2016 is off to a…well…start?
The stock market is tanking.
Oil prices are at $27ish per barrel.
Donald Trump is leading the Republican Presidential race.
Anyone out there who could have predicted those three? Put a $1 bet on those three in Vegas in 2015 and you are now Warren Buffett in 2016. The new year, while only three weeks in, is sputtering.
When life misfires there are a variety of ways we can react. We can yell. We can get depressed. We can blame others or build fences so as to not let others in. If you are like me at some point we try them all. The only strategy, though, I find that works is really pretty simple. Return to basics. Think long term.
As you may know, one of the projects currently underway in my world is learning to ride a motorcycle. The other day I was out for a ride and it started rough. Everything was out of sync. Finally, after missed shifts and lurching starts I came upon a STOP sign. I crossed mental wires and squeezed the clutch, not the brake. And while I made the stop, the mistake was disconcerting. I pulled through the stop and over to the side of the road and began to review the basics – clutch, brake, throttle, the order of making a stop, having the bike ready in first gear, and so on.
The ride improved. Taking time to review the basics and getting them back in your head smoothes out rides. 2016 is off to a shaky start for many of us. Maybe there is no better time to get the fundamentals back?
What does that mean? You share with me, but here is where I am.
Read. Start every day with Scripture. Every day.
Pray. Pray for others more than yourself.
Fast. You could stand to miss a meal.
Serve. Feed someone hungry and your ‘problems’ disappear.
Connect. Talk with friends and family. Make sure others talk most of the time. You listen.
These simple steps take the turmoil out of any day.
Recently I was talking with my son. A few teenagers in our town, tragically, took their own lives – each a terrible loss. As a pastor I have been down that road with families, and I am unfortunately familiar with the pain and devastation. I took the time to talk with my son. While we do not know the details or the depression or behind the scenes situations, I wanted my son to know – there is never a moment so dark that the light of the whole is eclipsed. A moment is only a moment no matter how tough, and a strong grasp on some basics can help us hold on when under attack.
Jesus said – Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own – Matthew 6:34
He said this after talking about prayer, fasting, charity, and generosity. The basics.
Returning to them helps. Today is only a day and 2016 – as strange as it has been – is only a year.
(thanks for reading, if you found Jesus in this please comment and share)