Discouragement is the enemy. For many, the task of preparedness may seem daunting. Readying yourself, your family, or your community for the dangers to come is a large task. The financial burden can be frightening, especially given the state of the economy. The sheer volume of the labor can overwhelm. The suffering of being deprived of certain comforts and play things might turn one’s resolve to jelly. Deciding what to stock up on and how much to store can defeat the most eager among us. All these factors and more discourage many from preparing.
Discouragement describes a condition in which our enthusiasm for a task fades and our energy drops off. But while I’m striving for a definition, it might be helpful to break the word down into its constituent parts. The prefix, “dis” is a negative. It means the loss or lack of something. The root of the word is, of course, “courage”. So a discouraged man or woman is a person who has misplaced their courage. Does that sound harsh? I assure you, I’m speaking to myself here too. The task before us as we seek to be wise preparers requires great courage. No mistake. This is no business for cowards.
One Bite at a Time
All right, that’s easy enough to say. What do we do about it? How do we overcome the sucking sound of our confidence and energy draining away? How can you and I recharge our courage and press through to the goal of readying ourselves and our loved ones for whatever may come?
The first answer is to attack the laundry list of to-dos with the same resolve as the man who was required to eat an elephant. “How will you do it?” his neighbors asked. “One bite at a time,” was his reply. If you want to do great things, you must do them patiently. You must string together a long series of small, responsible actions. As the wise saying goes, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” What is called for is doing the right thing over and over again for many days. Small choices made day after day produce habits. Habits repeated become dispositions. Dispositions faithfully carried out turn into character. In this way, discouragement can be overcome by replacing it with the habits of courageous preparedness.
Can’t See the Trees for the Forest
Invariably, the man who quits in the face of a big job is the man who allowed himself to become distracted from the task right in front of him. Look at the forest long enough, and you’ll never settle onto which tree to cut first. Every job has a big picture. Every job has a series of tasks. You have to look at the big picture to know what you’re aiming, at but then look to the first thing first, and then the second, and so on.
I don’t like heights. When I was a freshman in high school, I was required to jump off the high dive. I was terrified. My coach yelled at me, “Don’t look down. Just jump!” It’s like that. Don’t spend all your focus on the job as a whole. Plan your steps and give your attention to the most important step immediately in front of you— “one bite at a time.”
This gradual approach to achieving great tasks must also be applied in guiding your husband or wife or children toward readiness. We cannot prepare well unless we prepare together. Helping each other survive will take the same methodical, patient, one step at a time perseverance that you must practice personally.
Doing is Better than Worrying
Another important lesson in persuading ourselves and others to join in the work of preparation is simple and powerful. Here it is: “Doing is its own best argument.” What I mean is this: You can whip yourself up for action, and then you can cajole and coerce your family to get started growing your own food. You can do that ad infinitum. Or better, you can just go out and plant a garden. Doing takes far less energy than worrying. And doing will have a marvelous effect upon the willingness of your family to participate. Lead by actions, not merely by words.
So here’s the big picture: If you are facing discouragement as you strive to prepare for the coming failure of the grid, you need to plan to succeed. You need to look at the whole task long enough to decide what’s most important. Then get right down to organizing the work—knock off the “to-do’s” one at a time.
Get Started Right Away
None of us know when disaster might strike. That’s part of what produces our fear and doubt. “What if I don’t have time to get everything together?” Doubtless it would be better if we were all fully prepared today. But if you stand immobilized by uncertainty, you’ll be less prepared than the man or woman who got right down to preparing, even if he or she only accomplished a few things before disaster fell.
One final reminder: Remember that our control of the future is limited at best. All your planning and working to survive is dependent on many things that are not yours to determine. Am I trying to add to your discouragement? Never! As a Christian, I know that my gracious God and Father is overruling and directing all things for my good. I can’t prepare for every eventuality. I don’t have to. What I can do and what I must do is prepare wisely and patiently, trusting myself to His goodness. Far from creating inaction, faith in Christ and in the love of God is a bulwark against discouragement and a great motive to persistent right action. Believe and work hard.
The task before all of us is great. The threat of imminent danger is profound. But steady, tortoise-like persistence will win this race. Eat that elephant. Pull out your knife and fork. Open wide and dig in, one bite at a time.
©2012 Off the Grid News