Zapping Problems

Monday, August 10, 2009

One day last week I wanted to relax and watch a movie at my home. I do this so rarely that I couldn’t remember how to operate the DVD player, so I asked my son for directions. All day I looked forward to a quiet evening at home watching a “chick flick.” That night I loaded the DVD and clicked the buttons I thought would start the movie. When that didn’t work, I clicked some more buttons and some more and some more. The DVD player came on, but the TV turned off. Before long, not only was there no movie on the screen, there was nothing on the screen at all. I switched clickers and clicked some more. Click. Click. Click. Nothing. I moved close to the screen. Then I moved back. I twisted and turned that clicker trying desperately to see something, anything on that screen. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Eventually, I lost my focus. I couldn’t remember which clicker worked which device, nor could I tell how to turn any device on or off. What had seemed like such a simple idea had ended in frustration. I had worked myself into a dither blaming the TV, Comcast, the DVD player, 2 clickers, and my son for not properly supplying me with explicit instructions so that I could enjoy one silly little mindless movie! My energy was zapped! I eventually calmed myself down, turned off the power supply to all the media, and enjoyed my quiet evening reading a book.

This incident reminds me of the way we sometimes handle our problems when they begin to spiral out of control. Have you noticed how personal problems can zap your energy leaving you drained and discouraged? We can easily give in to that discouragement and lose our focus. We often forget to “click” into the real power source. The great inspirational minister and one of my favorite authors, Norman Vincent Peale, provided relevant advice for handling our personal problems in his book, The Power of Positive Thinking. He said to we have the power to solve our problems if we seek divine guidance, think of God as our partner, actualize a plan, and practice faith attitudes.

1. Divine Guidance – Take a few minutes of quiet time alone or with a trusted friend. Sit quietly together in an attitude of fellowship and prayer. Then pray fervently about the problem you are facing.

2. Think of God as a partner - One of the names for Jesus is Immanuel, meaning “God with us.” Believe that God is very real in your life and practice talking matters over with him. Believe that he hears and considers your problem. Assume that he impresses on you the necessary insights to your problems. Know that the solutions will be without error and that God will guide you in all actions.

3. Actualize a plan – You have sought Divine Guidance. You have talked out your problems with your partner and listened for his direction. Now it’s time to make a plan. Write down the actions you will take to solve your problem. Peale describes a business executive who calls on the “emergency powers of the human brain” in times of chaos. Peale says that we all have extra powers that are utilized in emergencies. In ordinary day-to-day living these powers are dormant, but when we face a crisis, we tap into these extraordinary powers.

4. Practice faith attitudes – Peale said he read the Bible for many years before he really ever understood a reality about faith. He said the Bible tells us that if we have faith – really have it – we can overcome all of our difficulties, “meet every situation, rise above every defeat, and solve all of the perplexing problems” of our lives. “Faith, even as a grain of mustard seed,” will solve your problems. Jesus used the image of a mustard seed to teach his disciples to count on him.

"Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, 'Why could we not cast it out?' He said to them, 'Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:19-20

Finally, let’s do as Peale suggests and zap our personal problems before they zap us!


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