Weekly Thought – May 2, 2017
Fred believed we have much to learn from our enemies. He also believed we are known by not only the friends, but also our enemies. He also believed in external and internal opposition. “Sometimes we are our own worst enemy.”
Overcoming, not Overwhelming
Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan tells the story of Christian and his trek to the Celestial City. Along the way are the City of Delight and the Valley of Despair. He starts on his way, determined to persevere, but the enemies actively pursue him. Successful perseverance comes by overcoming the enemies cleverly disguised, and customized to fit each traveler and each situation.
Many of our obstacles may be external, but the most serious are generally internal. When I was a director of the S.H Kress Company, I visited the stores and asked the manager about his problems. If he described them as externally driven, I doubted his managerial capabilities. If he discussed the internal problems, I knew we had a manager with potential for progress. This manager defined situations he could do something about. Certainly, there were external threats, but most were out of his control.
Each step of the perseverance process comes back to building good mental disciplines. Fighting the enemies of endurance requires good habits. Start with a reflex, and then train it into a habit. Habits are our friends.
A couple came to see me saying, “We have a problem.” As I listened, it became clear she had nothing to do with the creation of the problem. Yet, she maturely accepted ownership as half of the marriage partnership. She could have easily said (and I have heard it many times before), “This stupid husband of mine, much against my advice, lost our money.” But she didn’t. And, eventually they worked together to find an answer. She knew that resolution, not recrimination, was the road to solution.
How easy it is in rough times to point fingers and shift blame. From childhood we learn to respond like a quick draw sharpshooter.”It’s not my fault.” Our third grandchild is a boy named Jeff. He was born behind two strong-willed sisters. One day when he was still a pre-schooler our daughter heard him mumbling to himself. She got close enough to hear, “Not my fault, not my fault, not my fault.” “Jeff, what did you do?” “Nothing – I’m just practicing for when Heather and Meredith blame me.”
This week think about: 1) What reflexes am I honing into good habits? 2) What are the customary pitfalls on my journey? 3) How do I assess my external and internal threats?
Words of Wisdom: “She knew that resolution, not recrimination, was the road to solution.”
Wisdom from the Word: “You have joy, Israel! Who is like you? You are a people delivered by the Lord, your protective shield and your exalted sword. May your enemies cringe before you; may you trample on their backs.” (Deuteronomy 33:29 NET Bible)