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HERd Management: Faith over fear

Melissa Hart for Progressive Dairy Published on 11 June 2020

The dairy industry is no stranger to struggle. If you’re in this business for any length of time, it’s because you were created with the constitution and passion to survive it. Today, your constitution is being stretched and, if you let it, your faith will be strengthened.

But it’s up to you to decide what you see in front of you.

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Everywhere we turn today, this COVID-19 has touched our lives to some degree. And while folks on the farm have been able to continue their work, it’s tenuous at best. These stressful days can wear on your emotions, and I was reminded recently of a reality that may be helpful to keep in mind as we move through the days and weeks ahead.

Fear and faith both paint a picture of the future, but one is black and the other is white.

Fear is cheap, and it robs you of so much. It can sneak in and steal your joy faster than a fresh heifer can swipe off a milker. You could be experiencing a mountaintop moment, and one fear-filled thought can knock you to your knees. Fear can keep you from looking for solutions and has the power to paralyze you from ever taking a step of faith. It can rob you of dreams and decisiveness and overpower any freedom to take risks. I will never forget the moment when I was unknowingly suffocating in fear, and I heard my dad on the other end of the phone say to me, “You can’t hold your breath forever.”

One phone call, one email, one text message can send us into questioning our confidence, our self-worth and if God even cares about us. But one whisper to our Creator can turn our dark existence into light at the end of the tunnel.

I have listened to the dairy economists predict a rough road ahead. We can look at that with fear in our hearts, or we can look at it through a faith-filled lens. Fear is easy; it takes no strength to succumb to it. Wallowing in it will take your ambition and self-esteem and leave you with resentment and excuses.

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I can’t count the number of times recently when I allowed an email or a phone call to fill my mind with fear. I dwelled on it. I wallowed in it. I spent time wondering what my future was going to look like. I threw a lavish pity party for myself and ate plenty of self-destruction cake. It was only when I whispered a prayer of help that I was pulled out of the muck and mire of fear and put my feet on solid ground again.

So what? What are we going to do with an uncertain future and a seemingly dismal market? What exactly are we supposed to do with a farm worth millions and a market that won’t support it? While the world has us by the throat, how is a faith-filled outlook going to help pay the bills?

I’m glad you asked. It’s time to put on your armor. And not just any armor, the armor of God.

The book of Ephesians says your struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the powers of a dark world. That dark world is fear of the unknown and a faith that has fizzled. You need this armor to stand up against the attack that is at your barn door right now. Put on the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness, meaning that good character and truth are going to be your defense. If you have faith in God, you have a shield that will protect you, so hold it up and let it do its job. Praying in the spirit is your sword, and putting on the helmet of salvation will protect your mind.

Now is not the time to shrink back in fear. Now is the time to take every thought captive. Don’t allow nonsense to reign in your heart, but replace the fear with knowledge. Recite these facts in your mind and let them flow out of your mouth so you can hear them loud and clear. God is in charge. God is not surprised. God knows your future, and it’s not to harm you but to give you hope.

When you think about whatever is true, right, pure, lovely, excellent or praiseworthy, you will begin to see peace rule in your heart.

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Don’t be afraid to look at something different than what you envisioned for your future. God has a plan, and it’s better than you could ever ask for or imagine. When He created you, ending up “just OK” is never what he had in mind. So don’t settle. Keep praying, put on the armor, and watch your life unfold into a reality that could never compare to your biggest dream.  end mark

Melissa Hart
  • Melissa Hart

  • Dairy Producer
  • North Adams, Michigan
  • Email Melissa Hart

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