Friday, January 23, 2009

Surviving Mind Bombs

A new year has just begun and I can't remember a time when the news in America was so relentlessly bad. Of course, I am refering to the media blitz of unending scandals, ripoffs, injustices, bickering, crisis, moral degradation and confusion. But I am also refering to the news that so many of my friends and acquaintances are enduring extreme trials including job losses, bankruptcy, health battles and the like. Not even the unprecedented adoring that has been slathered over our new President has been able to fully quell the pessimism, fear and deep concern that is currently coursing through the country.

My family and I have our own struggles and I am learning that the decisions we must make, the conversations we must have and the changes we must embrace will not be easy. In order for us to do our best, we must manage our challenges in an environment of faith and not fear. We must think clearly, talk plainly and act wisely. However, doing so is difficult when so many daily mind bombs are raining down on us and shaking our confience to the core. I am learning that if I am to survive this mental terrorism, I must discipline my thinking in the following ways:

* Stay in the moment. Jesus taught us to ask for "daily bread", or -- as some translate it -- "the bread of today". If I venture beyond today with anxious thinking, I find myself wandering in arid, graceless realms that drain me both quickly and thoroughly of my ability to cope. Today is all I have been given and it is all I am responsible for.

* Believe that I have been prepared. I have a new favorite saying that goes "everything, EVERYTHING that has happened in my life up to today has prepared me for TODAY (not tomorrow, but today)". I really believe that and -- because I do -- it keeps me sane.

* Keep on Sowing. When it comes to what will happen to me tomorrow, there is one thing I can do with confidence. I can sow my "morning and evening" seed (Ecclesiastes 11: 6) today so that God can grow some of it and make it ready for harvesting tomorrow.

That is because the bread of tomorrow will come from the seeds I plant TODAY (and not the morning of the day I want to pick the fruit). So, I make phone calls, work on skills, solve problems, dream dreams, take steps, write stuff, pray stuff, think stuff, and act on stuff that I KNOW will not pay off until later (if it pays off at all). You can see more about this in some of my more recently posted blogs.

* Put myself in Bigger Hands. Again and again, Scripture reminds me that my life is not my own. I have been "bought with a price" and am, therefore to "glorify God with my body, and my spirit, which are God's". When the mind bombs fall, we must make sure we find our shelter from the blasts in the strength of His grip on our lives. I have found that praying the words of Jesus: "Not my will, but Yours be done" can save me from mental collapse when the heat is on. Try it for yourself.

Finally, I readily admit that I cannot survive the random blasts of the raining mind bombs alone. I have a circle of friends and family I readily lean on and who also lean on me. Without them, I have far fewer resources to draw upon after the mind bombs have done their worst.

At our recent ATM (All Together Meeting) for the Vineyard Community Mission Network, someone read Psalm 77 aloud. Fight the mind bombs. Read this Psalm out loud yourself.

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