R—Restoration, E—Exercise, A—Attitude, D–Diet
Dr. Tim Elmore says we should not practice social distancing. Practice physical distancing and connect socially. More than semantics.
Self-awareness is an essential skill, coping asset and tool for EQ. We are news junkies, always concerned that we not miss a news flash. I became aware this morning that I needed to walk away to distance myself from the constant barrage of numbers, percentages and on-the-spot hospital images. My body, emotions, mental speculations were in the hyper range.
We—you and me—can’t fix this crisis by putting on our white lab coats. The coats with patches on the elbows. Not even when we pull up our armed chairs to listen closely. That is not good news for those of us who are fixers and repairers or really, really want to be.
Know when to take a walk. Remove yourself from the news—give yourself a break.
Singer Gary McSpadden died a few days ago. Obviously, he has been on my mind, but was not when yesterday his voice came into my mind singing, “Forgiven! I repeat! I’m forgiven!” Where did that come from? Later in the day someone posted McSpadden singing, “I Am Loved.” The second verse begins with the proclamation, “Forgiven, I’m forgiven….”
What was that about? I wasn’t feeling guilty or thinking about Gary. It wasn’t the words that crashed into my consciousness. It was his projection. He was singing a proclamation. “I repeat!!!”
Because we can’t “fix it” doesn’t mean we are powerless or inevitable victims. The feeling of inevitable is a threat that could keep us locked in spiritually and emotionally. Jesus said,
“You will receive power after the Holy Spirit comes upon you to be witnesses unto me…” (Acts 1:8).
A habit of walking away from reasons to hang your head makes sense. Find time and place to be refilled with the Holy Spirit. Proclaim out loud and on purpose, “I am more than a conqueror through Christ who loves us (Romans 8:37. Also check out 8:15).
You’d expect almost any preacher to say that. I’m talking explicitly and aggressively distancing yourself from negative input and the constant suggestion that you are in the crosshairs.
I Repeat. Take a walk.
This is an emphatic, aggressive response to the constant negative. Why stand on the track waiting for a train?
EXERCISE YOUR BODY—MUSCLES, JOINTS, LUNGS, NERVES
You know this drill. The point is to move. If you don’t, you’ll lock up. Stretching is as necessary to exercising as getting your heart rate up and for some of us more so. A sign we saw in Omaha:
“Take care of your body. If you don’t, where you gonna live?”
Being out of your routine causes your nerves and emotions to be super sensitive. If you are prone to depression, a walk, mowing the lawn or vacuuming the garage will help your mind, mood and more.
EXERCISE YOUR RIGHTS AND VOICE
Being cautious not to attribute motivation—I don’t really know what drives some people to say and do what they do. There seems to be a lot of decisions made and words spoken to take advantage of the crisis to gain political leverage. Lot of that going around. More toxic and noxious than the virus. A side bar opinion:
We usually speak out of our expertise and/or experience. We want physicians to give us their best medical opinions on which they are focused. Giving them benefit of doubt, there can be tunnel-visioning. Most leaders are severely focused on helping their people survive the virus. In that commitment, The Bill of Rights, in some cases, is being ignored or trampled. I don’t know why one governor said he wasn’t even thinking about the Bill of Rights when he did what he did. My personal assumptions have an idea, but whatever, it is our right and responsibility to be reminders that more than vaccine is crucial in all this. To survive the pandemic, but to lose our sacred rights doesn’t bode well.
I’m not sure I want the “tracers” to have all my personal information. I’m not sure we can feel safe with tracers identifying our habits and locations. That sounds like Adventures of Big Brother That erosion of rights is excused by perps making fun of our protests. Ridiculing our suggestions that we have enemies and/or our questioning is linked to idiotic conspiracies—are just parts of the revolution manual. Given certain beginning assumptions, some of the conspiracy theories can make sense. (?)
Jesus’ words to our nation: “To gain the world, but lose your soul—what have you really gained?” Freedom is easy to lose. Ben Franklin was adamant about that. Vigilance and patriotic involvement is required. Among others, Os Guinness, Stephen Mansfield and Eric Metaxes fleshed that out in their writings. A couple of paragraphs from Guinness’ A Free People’s Suicide:
“If the founders were correct, contemporary America’s pursuit of political leadership without character, economic enterprise without ethics and trust, scientific progress without human values, freedom without virtue and negative freedom without positive freedom can end only in disaster.”
“Amazingly few pay serious attention to notions such as sustainable freedom, the ecology and conservation of freedom—or to the idea that freedom itself requires a living system of immunity if it is to stay healthy. This carelessness may prove lethal.” (From pages 34 & 35)
This Guinness book was copyrighted in 2012. Nothing Guinness says speaks to the past few years more than,
“It is a mark of healthy societies in times of change and crisis, they throw up leaders worthy of the time. At this point, (2012) the United States urgently needs such a leader to lead and the nation to follow.”
The Founding Fathers knew the success or failure of the American Experiment depended upon self-management. The historians I have read say the Founders could agree on the risk because they observed the habit among The People: They were self-managers and self-reliant.
I’m still in the opinion side bar. When I hear, “We are never going back to the old normal. Nothing is ever going to be the same,” I want to know the specifics of how the left and the right see the “new.” I also want to discern how God sees the new.
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” Isaiah 43:19.
Given that, we speak in a positive, calm and respectful tone. Somebody or some group is going to interpret the times and opportunity to exploit (positively or negatively) the crisis to shape their vision and commitment to reshape our nation. How will you voice your preference and opinion? I repeat! The various political interests have a plan. Exercise your voice and Constitutional rights.
EXERCISE YOUR FAITH
Faith can be defined as confidence in God. To trust in Jesus for your salvation is expressed faith. To make Jesus the center of decisions and the source of hope is faith. Faith is mostly a verb word. Faith can be spiritual energy. When we read, “Without faith it is impossible to please God,” or “Your faith has made you whole,” a church brand is not being described. I pray that my friends and family will possess and display…
Plan, Peace, Perspective, Proportion, Productivity
Faith is a spiritual muscle that is strengthened by testing and expressed in traits like those. The process is to find what we understand to be God’s desire and join our spiritual energy to God’s specific plan. James one says if we lack wisdom about God’s plan or our difficulty, just ask God and He will give it. “Lord, what should I know about this? What do you want me to do to join you in this?” Faith describes our active participation.
On my way to exercise, I read a new letter from our Compassion person in Ethiopia. Kassahun is twenty and in a college-level school. He wrote, “Dear Carole. How are you my dear mother?” He signed off with, “Your child Kassahun.” In the letter, he outlined his school experiences and then he asked, “Where did you start learning? Where did you finish?” He was asking location and subjects. The questions imply the huge limitations if we stop learning. He also asked, “What kind of books do you like from tales, spiritual, scientific, novel and etc?” He may really be our kid. Just from a different father and mother. The words, “…my dear mother,” and “Your child…” reverberate in my soul.
I took a podcast to the treadmill. It sounds like the voice of God in this Spring 2020. It is called, “The Boring Decadence of our Society.” (Art of Manliness Podcast #604. Author Ross Douthat also did two programs with Eric Metaxes.) Douthat includes, but broadens, the common definition of decadence. After exercising and those two encounters, faith looks more essential and focused to me.
I came back to my desk with a fresh definition of the focused faith we are to exercise.
Kassahun needs our faith in him. God calls us to express confidence in His providential plans for His creation. We also need a fresh grasp of faith as described in Romans four and Hebrews six. “Things hoped for but not yet seen physically.” That faith will ignite our vision and authority to speak and do what we’ve been called to be and do.
Dr. Leonard Sweet said last week that we need a Rapture theology that “sends us into the world and not to escape the world that God so loves.” Those who are able to do that will influence the post Covid-19 pandemic world.
Exercising our faith will motivate us to think through our praying. Within my arm’s reach, are 50 (+ or -) books on prayer. I still don’t understand prayer. Why am I to ask God to do something that He already knows and wants to do? I want to know the mechanics. How is God attentive to six billion people? I can’t even hear my wife if the TV is loud. Does God personally hear and respond or does He delegate? I have not allowed any of those questions to restrict my praying, but I’m often disappointed in my intercessory production. There’s got to be more.
Princeton educated, author, TV host, speaker, Evangelical and acquaintance of many high visibility scholars and entertainers, Eric Metaxes said a few days ago, “If you have a prayer language, this is a good time to use it.”
We are social distanced from Kassahun by several thousand miles. We can’t physically pray with him or look into his eyes and understand the empty spots or thin areas that need to be filled, girded up or released through deliverance. I keep asking Jesus our Intercessor what He is praying for Kassahun so I can agree and join Him.
Holy Spirit—who knows real needs and real solutions—can pray through us. If you do not have a “prayer language,” or don’t even want one, (!!) Holy Spirit is able to reveal what to pray and how to pray God’s plan, peace, perspective and proportion into someone’s soul—their thoughts, emotions, will. We must listen with pen in hand. Ask, listen, record, pray in faith.
Country act, The Forrester Sisters, sang a song in the 80’s that captured my attention. There is a line that says, “He’s already there.” The Collingsworth Family has updated the message.
That nudges me into another prayer form. We can ask, “Lord, since You are also in the future, what do you see that I should know about? Where will I fit with the gifts You’ve given me? How do I prepare? How do I pray for family and friends?”
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done” (Philippians 4:6).
Exercising faith in uncharted 2020 will lead us to reassess prayer. It will also stimulate us to inventory and think, feel and act out of gratitude. “Pray with thanksgiving”
There seems to be an agreement among many of the prophets, preachers, teachers that I read and listen to that Passover 2020 was unique and important to our destiny. My spirit felt attuned, although I don’t know why.
Prophet/Seer James Goll says that an epoch—an era—ended with the beginning of Passover. With the beginning of Pentecost 2020, a new epoch/era will begin. I haven’t been given a glimpse, but I am praying and listening.
It’s a cliché, but true. God wasn’t surprised by COVID-19, nor did it catch Him napping. He didn’t cause it, neither will He abandon us. We cannot be too thankful as we pursue ways to participate with God during these days.
The end goal for all my words is that you and I will survive this world changing crisis. If the normal we were used to never returns, my vision is that we will be equipped and empowered to recognize and fill our spot while we influence what the new will be.
©2020 D. Dean Benton
“Beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.”