Consider Your Cordage

It is very regrettable that more often than not, those who prepare for the future are viewed by society as being isolationist, separatists, and downright anti-social. Sure, this can be blamed on the media, propaganda, and perhaps a few loose cannons out there, but it’s also in part because many who give such thinking to the future are labeled “preppers”  and “survivalists” – especially if they fall prey to a fearful “bunker” mindset.

Sometimes these same persons even remove themselves from society at large. I wonder if more people would see the value of advanced preparation if they witnessed more of these persons offering positive contributions to the general welfare of others in their community, state, and nation? Certainly many are providing such benefits to the communities in which they live, but could we do better…?

For our family, getting started with such changes necessitated a change of thinking. We had to first see the value in getting more involved with people. This meant learning to silence a more fearful instinct that at times felt more appropriate.

We’ve had to learn to ignore the knee-jerk, fearful, run-and-hide reactions in favor of a more sound-minded approach. So setting aside fear, we’ve come to some conclusions that we believe would be beneficial to every family in every community.

Like most wisdom we’ve learned, our journey into this understanding began with the words of wisdom found in the Scriptures. If you’re not a person of faith, please don’t stop reading – this is for you too no matter what your belief!

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” – Ecclesiastes 4:12

King Solomon, the attributed author of the above scripture verse, was reputed to be the wisest person to ever live. In his profound wisdom, Solomon understood the simple truth that there is a great advantage to doing things together.

We live during a time when such wisdom appears to be on the decline. Along with what should be common sense – advance preparation for the unexpected – many in our communities have also lost touch with the value that achieving together is better than failing alone.

This wrong thinking can often infiltrate even the most prepared mindset. It’s easy to think of every possible tool, supply, or scenario, and so easily forget this concept. We need one another!

Many Americans pride themselves on rugged individualism. Certainly, it’s good for an individual to be personally prepared and equipped to endure difficult times and challenges. There are times when such individualism is appropriate. However, there are also times when this is not at all appropriate. If I’m lost in the woods, being rugged, prepared and self-reliant is good. I need those to take care of myself. However, if my wife or children were to be lost in the woods with me, I must lay aside my individualism to a degree in order to provide the best possible outcome for them as well. Caring only about myself isn’t going to profit them very much.

Some people prepare, believing themselves is the eternal optimist. This is said by those who have planned for and expect to prevail in future difficult times. Yet despite such optimism, one of the chief challenges – even for the prepared –  is the understanding just how much time, energy, and resources this requires to be effective.

Enter Solomon’s wisdom.

We must be like Solomon (Ecclesiastes 3) and understand that with different seasons in life comes the need to adapt, change, and set aside some of our natural tendencies. Though not without it’s own challenges, we’ve discovered that nearly every part of preparing our persons and possessions for the future is easier and more rewarding when done with other like-minded families or individuals.

Nearly every part of preparing to thrive and survive in the future is far more achievable when endeavored together with trustworthy friends, family, and neighbors.

As Solomon so aptly puts it… “One may be overpowered” – that is, one person and one family can indeed be prepared for the future, but unfortunately, they can also be easily overpowered – by invading threats, a broken well pump, or running out of a crucial commodity. One can never have “enough” materials to negate the need for others.

It’s easy to see the value of being with others in the midst of an emergency, but consider for a moment the value of working with others beforehand –  to prepare for an emergency.  Left to our own person or family, we’ll often experience lack. Lack of finances, time, energy, resources, attitude, or ideas. While more people doesn’t always mean less lack, there’s a better-than-average chance that more people to help will help, not hurt. We lose jobs, get sick, get busy, and lose heart. Sometimes, even getting started in a resiliency strategy can be overwhelming.

How is it then that we can hope to survive in future bleak times? These and many other reasons should cause us to consider the wisdom and benefits of preparing for the future together with others.

In our own experience, we’re finding it quite enriching to engage other like-minded families in our plans to prepare for an uncertain future. This not only holds hope for future benefit but makes life quite a bit more enjoyable today as well!

Every day brings with it new ideas, extra help, and new motivation. Each new challenge is met with access to more resources, knowledge, and information.  It’s a great joy to discover that a friend already owns a needed resource, or is willing to lend a hand with some heavy lifting. Perhaps best of all has been the camaraderie in this often-lonely journey.

Not only are our own plans for the future becoming more solid and well-defined, but each person in our family is becoming personally fortified by the formation of meaningful and enduring relationships – from the youngest to the oldest. There’s a deep sense of satisfaction and strength in working with others. Every passing day we grow more and more confident that we can accomplish what we’ve set out to do.

This is also helpful on many other levels. We’re benefiting from the diversity of personalities, the sharing of ideas, and the value of fellowship. We’re also resting easier with the expectation that we’ll endure future hardships together with others we can count on.

We’re not  “Surv-I-valists”,  but will be gladly labeled “Survival-US-ts” and there a difference!

When hard times come, we’re not likely to be overpowered no matter if those hard times be an enemy, fatigue, tragedy, or even our own attitude. Whatever comes our way, we’ll not be quickly broken. Our defense is stronger!

It’s especially interesting that Solomon notes that a cord of three strands cannot be quickly broken. Many would assume that Solomon is implying three braided or twisted strands. Three individual strands would certainly be stronger than one, however, three braided strands would usually offer even more strength. To do this, there needs to be some involvement or “braiding” of the strands.

For our family, this translates into us spending as much time and energy on these relationships as we do in readiness preparation. We get together, we get to know one another better. We are trusting our lives and future with one another. We invest in our neighbors and get to know the people around us. Why?

Because these relationships – and all our relationships ARE the future. Why would we hope to endure future hardship if not to enjoy the world that we’ll eventually live in?

These relationships are the purpose that we want to endure beyond the any disaster or calamity. We hope for a safe and abundant future for ourselves and our loved ones on the other side of whatever calamity could come upon us.

We’ve often discovered that getting others involved with us is hard at times. You know, a braided rope is usually stronger than twisted rope for one reason – friction. Braiding usually creates the most friction between each strand in a rope and this friction is what adds additional strength. So it can be in relationships!

Honestly, the more we get to know others,  the more we encounter relational “friction”. Like many, sometimes this causes us to not desire the help of others. Ahhhhh… we must remember Solomon’s advice. Friction between people is a natural and normal part of functioning as a team. So we don’t lose heart. We solidify in our minds these truths. We resolve to embrace friction because it’s our differences, not our similarities that give us strength. After all, if two of us are the same, one of us is unnecessary. We continue to find that it’s not the people that are just like us that provide the best opportunity for working together, but those we didn’t expect. Remember this as you venture onward.

We hope you’ll take some time to consider what kind of “cord” you’re building. Can it endure hardship, or is it overcome easily? Consider the wise words of Solomon… Consider your cordage! Braid some more strands to your cord and better prepare yourself and your family for what lies ahead. Share your knowledge with others and invite them to your plans and preparations. In doing so, you’ll find strength, encouragement, hope and the best possible chance of surviving the future.

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