How to Handle Fear and be Stronger for the Experience, by P.G.T.

I am out of my comfort zone. We executed a move and I have to battle fear. I am afraid that we will fail. I am afraid that our plans have been too costly. Our “threes” have been reduced to one – and we all know that one is none. We no longer have three ways to heat, cook or travel. We don’t know the terrain well, nor do we know the roads.  We do not have all of our supplies here with us. And, to top it all off, today I opened a package of spiced almonds only to find they have gone rancid. What of the rest of our stored food that we lugged across country? We do not have our support group. We do not have quite a bit of our savings – moving costs a lot. Wow! I’m scared and discouraged. What if? Did you read the news? Are you watching the world as we know it unravel at a spectacular pace? What to do?

Praise, pray, re-evaluate and trust. That’s what we do. Thank God for where we are and what we do have. Thank God that we are finally in the American Redoubt. We are tough, we are faith filled, and we are not alone. I do not feel any of these things right now – I feel vulnerable, weak and very much alone. More than I ever have in my life, and I have been alone in some mighty places (like a very small village on the Arctic Circle to name one). So, maybe you, too, feel this way. Remember we do not live by feelings, but by faith. Here are ways to move beyond scared.  Be encouraged with me.

First look to God. Not to ask for more, but to –

  1. Praise God! I start at the beginning. Give praise when it does not easily flow. I stand on Matthew 6 – do not worry about these things. In my mind’s eye I see the unbeliever running after all that God will provide like a dog chasing his tail. I do not want to be like that, instead I see myself standing strong through God’s strength. He is the steel in my straight back, the iron in my muscles and the smile on my face.
  2. Believe…in Jesus, in your ability to do all things with the Lord’s strength and in the divine plan of God. Prioritize. First are the things of God…
  3. Have faith that no matter what happens, God is still in control. Psalm 91 promises that if we are in God’s secret place, we are protected. Move from depending on the world into God’s secret place (see Psalm 91). It is called prayer. Resolve to pray. Be determined to pray. Take a hiatus from the news and the concerns of this world and focus on God. There are times when it is prudent to withdraw from the concerns of the world for a bit. God instructed us to be still and hear His voice. Practice being still.

Second, look at the practical –

  1. Plan – dig out your written plan and list of lists and look it over. Check off the items that have been accomplished. Edit, rework and rewrite your plan. Don’t have one? Well, there is no time like the present. Get started today.
  2.  Focus on what needs to be accomplished.  For example, after our move we needed to look around first. Did you eat up as much canned goods as possible as we did? Then make a list and take the opportunity to shop around for the best prices. Except for amazing sales, nothing need be purchased at the moment. Just do the scouting. What are the prices and quantities? While you are out and about, look at the quality of fresh foods and meats. Find out if you need a card to purchase items at the sale prices. (I do not like to be tracked, so I choose to not shop at these stores unless I am willing to pay full price or the store will swipe their card for me. Usually, I just avoid these stores.) What other stores are in the area? A shoe repair shop? Where can fabric and sewing notions be purchases? Where are the gun shops and how extensive are their inventories? What are the locally owned places? Where do the locals shop? How far will you have to drive for bulk shopping, and is it a feasible drive during winter? Get your bearings.
  3. Does your overall plan look overwhelming? Then, put it away and just write a list for this day. Accomplish that list just for today.  I like to categorize my list into different areas of responsibility and commitments. For example, I am responsible for feeding, clothing and nurturing my family. I also run the household budget and pay the bills. I am the family secretary and keeper of the family calendar. I hold the office of chief logistics officer. I need to be in better physical condition. In addition, I am returning to teaching and finishing an advanced degree. We have barely recovered from a couple of disasters. This was not the ideal time to move across the country. However the rapid disintegration of our nation necessitates such a move. Therefore, my list of lists has different categories and under each category is a long-term list of what needs to be done for that particular area. When there is too much to be done, keep your master list out of sight. Work only with what needs to be done for the day or week. In this way, you will be able to concentrate and focus on what most needs to be done. Accomplishments provide motivation to keep going.
  4. Turn off the television, limit computer usage and movie watching . It is too much of an opportunity to waste time and not do what needs to be done right now. Besides, I find the shows on television so depressing.  Reading through Proverbs daily will help keep your perspective. I also like to remember that as in the days of Noah, the time is growing shorter. I do not want to be perceived as a “whacko” and draw unwanted attention to my household, but I also do not want to spend my time eating, drinking and being merry.  As it states in Sirach 4:20, Use your time well; guard yourself from evil, and bring upon yourself no shame.
  5. Turn a bit inward – toward your family. Now is not the time to be knocking on your neighbor’s doors and espousing your preparedness doctrine.  Look for like-minded individuals, but keep to yourself. Your family’s survival may depend on your discretion in the far too near future. If you, like me, left a close-knit group who provided emotional support for your ventures, remember that at some point we all need to learn to be self-sufficient. This may be just the opportunity for such practice. I know I had gotten complacent and thoroughly enjoyed the companionship of those who could see the coming darkness and were standing firmly in their faith.
  6. Improve your skills wherever you are. Now is the time to get better at something. If, like us, you have just moved and are not able to garden, then use the extra time you have wisely. Here are but a few ideas if you are having difficulty thinking of new skills you want to know or have not yet made a list of skills that your family needs to learn.
    1. Ham radio operator
    2. Wilderness first aid
    3. Sign language or lip reading
    4. Learn a foreign language
    5. Morse Code
    6. Practice bartering
    7. Lifeguard skills
    8. Any level of firearms skills above where you are now
    9. Self-defense
    10. Archery and bow hunting
    11. Fishing and preparing fish for eating
    12. Car maintenance
    13. Small engine repair
    14. Learn how to “read” others and practice the body language positions and facial expressions you desire to exhibit
    15. Sewing, knitting and mending
    16. Animal husbandry
    17. Knot tying
    18. A new musical instrument
    19. Cooking,  canning and other food preservation skills
    20. Leather working
    21. Welding
    22. Climbing and bouldering
    23. Any number of skills from JWR’s books and this blog
    24. Purpose to read and take notes on a book from your reading list that you have not had time to pursue…there are plenty of choices on JWR’s bookshelf that are available from the local library or for purchase.
  7. Re-evaluate – Take the time today to look at where your life is and where you want it to be. Many people get into a rut and have developed habits that they would rather not have. Deal with those habits (especially time wasters and ones that lead to poor physical conditioning) and actions (i.e. complaining, gossiping, and money draining actions that have little benefit). It takes effort, time and perseverance to look clearly at your own life and decide where you are.
  8. Purpose to succeed – success is not easily doing something for the first time, but having the persistence to continue at something until it is accomplished. If your re-evaluation of where you and your family are at this precise moment is not where you want to be. Do not despair, but carefully move on from here. Is your salvation secure? If so, that alone is to be celebrated!
    1. Clean something – make your living room and kitchen sparkle. Wash the windows and let in the sunshine.
    2. Mend something – almost everyone I know has some mending to do, and having broken items, gaping fences or unusable clothing can weigh heavily
    3. Make your bed – that surely is one way to feel successful
    4. Send out the forgotten card, letter or email – make someone’s day better
    5. Go the extra mile at work
    6. Update your resume and reference list – remember what you have already accomplished
    7. Work on your plan and list of lists
    8. Read a biography of a successful person that you admire
    9. Be determined to pay your bills and tithe before squandering even one penny
  9. Smile – this cannot be repeated enough! Purpose to have a merry heart. Purpose to bring sunshine to others. Purpose to be quiet rather than tell others their faults – they already know what they are. Purpose to treat yourself better by expecting that you will be diligent, seek excellence, strengthen your willpower and build endurance. A smiling person also interacts with others more positively resulting in better relationships.
  10. Surround yourself with inspiration. Spend time in a good church and with faith filled optimistic fellow believers. Remember those who have gone before you if they inspire. My relatives resettled by wagon train, survived the first depression, helped those less fortunate, overcame addictions, educated the women of our family since the turn of the last century, and built a town. Read the comics and look for good, clean fun. Play games with your children. Go to the local fair and laugh at the greased pig contestants. Smile even when you do not feel like smiling. Go outdoors and hike to the mountain top. Worship God in song, prayer and by reading the Psalms (try Psalm 103) for the bible tells us in Psalm 84, “Happy they who dwell in your house!” Learning to be inspired in our everyday life is good practice for learning to abide well in times of trouble. Besides, it does set a good example for our children.
  11. Exercise, eat right and get some sleep – it is evident by the massive research in this area that exercise and healthy eating have positive results. A regular regime and balanced meals help dispel fear. Well-toned people portray confidence, have perceived higher intelligence and elicit more positive interactions. They also deter those who only prey on the weak and infirm.
  12. Get outside and get some sun – How much fun can a family have being together in the great outdoors while soaking in the sunshine? There are plenty of opportunities for skills building in camping, hiking, boating, yard work, construction, biking and such. Just going for a walk together and pointing out edible plants will build muscle while providing lifelong knowledge. Lewis and Clark’s expedition would not have been successful had it not been for these skills. Much depends on knowing the right things at the right time. Start now, time is of the essence.
  13. Give – of your time, of your talent, of your treasure. But remember that your priorities are God and family first.  Keep your priorities straight or you will find yourself in a whirlwind situation where you are severely over-committed to others and have not time for yourself, your spouse, your job, your family, or for learning new skills and laying in supplies. Been there, done that.
  14. Control your thoughts – Chose what you will think about and what you will not. Do not allow yourself to dwell on the leeks and onions of Egypt. Instead, get busy making this day the best day you can. It is not always easy to make good thought choices, but be determined to keep at it. Do not ever give up.