Thriving in These Scary Days

27 Aug

I (Dawn) have received several emails lately talking about fears of a recession. My favorite ones had funny one-liners about the bad economy like these:

  • I got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.
  • CEOs are now playing miniature golf.
  • Parents in Beverly Hills fired their nannies and learned their children’s names.
  • Motel Six won’t leave the light on anymore.
  • Fed Ex is expected to join its competitor UPS to become Fed Up.
  • McDonald’s is now selling the “1/4 Ouncer.”
  • If the bank returns your check marked “Insufficient Funds,” you need to call them ans if they meant yo or them!

S.O.S.With the stock market going up and down in recent weeks, the temptation is to get really, re-e-e-ally scared for the future. Many Americans are in “SOS” mode, sending out a distress call.

I read one article that described “How to Survive a Breakdown of the Social Order” that sounded like we were all going back to the dark ages!  The article said to stay calm, but to consider storing two weeks to three months of items and build a “small community” of support (not a bad idea, actually) ~ but the point is, many people are considering ways to “survive” if society breaks down. I used to laugh at this kind of thing until I saw the rioting in London!

Add to that news that 24,000 of the Pentagon’s files were hacked, and reports that a woman tried to  smuggle a “dummy bombs onto a plane (reportedly to see how good our security really is)….

Add to that the startling statistics about the home, and especially that “women are falling away from religion” …

I start saying, “Yikes! What’s going on, Lord?”

It’s easy to get into “survival” mode instead of considering how we can thrive in these tough days.

I wanted to share some practical ideas for “thriving” ~

  • Finances: Get smart and think positively about budgeting. A smart spending plan is one way to ease stress. Whether you go with Ron Blue or Dave Ramsey or another godly financial planner, get some help and make some wise financial choices. Work on getting rid of debt, saving, giving, etc. [Also, our friend Ellie Kay has some great books: The Little Book of Big Savings, 1/2 Price Living, A Mom’s Guide to Family Finances, and others, all available at her bookstore.]
  • Food: Eat smart. Eat well. Cut grocery bills by eliminating junk and fast food, and eating and storing high quality food. Use coupons. Maybe share bulk foods with others to split the cost. Maybe plant a garden.
  • Health: As new stresses come, we need to be as healthy as possible to deal with them. This means sleep, exercise, wise food choices, nutrient supplements, etc. Dr. Carrie Carter’s book, Thrive! A woman’s Guide to a Healthy Lifestyle, has some great ideas.
  • Creativity: Some things, you can do without. Other things, you can get creative, and make homemade substitutions for expensive items. Make gifts, if possible. Give necessities in pretty packaging.
  • Downsize with Purpose: Downsizing doesn’t have to be a “downer.” Think positively ~ how can simplifying your life give you more time and energy? How can the stuff you “release” be a blessing to others, and maybe meet essential needs?

I’m sure there are many other things you can do to cope with these scary days.

My friend Judy Scharfenberg wrote a book called Secure Families in a Shaky World.  In the introduction, she wrote about the joy we can have as God helps us cope with the changes in life. “You see, the Lord is the Author of joy,” she said. “He made a way so we would not despair. He knows that even in the midst of turmoil and sorrow, we can experience great joy.

“If Jesus lives in our hearts, then He helps us cope. He helps us see life differently, and He helps us take our eyes off ourselves and focus on the important things. He gives us a plan that’s worth following. Sometimes the things that burden us are weights God has placed in our lives so we won’t miss Him.”  (1)

You see, beyond the practical things to do that are listed above, it is crucial that our focus is right.

The biblical admonition is, “Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily Focus in Crisisand accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people), Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16, Amplified Bible).

Did you get that? Look carefully… Live purposefully…  Be wise…  Buy up opportunities.

We can do that by focusing on our priorities in the midst of any crisis:

  • The Relationship: First things first (Matthew 6:33). If intimacy with God isn’t a priority, it should be. The disciplines of life (prayer, Bible study, memorization/meditation, worship, etc.) will help with that intimacy; but a daily recounting of who you are in Christ and what you have because of the gospel will motivate you to keep the first things in your life first! Seek God and His kingdom before anything else.
  • Other Relationships: No matter what happens, the people in your life deserve more of your time than the stuff you own. People are eternal; they should count for a lot in your daily agenda. Practice all the “one another” scriptures to build your relationships and bring glory to God through them.
  • Values: What is important to you? What do you believe that can guide your life? What is your worldview? What is your value system? What is eternal? Are you building lives, or just a career? Are you sharing your faith? How are you leaving a legacy? These are all questions to answer and take action on ~ things that contribute to thriving, not just surviving, regardless of what is going on in the world. Ground your mind and heart in the Word of God (Romans 12:2) to experience the wisdom, peace, and joy God gives (Colossians 1:10-12).

We all have the same 24 hours.  If we focus and are proactive and intentional, we will always have enough time to do God’s will for us each day. We can thrive in these scary days, not merely survive.

(1) Judy Scharfenberg, Secure Families in a Shaky World (….), p. 2

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2 Responses to “Thriving in These Scary Days”

  1. Judy Scharfenberg August 27, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    Great advice, as always Dawn. I love the way you get to the heart of the matter and give people practical advice.

    • Dawn Wilson August 28, 2011 at 2:45 am #

      Thank you, Judy. Coming from you, that is special indeed.

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