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.
Scripture refers 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.
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 nourishment from Jesus and responding with a smile… through breakfast.
The Seals call is visualization; 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 of Abba Father:
“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 seamless or perfect…but my mind is held steady, focused on Him.
Chaos does not rule. Fear does not win. Defeat doesn’t mock.
Be encouraged today, friend? 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.
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!
~~This post is adapted from the 40 Day Devotional book Trust Without Borders. ~~