Our dinner conversation a couple evenings ago was particularly tense and snippy. After a couple minutes of this I recognized the problem and called a ‘Time-Out!’
As a family, we are quite in tune with the events of our time and the freedoms that are being taken on a near daily basis. We have a son currently serving in the military, both my wife and I are veterans, our parents on both sides served, etc. Basically, the US Constitution is ingrained in us and we recognize the power grab that is happening. We are additionally steeped in Scripture and eschatology giving us an understanding of the times from a Biblical (especially, Revelation 13) perspective. So, understandably, tension can run high and spills over into STRESS!!
As soon as I recognized what was happening, I threw up the big ‘Time Out’ sign. It was time to expose the enemy!
I began with my normal rant about Ranger School… I went through the US Army Ranger School about a 1000 years ago… it seems. But, the main point I wanted to make is that artificial stress is created in that course through food and sleep deprivation while grading participants individually and as a class on various parameters. The goal is to weed out the week, often by causing them to quit or do something stupid. The best defense against this is to ‘know the game,’ take a deep breath and cling to your Ranger Buddy when you are having a really bad moment.
After this, I reminded them that what is happening around us is designed to create STRESS! By inducing stress, the powers that be can then steer you individually or us corporately to give up freedoms and seek safety and security. They want us to give up and hand them the keys!
We can see evidence for what I am explaining about increased stress in the elevated rates of suicide, anxiety disorders, abuse, etc. These will tear at the fabric of families, communities and society at large.
Our best defense is very similar to surviving Ranger School with a couple twists… Here are ways to DE-stress before you find your self in DISTRESS.
- Take a deep breath!
- Recognize that FEAR is a LIE from the ENEMY! Fear is NOT your friend and will not help in any way.
- Recognize and remember, narrow is the way, and God wins!
- REFOCUS! Do not focus on the circumstances or your emotions, refocus on the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and HIS promises! This is a walk of faith that will be extreme at points. He may be allowing this test much like Israel was tested in the wilderness. Read 1 Corinthians 10:1-11!!!
- Remember, emotions will ALWAYS fail you! They are unpredictable and yo-yo up and down, even in the face of unchanging FACTS! Do not rely on your emotions. Refocus on facts, particularly the immutable sovereignty of Yehovah!!
- Once you are focused on HIM, then do what you can do. I.e., take the steps you can take for you and your family. Note: Do not act out of fear!! Things you can do: Worship, share truth as widely as you can, plant a garden, get in physical/mental/spiritual shape, etc… See some of my previous posts for details in how to do that.
- Take time to sit and have personal conversation with a brother or sister and share your concerns, then pray. The purpose is to share burdens. Simply talking through helps to lance the fear and expose the enemy!
I do think a MAJOR, MAJOR thing that we need to be doing is WORSHIP. Serious worship. This does several very powerful things! First, it focuses us on the King. Second, it brings glory to our King while notifying the dark forces around you that you are not for sale and will not be shaken/moved! This battle is primarily in the heavenlies, make no mistake! Third, worship will eliminate stress!
Bottling the stress will lead to distress. Best to DE-stress. If you do not, you will be tight as a rubber band and more stress will only make you pop! The enemy wants you stressed. God desires your shalom, even in the midst of the storm!!