We interrupt this series in order to lighten up a bit! Frankly, all of this “I have to tell them about this nasty stuff NOW!” has been a bit depressing. With all that I believe in terms of “panic-free preparedness” it’s been a bit challenging to write about so much turmoil. So, if it’s all right with you, I’m going to take a little detour today and go back to the beginning—the first Principle of Preparedness. After all, I think that with all of the time-sensitive wake-up call kind of things I’ve been discussing lately, revisiting each of the Principles of Preparedness couldn’t be more important.
Typically when I answer the stale question of “what do you do?” and mention preparedness, I usually get this blank stare and then the polite response; something like “Oh. Yeah (nodding their head in an effort to lend to the façade of being unfazed by such an odd answer, I’m sure). I have a bunch of wheat and powdered milk.” In some instances they will share with me that they are the appointed “emergency preparedness resource person” for their church. I know in my heart that they are trying to relate to what I’ve shared with them. But the truth is, when I hear food positioned as a synonym for preparedness, or the words “emergency preparedness” or even “food storage”, it’s almost as if someone has just called my perfect newborn baby “homely”. I guess I feel a bit protective of the real world of preparedness and feel it’s so important to clarify for people what preparedness really entails. Truth be told, now that I think about it, I probably respond the same way when I hear someone smackin’ and poppin’ their chewing gum. *grin* As such, I worry that phrases such as “Get your ammo! You’re going to need it!”, or “The world is going to Hell in a hand basket!” is an actual dilution of the true meaning of preparedness. My concern is that such statements are distractions from the peace, confidence and independence that can truly be obtained when a state of preparedness is pursued. I feel that such phrases, while technically correct, are off-putting to a world that I believe is so important to our personal growth and readiness for the challenges that are to come. So why is Spiritual Preparedness the FIRST principle and let’s also clarify what exactly Spiritual Preparedness is. I’ll hit the latter aspect first. Spiritual Preparedness isn’t about practicing a specific religion. For the record, I don’t believe that that practicing a particular religion is about being spiritual either. Spiritual Preparedness has to do with a person’s CORE VALUE and BELIEF system. This HAS to be the first principle in order of priority because without it, no other principle of preparedness will have any lasting efficacy on a person’s life. Because no matter how physically prepared a person is with know-how, supplies, strategies and tactical maneuvers, there will ALWAYS be a challenge thrown at us that simply cannot be fixed with “things.” Being tied in to one’s core values and beliefs will often be the only thing that can get a person through tough times. I don’t need to provide links of story after story to prove this. If you yourself haven’t had an experience in which the very first thing you thought of in the midst of a crisis was something not tangible and not encompassed by the tangible things of this world, you at least know someone who has. In every moment of heightened adrenalin there is a millisecond of choice based on a persons beliefs and values—to the extent that such values and beliefs are entrenched within them. Spiritual Preparedness is about shoring up the strength and foundation of those beliefs and values. There will come a time in a crisis in which everything you KNOW, that you can touch, feel, hear, see, and smell will tell you one thing, but your core will tell you something contrary. It is my belief that a person’s level of Spiritual Preparedness SHOULD color how we approach every other aspect of preparedness. In many instances, one has to go to their belief system to answer some of the most basic questions. “Do I feel it necessary to protect my life with use of force?” “What will I do if someone comes to my door and is in need of my help, of which I have so little?” “Is it right to eliminate all debt or should I still give attention to my credit score?” “What would I be willing to do if my 11 year old son needed insulin and we ran out?” Imagine the sense of calm confidence a person might need to handle taking care of a stab wound, or worse. Etc. Etc. My unwavering belief is that no question will be answered and no scenario prepared for completely without first calling upon one’s own Spiritual Preparedness and that’s exactly why it must be the FIRST priority. It’s first because it determines—good or bad—how every other Principle of Preparedness is implemented in our lives; the other 9 Principles will inevitably be colored by our level of Spiritual Preparedness. Whether it’s our belief in the words of scriptures, the assurances given us by a loving guardian, or something at our core which speaks to us even through the silence—all of these fundamentals have the ability to guide us clearly and confidently through uncertain and even blind times. Last weekend I was scared out of my wits by a semi-truck that decided to encroach on my tight freeway lane amidst construction work. While my physical and mental responses to this affront were natural, it was obvious that the first thing I thought of in the somewhat panicked moment was, “oh great, I’m going to die before I get to make Scott that steak dinner I promised him”—except that it took me only a fraction of a moment to think that. Then, a tiny moment later, when the ding-bat driver figured out what he was doing and got back into his lane, I let out a sigh of relief and naturally found myself thanking my Heavenly Father for getting me through yet another “close call.” Let’s recap that…. Crisis is threatened; my first thought is the possibility of missing my Prince Charming and my next thought was about a relationship that no one can see with the mortal eye but which I firmly believe exists. None of this has anything to do with wheat, powdered milk, ammo, or 72 hour kits! In fact, it was only after that moment that I started trying to learn better strategies as to how I could have handled such a scenario better (moving on to the mental and subsequent principles of preparedness). An interesting circumstance on live television tonight played into this point as the former champion boxer, Sugar Ray Leonard, tonight said that his strategy of winning a match focused on spiritual and then mental preparation. (If you don’t know, he’ll be one of the "Dancing with the Stars" celebrity dancers this season—the boy better have sufficient moves to do go the distance on the show). I think this meshes with my point perfectly. No matter how long he jumped rope, punched the bag, or planned his strategies, his center and confidence still comes from his core beliefs. Being a bit too open perhaps, I’ll tell you; when the film crew of TLC’s “Extreme Couponing” pulled up outside my house last weekend, I looked out the window and practically screamed at my husband—not to make sure that the dogs were put away, not to be sure that he had on the right outfit, etc. Rather my emotionally heightened, last minute instruction was “come here for a minute so we can reconnect, calm down, refresh our resolve and reconfirm what our priorities are during this filming experience.” I’m sure what we wanted from all of this didn’t mirror what TLC wanted. I’m sure that they were thinking about how the cloudy weather would impact their “house shot” or perhaps that my house appeared deceptively small compared to the photos they were sent of some of our supplies. And certainly I wouldn’t call this a “crisis” in by the world’s definition. But to me, it was one more opportunity to be independent, not needing to lean on the approval and assurances of others—whether it was the producer or the cameraman—and simply go forth knowing “Ok. I’ve got this. Let the chips fall where they may.” It is my firm belief that if we nurture our spiritual level of preparedness and position it as a priority in our life, then we will be able to better choose; to determine between truth and error, hype or hope, and so forth. After all, even after the House of Israel was led away from the enslaving hands of the Egyptians with huge sums of supplies and wealth—everything they could possibly need or want to survive in the wilderness—when they came upon the shore of the Red Sea with an angry Egyptian army bearing down on them, you can bet that they could have cared less about their belongings, their future plans for marriage, and the pleasant conversation in which they may have been engaged. Rather all they saw during that scenario was a sense of hopelessness, tragedy, and regret. Their wheat, water, clothes, and that stubborn mule suddenly didn’t mean anything in comparison to their present plight. It was only because of the spiritual preparedness of their leader that they were able to avert a slaughter or bondage once again. We are obviously in for a rough ride in the coming months, Folks. One minute we’re trying to decide between unleaded or premium and the next we’re just having to determine how to pay for the unleaded! That’s no surprise to most of our readers. But whether I share some information or a mainstream news media source does, it will not be viewed correctly if it’s not balanced with our spiritual selves. So perhaps the next time you get frustrated at your inability to communicate with your loved ones about the importance of taking self-reliance more seriously, perhaps you should attempt to build that dialogue on something with more substance; something which can better motivate and educate a person accurately that might move them towards a more self-reliant life—core values and beliefs—and then grow from there. As for our own preparedness, may I suggest that you seriously dedicate regular time—daily—to encourage, nurture, and solidify your values and beliefs? Be courageous in your convictions. Study and research in accordance to those beliefs. Take time amid the clutter of distractions and duties to shore up that which is more important and which determines your success. If something catches your attention, take some quiet time to listen to your gut and determine quietly whether or not it has any merit in your life. If it does, and if you take care of this top priority of preparedness, I know that you can always rely on yourself to make the best of decisions to carry you towards your goal of pure independence, safety, and security—come what may. This is exactly what I mean when I say “peace in preparedness.”
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