I almost missed the end of the world.
I was at home in our sun room on Friday morning writing. As I watched the humming birds and bees flit about the flowers I had no idea the world was exploding.
When I’d turned off my computer the evening before the polls showed the Brits would vote to stay in the EU. Yet the pollsters got it completely wrong. Wow, go figure.
I glanced at the financial news about noon and the stock market was tanking. The Prime Minister was resigning and the world was collapsing.
Here I was blissfully enjoying a summer morning writing with no idea the world was ending.
It reminded me of the 2009 financial collapse.
During that some clients were in full out panic. The phone calls never ended. I sounded like a yogi repeating my mantra, “Don’t panic. Ride it out.”
Honestly, the most freaked out were the fundamentalist Christians. Their pastors preached this was the beginning of the Great Tribulation and they weren’t taking no for an answer.
I remember thinking, “Shouldn’t believers be the calmest?”
I mean scripture says, “God hasn’t given us a mind filled with fear but one filled with power and love that creates a sound strong stable mind.”
Actually this time around I was disappointed. The market recovered so quickly I didn’t have time to invest more.
Back in 2008 and 2009 we scraped money together every month to invest in our 401k. I’ll tell you that was a real gut check.
I’m not immune to fear either. Day after day it wears me down too.
Yet, today those investments have tripled.
Frankly though, even more important is what I learned. When you stay calm, even when your insides are screaming, it allows you to rationally size up the challenge and logically develop a strategy.
And as I found, when everyone else is running for the hills you’re able to calmly and constructively move forward.
So how can you stay calm when the world around you is exploding?
Frankly, I’m probably the wrong one to ask. The family I was born into made worrying into an art form.
So I’ve had to develop strategies to overcome that.
Here are a few things that help me.
First, size up your opponent.
Look your bogey man in the eyes and see what he’s made of. That’s what I did recently and in 2009.
I thought, “We live in the greatest country in history. We have companies that innovate and produce products wanted all over the world. People still need to eat, drive cars, wear clothes, live in homes and educate their children. Life will go on and we’ll find a way to deal with this challenge.”
Second, size up your champion.
In the old days kings, so they didn’t have to fight personally, had a prize warrior who fought another king’s prize warrior. Actually worked out pretty well for the kings. Not so much for the warriors.
Well, God is our champion. So who exactly do you think is stronger than he is?
In the midst of the 2009 melt down I thought a lot about that. No matter what challenges hit, God is still taking care of us.
Finally, I find my faith gets leaky.
I can feel pretty strong in the morning and be plowing dirt with my bottom lip by night. So I need to refill constantly by praying, remembering some of God’s promises, reading some good books and thanking God for what I already have.
Then when my faith fills up again I’m ready with a calm mind to conquer the challenges.
*2 Timothy 1: 7
Photo Credit: Kevin Muncie; Creative Commons