Reject, React, or Enact

You have probably heard the saying, “We have met the enemy, and he is us!” It is actually a parody of William Henry Harrison’s quote after his victory in the Battle of Lake Erie, “We have met the enemy, and they are ours.” Cartoonist Walt Kelly applied the quote to his comic character Pogo, and as it turns out, the parody is more well-known than the original quote. 

Today we might be able to apply it to our own situation.  After weeks of isolation, the quarantine policy is being extended for another month or so, depending on where you live.  Though our efforts have been successful in slowing down the spread of the Covid-19 virus, it continues to spread because many Americans have not followed the recommended guidelines.  The enemy is us, in our inability to fully isolate.

Fortunately, despite the continued spread and climbing numbers, we have evidently been successful in slowing it down, enabling health institutions to better handle the number of cases.  We now know more about it, have seen some positive developments in treatment, and in the end, more of us are likely to beat this thing. 

But it has also shaken us to our roots.  Having more down-time, people across our country have thought about their own mortality, and what would happen should they not survive this pandemic.  Now, our mortality seems closer at hand.   Is the life we have led the one we want people to remember? 

The church has long valued retreats — structured seminars, away from usual distractions, to reflect and refocus on matters of faith. Now we are all in retreat and we have opportunity to reflect on our accomplishments and determine a path for the remainder of our lives. Have we been faithful to God?  Are we ministering as Christ would have us?  Can we do more? This applies to us individually as well as in our ministry roles.

We can choose how we respond.  We can reject the need for change and determine that we have done all we can.  Secondly, we can react to our situation with a temporary “fix”, and in time return to “business as usual”.

The third option is to enact true change.  Our time right now can be used to determine the legacy we will leave and change how we live in the future.  There is so much we can do now to become the people we have always wanted to be. 

With this new-found time, look at relationships and assets. As a steward of the gifts God has given, this is a legacy changing moment. Use this time wisely, and you and your ministry will be blessed.

Used by permission. ©Gwendolyn Clemmons, 2020, Irvine, CA.

Originally posted Apr 14, 2020


How are you responding to your “new life of distancing” in the Covid-19 world?

Are you “rejecting,” in some phase of denial?

Are you “reacting,” grappling with controlling parts of your chaos?

Or, are you “enacting ,” by seeking to embrace it; re-create a new, better future?

Several decades ago there was an allegory book that came out for leaders and managers (for everyone) that addressed the issue of radical change entitled, “Who Moved My Cheese?” If you find yourself in the ” rejecting” or “reacting” place, I would encourage get the book or downloading it; it’s a very quick read. The way people (we) react to change and the principles in the book of how people do, or do not adapt, is being lived out on a global scale today. 

Welcome to our new tomorrow, let’s embrace it!

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