Faith without a Strategy is just Hope
Life seems in flux. There are so many forces acting on us these days: the Pandemic; stresses on the economy; and change of administration after a brutal bloody campaign. These produce points of conflict and tension (different in each individual) that collectively rock us back on our heels. However, the pain is not equally distributed, for some it is more of an irritant, working from home is getting old, but the paycheck keeps coming. For others, it has been catastrophic, loss of jobs, severe health problems and in the extreme, an earlier death than one might otherwise have imagined.
However, the real challenge is not today, but the future. What are we to make of the changes that have been forced upon our lives? Will the New Normal become the norm, or will we return to some semblance of the known world? But time has passed and even without the aberrant influences, that world is gone and would have been replaced. But by what? That alternate universe is beyond our experience. Perhaps in that world Donald Trump might have won the election. Perhaps you would have struck it rich with the lottery. Perhaps you would have been struck by a car. You will never know.
We are left with the remains of this day, not the other. In that there is little utility in worrying about what might have been. It is worse than focusing on the past; it is centering on a past that never came to past (It would be easy to get wrapped around the axel on this train of thought).
So, forward we must march. But I what direction? What course will our new government lead us (if at all)? What constraints will the pathology of COVID, with its now evolving new strains, impose on us? Should we move boldly to make the new world our own, or should we hunker down and weather the storm, pop our heads up when the debris has cleared? Is there anything in the tea leaves that give us enough confidence to act?
Uncertainty is mostly what I see. I have done enough personal prognostication to realize that I never would have been much of an oracle. From ever decreasing interest rates to the boom in the stock market and the robust local home real estate market, I have missed the mark. It makes me wary but gives me hope.
In each of those cases, I have been more conservative than was warranted. Inflation and interest rates have not risen. Despite an economy that dropped into the toilet, the stock market rose dramatically. Hundreds of new subsidized apartment units did not deter home ownership. Maybe it’s me!
I learned back in my military career the impact of uncertainty. I have always thought myself a dynamic person. However, lack of clarity overwhelms that. Rather than bold decisions, I tend to withdraw as the intelligence on a situation blurs. Often, as is true today, there seems much contradictory information. What should happen, doesn’t. What seems a long shot comes to fruition? Traditional indicators fail us. Crackpots seem like sages.
So, into the breach we go. We must move forward. For me, the lesson is that the hail of shot is likely not as bad as I presume. The enemy (all those bad things that keep us up at night) has taken a pounding as well. Worst case scenarios occur, but not with the frequency we fear.
We must have faith. Ultimately, isn’t that what it comes down to? My friend Greg DePriest defined faith as “Taking that which is not, as though it already is.” Living the world you want to create as if it exists today.
Wouldn’t we have more confidence to take action if we believed that the economy would recover? Wouldn’t we plan for a brighter future if we believed that the Pandemic will be tamed? Do we really think the world will implode because of a change of administration? (after all it has happened before, and we are still here).
Those will all occur, perhaps not right away, but surely, they will come to past. It is our job to prepare for that future, to begin laying plans for that place we see ourselves. We each have it within us the capacity for making our lives better. There is a dawn ahead, perhaps shrouded in mist, but there. When the tide turns, are we ready to wade ashore or be swept back out to sea.
Faith is important, but life is a participation sport. It requires effort, a plan of action, a strategy for getting there. Strategy is faith’s handmaiden. Faith without a strategy is just hope…and betting on that is a real crap shoot.