Build in Shock Absorbers to train for standing firm under acutely difficult circumstances.
Physical preparation for possible emergency is good, but not complete. There is another type of preparation that is equally important.
Taking a look at the physical first:
The first order of business when flying is the emergency exit ‘spiel’. The likelihood of needing to know all that information is very slight.
In cycling, professional cyclists are encouraged to master the ‘panic stop’ which trains them how to use the stronger front brake without flying over the handle bars in the event that an instant stop is needed. It is something that requires training and practice to prepare for the unlikely moment.
Working at the school, we are trained to know where the defibrillators are and how to use them. We repeat the exercise over and over again so the response in emergency is automatic to help combat that initial rush of adrenaline that can be extremely difficult to manage.
If we want to be able to survive the initial shock of trauma, mental and spiritual preparedness may also help.
Think of the absolute worst thing that might happen to you. Yes, think about it. Often these worst-case scenarios create undercurrents of fear and fight/flight that we do not even realize are driving our actions.
Now ask yourself what is the first thing you must tell yourself to be able to get through the initial shock of the crisis? In training yourself to think this way, you create a shock absorber that will help you manage the welling of panic that could stop you from being able to think clearly and deal with the initial attack.
Here are examples of what you might say:
- God is still in charge even if this is throwing my life into a tailspin.
- God never puts us in a situation that He will not be with us in it and help us move through it.
- God is here even though I can’t find Him.
Secondly, ask yourself who else needs to be informed? Who will be your first line of help/first aid in the crisis? Do they know this ahead of time? Talk to them. Prepare them as well for that need. Tell them what you would need in the event an emergency arises.
Sound silly? Maybe it sounds as ridiculous as sitting through the flight attendant monologue. But those who have survived in flight emergency landings might tell us otherwise.
Training in righteousness includes preparing for testing, trial, tribulation.
Telling on myself:
- When studying the apostles and their imprisonments, I have imagined myself in prison for a long period of time. What would I need? This led to memorizing hymns that I could then sing in the cold chambers of a forsaken place.
- In struggling through the Stephen account, I have imagined myself in front of an enemy prepared and eager to destroy me. This helps me to not recoil at the darkness of evil that would present in those eyes of hate pleased to devour, so I can look upon with the love of Christ.
- When studying Job, I have considered if the Lord permitted the loss of family, and how in Christ alone, my hope must be found. They are on loan to me and I will enjoy every moment I have with them that God gives me. But they as well as I are on borrowed time. Rather than curse God, I will praise His name.
- When enticed by the entanglements of this world, I train myself to remember that heaven is my home, drawing mental images of that citizenship to combat the lure of earthly traps.
Intentional training and preparation for the trials and tribulations of life continues.
Am I bracing against an unforeseen future? Not, at all. I am simply preparing for the possibilities which allow me to live more freely in the today. These are not things I dwell upon no more than I spend hours and weeks in CPR training. I choose moments of rigorous assessment and preparation and then I move on. I have no idea how well I will do when trial and tribulation come, as it will. But I know that I have prepared with God’s truth and pray that the joy of the Lord will be my strength. My goal is to stand with hupomeno* strength that serves to absorb the initial shock waves of trauma so even in those exceedingly difficult and stretching circumstances, my life still points to Christ and I am able to stand firm in His love and truth.
What about you?
Interested in building in shock absorbers in your walk in this life?
Where might you begin?
*HUPOMENO, Strong’s number 5278: To remain, abide, not recede or flee, to preserve; under misfortunes and trials to hold fast to one’s faith in Christ to endure, bear bravely and calmly.