The Secret Cat Strategy for Scoring Big WinsBy
The mice had the advantage of hiding under the star jasmine ground cover. She could hear them scurrying and occasionally see a rustle of leaves. But they were well hidden.
She could have listened and then wildly pounced into the bushes hoping to get lucky. That’s a low percentage tactic. That would be the strategy of our other three worthless cats.
No she’s a country cat. She appeared on our back deck one day with her mother and three siblings as strays. They weren’t feral but certainly had learned to survive. So now those instincts were in play.
She crouched low. Freezing in place then slowly crawling forward. Pausing to listen. Inching forward again. Her head turning ever so slightly. Her ears turning back and forth tuning in the faint rustling sounds of the mice.
Just waiting. Sitting patiently. Immovable. Close enough to pounce. Far enough to not be seen or sensed. All time had stopped.
A couple of times she tensed. She had caught a glimpse of her prey. Then when it raced back under cover she would relax again. Back to her waiting posture. She could sit there in that position for a long time. She simply had to wait them out. They had cover. She had time.
About a half hour later I glanced out to see if she was still hunting. I caught a glimpse of her proudly trotting up to our front porch with her catch. She’d been victorious again. Breakfast was served.
And the thought ran through my mind isn’t that really a key to success in so many areas. Just having the patience to wait long enough for our plans to fully materialize. That’s the kind of patience we need in investing, building a career or starting a business. Patience to see it come to fruition.
So many of us, myself included, want it all now.
We have great goals. We want personal and financial success. We launch and soon encounter difficulties. The way to the top isn’t nearly as easy as we thought. And at some point we begin to think, “Maybe this path isn’t for me. Maybe I was meant to do something different.”
Those questions are ok as long as we’re honest about what we really want. But often it’s an excuse to give up.
So we set off in a new investment, career or business and then we hit the difficulties again. It’s at this point so many finally give up all together. They think, “Well others are just more talented and smarter than I am. They’re luckier.” And we settle for the mediocre giving up our dreams of greatness.
There’s a passage in James that has helped me stay patient and persevere successfully in those times.
Let’s look at the steps he gives us.
First he says, “When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” (James 1:2 NLT)
Seems odd. Yet to me that says, when I have big goals they’re going to encounter big resistance. So if I’m struggling against barriers it may mean I’m trying to do something extraordinary. And that brings its own joy. The excitement of doing something above and beyond the norm. If I focus on the dream and the joy of success instead of the difficulties it keeps me encouraged to persevere.
Second, he says, “For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:3-4 NLT)
These setbacks and challenges also give me opportunity to grow. Not only do I have the opportunity to accomplish great things but I have the opportunity to become a greater person. Challenges are about both. So as I anticipate that God is still in control and providing for me my faith grows and that unleashes even more of God’s blessings. I toughen up and become more resilient. Until I discover the promise of being complete and needing nothing more.
Third, he says, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you.” (James 1:5 NLT)
In those times, when I feel at a loss for what to do next, I spend even more time in prayer asking God for his directions. I pray very specifically. I ask directly for the wisdom I need. The next step. Clarity. And I sense his answers. Doors open. Thoughts come to me so I can walk a little further. And it’s those steps that finally lead to accomplishing the goals.
And fourth, he says, “But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone.” (James 1:6 NLT)
As I alluded to above, when I ask I expect an answer. I look for God to act. I anticipate his guidance. I listen for his answers. I assume his love and care. That puts me in tune with him and my own intuition. It opens me up to new directions. And that anticipation is what finally brings the rewards through the stressful times.
I’ve found this to help in the challenges I’ve faced. It’s never failed. I only fail in following it sometimes.
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Patience and fortitude conquer all things.”
I’m learning this. What about you?
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