With Christmas nearing and another year coming to a close, I thought I'd share a small but powerful piece of wisdom and reflection we could all use right about now.
The reason for this season is celebration and joy, so in that spirit, I hope you find this message uplifting and inspiring.
Let's face it. Patriots like us have heard enough bad news this year. Continue reading for a new perspective that will keep you going in your preparedness journey - all with a smile on your face.
POSITIVE PREPAREDNESS IN A WORLD OF NEGATIVITY
As Americans, we've had quite a year - with plenty of bad news to go around. Listing them here would be antithetical to today's message, and counterproductive.
I'm not going to recount this year's bad news for a reason. There's a nasty negative stereotype about folks who practice preparedness. Doomsday. The sky is falling. Sound familiar?
What motivates you to prepare?
Well, unfortunately, most of the emergency preparedness industry thinks that's the best way to motivate people to prepare. And a lot of the time, fear works. But it's not nearly as powerful and sustainable as a thoroughly more positive approach to preparedness. Fear only motivates you temporarily.
But first, let me acknowledge that this approach is not one that includes rose-colored glasses. We must not ignore the threats and dangers that exist in the world, because we cannot change them. No, we must respect them and act on them. But it's our perspective on this world we live in that we can change.
Let's dive a little deeper into what that positive perspective looks like.
START WITH AWARENESS...
Like I mentioned earlier, we can't block out the possibility that something bad could happen. The key is to be aware, without being afraid.
How do we do this? Well it starts with taking the news with a grain of salt. You have to look at how your own personal circumstances might be affected by what's going on in the world. For example, if we see that the economy is fragile, we do what we can to protect ourselves if we were to lose our job or our savings.
Being aware should first and foremost be about assessing what we can do. To protect ourselves, our families. To preserve our security and liberty in our own backyards. In essence, the only purpose of "bad news" is to teach us how we can be better.
There's a passage from the Bible that is pertinent here:
"The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty." - Proverbs 22:3
If we are to be prudent we must start with awareness, with an eye for action.
THEN, DO WHAT YOU CAN...
After assessing the dangers and threats we face with calm awareness, it is time to act.
Learn from The Great Depression
I think taking a little look back in history might be insightful here. The Great Depression was one of the most serious crises our nation has ever faced.
Yet, despite devastating economic conditions, a good majority of Americans had no use for despair. They busied themselves with the duties of self-reliance. They were resourceful - making the most of what they had. They grew their own food. They preserved it to sustain themselves. They bartered with their neighbors. It wasn't easy, but they were content because they did what they could to make the best of the situation.
This is precisely the "action-first" mindset that we all need to embrace. Despair distracts us from what is crucial during trying times - the need for action.
We all need to ask ourselves: "What can I do...
These questions barely scratch the surface, but I'm sure asking them will help you determine what you can do. Once you figure that out, act swiftly - do them.
Doing what you can should feel energizing and empowering. I'm sure that many of you will find (or have found) yourselves doing more than you ever believed possible. You'll be more prepared for emergencies. You'll be that much closer to a completely self-reliant lifestyle. Step two of this process is always ongoing; we should be in a constant state of improvement. Yet, that doesn't change how satisfying this action truly is.
Two more quotes from Proverbs that again illustrate the power of action I'd like to share:
"The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down." -Proverbs 21:20
"Those who work their land will have abundant food but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty." -Proverbs 28:19
So, busy yourself with working the land and storing up choice food - both literally and proverbially-speaking.
There's one final thing that is absolutely essential to this positive approach to preparedness. It's the key to the perspective we've been building up to this point.
...AND LEAVE THE REST TO GOD
After assessing our world and then taking action, there is one key to making all of our hard work rewarding.
Act - then leave the rest to God
It really comes down to asking ourselves a simple question: "Why do we do what we do?" In other words, why do we work so hard to prepare and become self-reliant?
We do it for safety, security and liberty, yes. Those are tangible goals. But ultimately, we do it for peace of mind, feeling fulfilled. The intangible. We all yearn for a connection to the deeper spiritual and philosophical meaning of life.
I've chosen God to represent that meaning for me, but it works no matter what you believe.
After all of our hard work, we know that the world is still unpredictable. We've done everything we can, so it is important to take a step back, breathe, and leave the rest to God.
I think this attitude is captured most succinctly by the "Serenity Prayer" written by Reinhold Niebuhr in the early 1930s and popularized by the 12-step programs that adopted it:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
I can't say it any better. We must work daily to do what we can to make a better world for ourselves. But, we must accept the things we cannot change in order to find peace.
Without this positive perspective, we are no better than the negative stereotypes the media portrays of "doomsday preppers."
It is our responsibility as patriots to show America there is a better way. To them we say: we shall do what we can and be at peace with ourselves. We encourage all to join us in doing the same.
Have a great weekend. Stay aware, do what you can and leave the rest to God the Christmas season and beyond, friends!
Read last week's Survival Scout: THE GODMOTHER OF THANKSGIVING