Skip to main content

Which wolf will win?

As I've written about before, we've been trying something a bit different this Lent, and that's to encourage a fast from negativity.


Last Sunday, my assistant Pastor Mary did a fantastic job following up, by encouraging us to "focus less on our problems and more on God's answers" in her sermon.

It's not too late to begin a negativity fast. There are still 21 days between this Sunday and Palm Sunday, and almost a full month between now and Easter Sunday.

Just the right amount of time, psychologists say, to break old habits and take on new ones.

One thing this Lent has taught me is that fasting from negativity is not easy. Especially if you've had a difficult week.

And so it's important to remember our response-ability as human beings.

Response-ability means that while we cannot necessarily control other people or circumstances, we can control our response. We have, as human beings, response-ability: an ability to choose to respond in a variety of ways to any given circumstance.

In that spirit, and as a sneak preview of my sermon this Sunday, I want to share one of my favorite stories:

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life.

"A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy. It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves:

"One is evil-he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, false pride, superiority, and ego.

"The other wolf is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.

"This same terrible fight is going on inside you. And inside every person."

The grandson thought about it, and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied,

"The one you feed."

Which wolf will you feed today? This week? This Lent?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

If there's a will, there's a way.

For Lent, I was thinking of doing the typical fasts: fast from Facebook and take up reading, fast from petty vices like overindulging in sweets and alcohol and take on moderation, yada yada yada.
But I'm re-thinking that this year.
What I'm fasting from this Lent is discouragement. That means cutting back on what is so often the source of discouragement, which is a tendency to gorge on, or dwell on, bad news.
(Let me be clear: that does not mean giving up news or otherwise burying my head in the sand: it means staying informed while finding ways not to get pulled into a downward spiral of feelings of numbness and helplessness; it means giving up unproductive feelings like hopelessness and resignation and taking on visible behaviors like giving encouragement and taking action.)
It means making visible -- here, on my blog, and even on Facebook -- the good.
Because the problem is -- to paraphrase the community organizer Rich Harwood -- a lot of times we see "good news stories…

Fasting from Discouragement, Making Visible the Good

So for Lent, I was thinking of doing the typical fasts: fast from Facebook and take up reading, fast from petty vices like overindulging in sweets and alcohol and take on moderation, yada yada yada.

But I'm re-thinking that.
Now one of the things I'm thinking about fasting from during Lent is discouragement. That means cutting back on what is so often the source of discouragement, which is a tendency to gorge on, or dwell on, bad news.
That would mean taking on encouragement: to make visible -- even on Facebook -- the good.
Because the problem is -- to paraphrase the community organizer Rich Harwood -- a lot of times we see "good news stories" as being quaint -- they are tossed in at the end of the news as an inspiring story, or put in the style section. But stories of good things happening -- people coming together to do things, is not a touchy-feely, feel-good story, but something affecting real change.
So for starters: I'm inspired by the leadership example of…