We are getting e-mails and it has been all over the news - "What do we do? They are rationing rice!!"
I haven't decided if I should just laugh or start tearing my hair out. First everyone panicked over the price of gas... then it was the price of apples, then milk and now rice. What I find so amusing about the whole thing is a lot of those same people who are in a panic are still using their gas to go to the movies, to go on vacations, to travel for sports activities, to go shopping and to go most any place they want to go.
So many people complain about the price of gas when it costs $4.00 a gallon but don't bat an eye when going to Starbucks to pay $4.00 for one cup (8 oz. or 1/8 of a gallon) of coffee that they could have made at home for pennies. Despite all the fuss, most Americans have not substantially changed their lives because of gas prices.
Then there is another whole group who complain about how they "aren't like other people". They don't spend a penny on anything and they still have nothing and, because their lot in life is so miserable, they have a right to be afraid of what is happening in the world and in their lives. They have a "What about me?" attitude all of the time.
The Bible says that God does not give us the spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind. Even if you aren't a Christian, I want you to really think about those words because they apply to human nature in general.
We are living in a world that is crazed with fear and because of that we have lost power over ourselves, our lives and our circumstances. Because of that fear we have very little love for anyone. When you love someone or something your main thoughts are focused on that person or thing that you love. What do you think about all the time? --Your spouse, your children, joyful things and happy things or do you focus on yourself and on how these terrible prices are going to affect you?
Do you know how powerless you become when you give way to fear? When you're constantly afraid, you can't function properly at work which leads to not getting a pay raise or worse yet, getting fired. You can't get your mind off of that which you fear and it filters into every area of your life.
You become short and angry with your family when they try to talk to you, ask you something or want to spend time with you because they are interrupting your focus on your fear. "How am I going to get some rice (or gas, or milk or apples)", "If there's a shortage of rice now, I'm sure that is going to lead to a shortage on ALL food", "If there is a shortage of food, that will mean I can't go on vacation this summer or buy that new car."
You say but that's silly and doesn't even make sense. No it doesn't and that is where the sound mind comes in. Where there is fear there is total loss of rational reasoning or what I call "common sense".
When someone isn't of sound mind (not using common sense), they think there is going to be a shortage on rice and they panic. They tell everyone they know. The word spreads and then everyone panics and runs out to hoard rice. All that fear has a snowball effect which then creates a shortage of rice where there wasn't one.
If people had not given over to fear and had been of sound mind (using common sense) they would have thought, "No big deal, we'll have pasta instead or just do without rice for now." They would go about their daily business without giving it another thought and focus on more important things like how to be a kinder more loving spouse or parent.
When people aren't consumed with fear they can think more rationally, which helps them make wiser and more practical decisions. When fear is gone they have peace and joy and patience and most of all they are more loving.
Think about it. How much of your life is ruled by fear? If you filter back through most negative emotions, most of them begin with fear of something. Do you buy things you can't afford because you are afraid of what people will think of you? Do you spend more on gifts for your friends and your children's friends because you fear that people won't love you?
Take a serious look at the things you obsess about. Do you obsess about them because of some kind of fear? I don't know how to tactfully and gently say this but lately I have seen quiet (and sometimes loud) fear in a new thing called "becoming green and saving the environment". This is really just another form of fear. When people become obsessed and overcome, it is usually out of fear and not out of rational thinking.
I'm not saying you shouldn't try to save the environment if you think that it needs saving. I'm simply saying don't let things that stem from fear of something control your life in such a way that you lose all of your life's joy and your capacity for reasonable and rational thinking.
Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the editors of http://www.LivingOnADime.com/. As a single mother of two, Jill Cooper started her own home business without any capital and paid off $35,000 debt in 5 years on $1,000 a month income. Tawra and her husband paid off $20,000 debt in 5 years on $22,000 a year income. They have helped thousands of people all over the world to save money and get out of debt.