Do you recall Ronald Reagan’s favorite story, about the pony?
Reagan loved the story of little twin boys, with wildly different temperaments. One was an anxious pessimist, the other an exuberant optimist.
Worried that the boys’ personalities were too extreme, their parents took them to a psychiatrist.
The psychiatrist tried to lift the mood of the pessimist by taking him to a room filled with brand-new toys and inviting him to play. But the little boy hung back by the door, afraid to enter. He began to cry, “I’m afraid that if I play with the toys, I’ll break them and get spanked.”
Then the psychiatrist tried to dampen the mood of the too-exuberant brother, and took him to a room, piled floor to ceiling with horse manure. But this boy rushed into the room, climbed to the top of the pile, and began to dig with joy. “There must be a pony in here somewhere!”
This week’s sermon asks us to consider our fundamental temperament, what some call an “emotional set-point.”
Not sure what is your set-point? When we face the unknown, we especially exhibit our basic set-point. Without a clear idea of what’s coming at us, we “fill in the blanks” with that characteristic emotion.
Anxious and withdrawn? Exuberant and confident? Cautious and analytical? Grateful and joyous? The unknown becomes a Rorschach Inkblot Test, upon which we project our emotional set-point.
Needless to say, there is so much that is unknown today – in our world, our nation, our families. To face the Unknown, we desperately need a positive, empowering emotional set-point.
But, can you “re-set” your set-point?
Yes! Find out more this Sunday, when I preach on “The Fear of the Unknown.”