Sunday, September 07, 2008

Living in the Cone of Uncertainty

On a call that I have with a group of executive women in my industry each week, this week a number of us who live in Florida were talking about being residents of hurricane alley. We regularly monitor what is called the "cone of uncertainty" as weather scientists and pundits alike attempt to predict where a hurricane will make landfall.

Ike is the latest of the named storms that Floridians are monitoring. When they first started talking about Ike, Tampa where I live, was smack dab in the center of the cone of uncertainty. This morning, the forecast for Tampa is now clear as a bell.

One of my friends on the call mentioned that life was often like living in the cone of uncertainty. That created a mental picture that over the weekend I haven't been able to shake. I joked about writing a book with that title, but my faith blog is a much better place for this tome.

Uncertainty comes from having external events (or other people) that influence control over your situation. It can come from within as well, when you haven't yet made a decision.

In the hurricane vernacular, the external events are high pressure and low pressure systems, water temperature, winds and the like. And even your own decision to get everything valuable out of the first floor of your home, board up or evacuate.

In life, we have the economy that is swirling around us, often feeling like it is bearing Category 4 winds and metaphorically fearing 10-20 foot storm surge that could result from being laid off, not getting that next consulting contract or not getting funding for a business. For some it is not being able to pay a mortgage, or make payroll or just not having money to make ends meet and having to severely trim or cut your lifestyle.

We also have other people's actions and decisions that impact most everything that we do. This starts as high as with the government and the impact that the coming presidential election will have on our lives and goes down as finitely as the decisions and actions of those that we live and work with, or those that we are responsible for.

For those few days where a hurricane is actually bearing down on a particular area, the responsible thing to do, particularly as it is looking highly likely (e.g. the center of the cone), is to prepare "Plan B". Or you could sit and cower in fear I suppose, doing nothing more than watching it come closer and closer and it getting darker and windier outside.

In those same storms of life, we have the same choice. We can let worry overtake us and give voice to the fact that "I'll never have the money to pay my taxes in April, or I know our current savings will run out in October", or we can make sure that we realize that we aren't in control of the winds and that, while it is prudent to have a Plan B, the best things is to take your worries to the feet of the one that created the winds.

Here are the lyrics from one of my favorite worship songs by Chris Tomlin, called "You do all things well". Listen to it by clicking on the link.

Mountain Maker
Ocean Tamer
Glimpses of You
Burn in my eyes
The worship of heaven
Fills up the skies

You made it all
Said, "let there be"
And there was
All that we see

The sound of Your voice
The works of Your hands
You do all things well
You do all things well
You do all things well

Star creator
Wind breather
The strokes of Your beauty
Brushed through the clouds
Light from the heavens
Touching the ground

Imagination runs wild
And breathes the breath of life
Across the fields
Across the miles

My favorite line of that song is the one about the power of words. "He said let there be, and it was". If indeed we are created in His image, our words have power as well. I want to harness his creative word in my life and for his "imagination" to run wild on my situation, breathing the breath of life into our companies and into our finances!

I take refuge today not in a storm shelter, but in the shadow of the wings of the Almighty God.

If you find yourself living in a cone of uncertainty, take heart. Psalm 57 was written by King David when he fled from Saul into a cave, being fairly certain that he was going to be destroyed.

Psalm 57, verse 1
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me!
For my soul trusts in You;
And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge,
Until these calamities have passed by.

Whatever calamities, percieved or real are facing you, and whatever the velocity of the winds are that are whipping at you, as you work to create your own "Plan B", try also calling on him as your refuge.

Although some days I get caught up in fear as to the effects of my own personal cone of uncertainty, today I woke up knowing that the shadow I see is not the great storm approaching, but the soft underside of the wings of the Almighty.

And I breathe the same sigh of relief as seeing the cone for Ike now far west of Tampa, while at the same time praying for those in His path that they will call on the same power to keep them safe.

Chicke Fitzgerald

No comments: