Fear or Faith?
We are certainly going through unprecedented times right now. We have not seen a broad-scale health pandemic since the Spanish Flu in 1918. We have not seen the stock market drop so significantly since at least 2008, maybe since 1997, and perhaps back to 1929, depending on what measures you use and how you look at it. And how you look at these things is what matters. Are you driven by fear? Or are you driven by faith?
Many have probably heard the acronym F.E.A.R. – False Evidence Appearing Real. I think I first heard this when following Zig Ziglar many years ago, although I don’t think Zig originated the acronym. It means allowing the thing we hear and see to become the things we believe, even when it isn’t so.
In our current state of affairs, we have the novel coronavirus (aka the Wuhan virus, or COVID-19) driving panic and a change in our daily lives. People are panic buying food supplies and toilet paper (really?) in fear of being quarantined for two weeks. People are panic selling their stocks and mutual funds because some financial pundits, often the guys who stand to make the most money in your selling frenzy, are saying that the sky is falling. When, in fact, U.S. companies are fundamentally sound. Is it possible these companies will suffer some supply chain disruption? Yes. Is it likely they are so poorly managed that they won’t survive and recover? No, not for the most part. Sure, there are a few companies that will be hit hard, but most will be fine in the long run.
(Side note – I loathe the investment advisor companies out there that publicly make claims about how the stock market is going to do, and try to create movement in the market, to profit by all of our now biased decisions. I think investment advisors should not be allowed to make a public statement for their benefit and profit.)
So how do you battle all this fear being created by the mainstream media, the “thought leaders” and “experts,” the media pundits and talking heads? FAITH!
You must have faith. Faith in your Creator. Faith in yourself. Faith in other people. Faith in the American ideal.
As a man of faith, a follower of Jesus, my greatest faith comes from my Creator, the Lord God Almighty. You can skip this paragraph if that is not who you are, but for me, this is the foundation for the rest of my faith. God said if we believe in Him if we love Him above all if we are obedient to Him, He will not leave us or forsake us, and He promises us an abundant life that will bring him glory.
Because of my faith in God, I can have confidence in myself to live out my purpose, to love and serve others. I have faith that being obedient and living a life of service, there will be eternal reward which I cannot even imagine. I have faith that I can do things I would never have thought possible. I have faith that my mind can create a future that goes well beyond the issues of today. I have faith that overcomes the fear others are trying to create in my life.
I also have faith in my fellow human beings, that somewhere deep in their hearts and souls they desire good for everyone. I have faith that all of us working together can overcome evil and greed and selfishness.
Finally, I have faith in the American ideal. One founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs, on justice and mercy, on the value of all human lives, on the greater good. This is not a political faith or a secular faith; it is a spiritual faith, faith in the human spirit “endowed by our Creator.”
As I approach the current crisis, I lean on my faith.
I believe we will get past the COVID-19 pandemic and find therapeutic remedies. I believe we will also get past the current flu season, which is impacting more people and taking more lives than the coronavirus at this time (few people seem to be talking about this). We all need to be very mindful of the current situation and stop the hysteria. We need to stop the panic buying so that everyone can be supplied with food and sanitary products, not just a few hoarders. Our supply systems are fine; we are not going to run out of things.
I believe the stock market will recover. But you must stop the panic selling of stocks and mutual funds. Our companies are, for the most part, fundamentally sound. You only lose money when you sell, not because your valuations are currently down. As my friend Dave Ramsey says, “the only people who get hurt on a roller coaster are the ones that jump off in the middle.” Stay the course. Have faith in the companies and mutual funds you have invested in. Don’t fuel the fear.
How about you? How strong is your faith? How will it impact your approach to these trying times? What will you do to grow your faith and use it to guide and serve others?
Have faith, and lead on!