Putting Flesh on Faith {Stress Inoculation}

 

 

 

The light is peaking under the shades when I finally throw the covers back and switch on the light.

 

 

 

I groan when I see the time: 6:39am. So much for a quiet time this morning. I regret turning the alarm off.

I know it is a matter of mere moments before the children are up.

“Lord,” I pray. “I know You are with me. I know You will help me. Thank You for breath, for legs that work, for these children that will bustle out any second. Thank You for what You’re doing in my life.”

I do not feel strong. Dread is creeping into my heart. Jackson is out of town and the demands of the day fall squarely, solely, to me. Pondering what lies ahead of me today makes me shake in my boots.

So I become a spiritual Navy Seal.

Seals are trained for success through something called “stress inoculation.” It happens by being repeatedly placed in high stress situations that trigger a panic response. Yes, that sounds familiar. But I missed the anouncement that I’m moving out of basic spiritual training and entering special forces.

Seal training involves keeping the emotional center of the brain in check. When pushed to the breaking point, the trainee learns to over-ride the panic response.

It isn’t something that comes naturally. It isn’t a “zap” that happens while they sleep one night. It happens through repeated training.

Scriptures refer to the Christian as a warrior, a soldier in training. We are to know how to effectively deal with pressure, difficulty, and high stress situations. We are to put on the full armor and apply our training and meet each challenge standing~ i.e. successfully.

I go to battle.

“Lord, we will make it through breakfast,” I say as I pull on pants. Goal setting in small segments is one of the four techniques Seals use to train their brain. To combat mental chaos and suppress the negative emotions that fear evokes, Seals are pushed to the limits over and over… and asked to employ tools to deal with the realities those limits evoke.

Successful training means they exit ready for practically any mission.

I practice the four tips too.

I visualize how I will master the morning until breakfast. In my 10 second visualization~ for there is no time for lengthy ones~ I see myself drawing from Jesus and responding with a smile… through breakfast.

The Bible calls it renewing the mind.

Two children exit their rooms as I exit mine. The game is on.

This is where the theory of faith is put into practice.

 

Stress inoculation doesn’t happen in a classroom.

We can attend Bible studies and conferences and hang out with friends and drink coffee, but truth is, stress inoculation happens when you’re submerged under the water.

And this morning, I’m submerged. Little Bit decides she does not want to get up. She refuses to come to breakfast. I leave her in bed and go take care of the other children. As I pour cereal into bowls, Little Bit begins screaming in the next room.

Two children start bickering. I run out of milk. Youngest child complains. The screaming next door escalates. Chaos starts to creep into my mind and I fight it by speaking Scripture aloud. I sing the first hymn that comes to mind.

At breakfast, I ask oldest son to read from Jesus Calling For Kids. The words apply, even to big kids:

 

Supernatural

“I trust in Your love.” Psalm 13:5

When it seems like absolutely everything is going wrong- trust Me. When your life feels more and more out of control- thank Me.

That’s not what usually pops into your mind, is it? When you’ve missed the bus, lost your best friend, and the dog really did eat your homework- your first response is to complain.

Put on the brakes! Don’t do the “natural” thing- do what is beyond natural. Do what is supernatural. Trusting and being thankful in the middle of a really bad day are supernatural responses, and they unlock My supernatural Power in your life.

I’ll see you through whatever mess you’re in and fill you up with My peace, which is beyond your understanding.”

 

I gather the children around~ all except for the one still screaming~ and we sit on the living room floor. We’ve made it through breakfast. “Okay, Lord, let’s just make it to snack time.”

Aloud, I say to the children, “Let’s practice trusting and thanking. What are some things about God that we can trust?”

The answers pop out: His faithfulness. His power. His love. His kindness.

Then we sing. I pull out one of my personal heavy hitters, the Jeremy Camp CD. We sing “I will trust.”

There are interruptions. A thrown toy smacks a sibling in the head. A child has to be disciplined for whining when given instruction. It is not pretty or or seamless or perfect…but my mind is held steady, focused on Him.

Chaos does not rule. Fear does not win. Defeat doesn’t mock.

Not today.

 

The rest of the story…

After our morning devotions, Little Bit and I worked through her choices. We set goals for her too…not to miss (refuse) any meals and to use her words to communicate instead of screaming. We review them frequently and talk about what throws her off track.

This is the working out of our faith, visualizing what walking in trust looks like….then doing it.

God wants our theology to become our methodology. Methodology means we step out of the classroom, out from the church pew, out from the peaceful quiet of our morning time…and we enter the real, gritty, scary mess of the world.

After all, Faith is proved with fire. Just as a Seal comes out of training with a useful, powerful set of skills and tools, so we come out of repeated fires with something more precious than gold. 

Be encouraged today, friend? Passing the “one man competency test” in special forces training is important! We need you on the team! Whatever you are facing today, you can do it! Below are some helps to encourage today?

 

 

Resources:

The tips in this 8 minute video have greatly helped me in combatting mental fear, dread, and chaos. The 4 strategies include visualization and it is how the Navy Seals train their brains, a practical “how-to” renew the mind as commanded in Romans 12:2.

{The beginning of this film refers to evolution. Evolution is a lie and as such, cannot explain why our brains function the way they do. The strategies on this film, however,  are valid and helpful, even if the evolutionsists theories are incorrect.}

http://youtu.be/PWKb2oI-hPs

I also highly recommend the daily devotional Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions For Kids.  It has blessed our entire family. Carried Me: The Worship Project remains a favorite music CD after many years of use.

Need a Family Activity to engage little hands and calm nerves? Try making and playing the Quiet Hearts Board Game.

Subscribe to Arabah Joy for updates and receive these free Bible Study Sheets.

Click here to subscribe

{Linking up today with Sarah Mae’s brand new link-up “What I Know Now.”}

 

Photo Credit

 

Similar Posts

10 Comments

  1. The timing for this post was perfect for my circumstances today. I have been applying these principles this past week in some form or another, but to know I am not alone is strengthening! Satan’s tactic of fear in our minds is so debilitating! But because of the POWER we have available through Jesus Christ and by applying His principles for life, we can throw off the disability and function inspite of stress. I am living proof of that today and I am so grateful to be a recipient of Jesus’ power in my life.

  2. Thank you for the link and video. Have you found these techniques helpful in combatting anger?
    I bought your Energy Explosion book and the strategies in it have helped me a lot.

    Thank you,

    Kariann

    1. Kariann, yes, these have helped me with anger too! I have found that the majority of my anger is triggered by fear. (The other of it is triggered by selfishness, not wanting to submit to what God is placing in front of me.) So when I address the fear directly, rather than the anger per se, it becomes a non-issue. Sometimes we fight the wrong enemy! We need to get at the root.

      {Thanks for the encouraging comment about EE!}

  3. This post really spoke to me. I have been struggling so much lately. I’ve been reading so much about “focusing on Jesus” during my day, but honestly, I can’t find Him. My days are so chaotic, the kids are driving me insane and I have that feeling, you know when you’re wading in the ocean and a wave crashes over you and you lose your footing and you don’t know which way is “up”! It’s like, I’d get up if I knew which way “up” was. I’d “focus on Jesus” if I knew where to look. And I’m a Christian. I pray. Every day. I spend time in the Word every day. I have Scripture around the house, but right now I feel terribly ungrounded.

    1. Hugs Kristen! Oh, you are in my prayers this morning!! I have been there so many times and the temptation is to go there~ everyday! What has helped me is finding a personal way to stay grounded. For me, it is sometimes just one little phrase, or even a single word. And then when the chaos starts, just say that one thing over and over, sort of as an invitation for the Lord to come and do His thing in my heart. I think if you can identify something very small that sparks your spirit and give hope, recognize exactly what it is and hold onto it fiercely and use it. That is your toe hold. Don’t know if that helps or not, but it works for me. I am praying for you and pray the Lord allows you to feel hugs today!

  4. Awesome post my friend!!! We still have so much work with our little ones about using their words instead of screaming or shutting down….yes…trusting us and trusting the Lord are huge topics around here. Satan loves to make us feel fearful and I lived in fear for awhile (as you know;) and my little ones live in fear as well…sometimes my fear trickles down….

    But I find myself here in the states….49 years old….my husband is without a job….and yet, I have an unexplainable peace:) I’m so thankful for your words of wisdom. He is the Almighty and heal can heal any wound and equip us in so many ways…love you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.