friend Philip Yancey’s book The Jesus I Never Knew. He relates growing up thinking God wore a permanent scowl. It was only when he realized God smiled did his life take a dramatic turn.
A new friend, president of a large organization asked me, “Fred, do you think God will take away my money?” “Why would you ask that question?” “I quit going to church and my family says God is going to get me.” He is in an emotional panic, waiting for the heavy hand of God to land on him. That isn’t the way I read scripture.
All these postures are immature and emotionally weak positions. In panicking, we give up control. You have hit a wall, but keep control and stay conscious. Do minimal damage and persevere.
This week think about: 1) When was the last time I hit the wall? 2) What is my personal strategy to avoiding panic? 3) How realistic am I in the midst of turmoil?
Words of Wisdom: “You have hit a wall, but keep control and stay conscious. Do minimal damage and persevere.”
Wisdom from the Word: “I repeat, be strong and brave! Don’t be afraid and don’t panic, for I, the Lord your God, am with you in all you do.” (Joshua 1:9 NET Bible)