Until today, I knew only one thing about the stock market: If it plummets, so do my plans to visit the moon.
(Sidebar) See, Matt and I think it would be awesome if, for our 50th wedding anniversary, we could book a condo on the moon.
If for some reason, the condo’s not a possibility, then we’ll settle for a trip into space on one of the privately owned spaceships they’re building these days. By 2052 this really shouldn’t be a problem.
Unless of course, the stock market is more of a bear than a bull. See, our retirement is all tied up in stocks and such, and this brings me to the knowledge I’ve gained today about the market.
The phrase “bulls and bears” has always confused me. I thought it was some sort of math thing which immediately throws me into a tizzy. But, today, curiosity overwhelmed me. I gave in and Googled it. And guess what. It has nothing, NOTHING, to do with math.
According to Investopedia, there are a few theories about how the terms came into existence. Here’s one of them:
First of all, let’s remember that bears are sluggish and bulls spirited and burly… The terms “bear” and “bull” are thought to derive from the way in which each animal attacks its opponents. That is, a bull will thrust its horns up into the air, while a bear will swipe down. These actions were then related metaphorically to the movement of a market: if the trend was up, it was considered a bull market; if the trend was down, it was a bear market.
Cool, huh. Now, I actually laughed a bit when I read it the first time. I mean, seriously. If a bull or bear attacks you, it doesn’t really matter HOW they do it. You’re still a goner. But, it’s just a metaphor right? So, I thought I’d steal it. And since I pin only one hope on the stock market–the moon, people, the moon–it got me thinking about Christianity.
Funny, huh? I read “bull” and “bear” and I think church. Hmmm…
But, seriously. Parallels can be drawn. Check this one out:
Some of us attack life like a bull, spirited and burly. These people focus all their energy on lifting up, up, up. I like these people! They make me tired sometimes, but they encourage me. They lift me up! And then there are those of us who use every bit of our strength to shove others down. These people are miserable so they make everyone else miserable. I’m not really a fan of this population.
There’s a bit of a problem with this metaphor. Do you see it? Yup. Me too.
The original “bulls and bears” metaphor could relate to a single stock, but often these terms are used to describe the market as a whole (e.g., “It’s a bull market.”).
Like the market, people have the potential to be both a bull and a bear. We all spend time as each of these metaphoric beasts. It’s not a fun thing to admit about ourselves, but it’s true.
Some of the time, we’ve got our priorities in order. We’re preferring others above ourselves. We’re lifting our neighbors up instead of tearing them down. Some of the time, we remember the reason for our existence and we do our Creator proud.
And then there are those other times. You know, when we’re more concerned about ourselves and our own problems than the well being of those around us. We have things to say and we’re going to say them, regardless of the fallout. Regardless of the damage we’re bound to cause. Maybe we’re being stretched and it’s our way of relieving the tension. Maybe we’ve held it together for so long that we feel entitled to a breakdown. Or maybe we’ve simply taken our eyes off the prize.
Maybe we’ve forgotten that it’s not all about us.
Maybe we’re a grumpy old bear because Christ is no longer in our cross hairs. (Imagine that! A bear with a gun!) In any case, we’ve lost sight of Him. Which means, we’re no longer aiming for Him. No longer trying to emulate Him.
It’s no wonder we rage at others. It’s no surprise we’re jittery and unsettled. We’re focusing on the trials, on the tribulations. On the very things that should be tugging our attention back to Christ. Back to the One who is saving us, who has saved us, and who will ever be our Savior.
So, while my use of this metaphor is intrinsically flawed, I’ll never hear the words “bull” or “bear” without wondering just which one I’m being. Like the stock market, am I trending up or am I trending down. Am I being sluggish or spirited?
Are my eyes on Christ? Or are they on the world around me?
If I’m being honest, my eyes drift from the prize quite often. It’s so easy to forget our purpose, so easy to hurt others in the midst of our pain. But I come with encouragement today. We can turn our eyes back to Christ at any time. When I find myself trending down, the chorus of this old song inspires me. I hope it does the same for you.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
–Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, by Helen H. Lemmel.