Survival Mode

Survival mode.

Suspend all discretionary thought, emotion, income, and influence.  Stockpile whatever energy you have.  Hunker down – only use vital systems – slow your breathing – and only do what is necessary to make it another day.

Ever experienced that?  Maybe you are right now.  Survival mode has been the definition of my life over the past year or so.  ‘GET IN THE CELLAR KIDS, THERE’S A STORM COMING!!!!’

And while survival mode is necessary sometimes – you can’t live in that space forever.  It’s devoid of heart and spirit (usually).  It’s full of fear and worry about what damage will be left in the wake of the approaching madness.  If you stay underground too long, your body (physically, emotionally, spiritually) no longer knows how to react to light.  While initially life-saving, survival mode can become very unhealthy – even deadly.  It’s quite the oxymoron.  Surviving becomes the undoing.

You may be facing  the most difficult circumstance you have ever faced.  You may be hard pressed on every side.  There may be no relief in sight.  Survival mode might be the only mode your heart understands right now.

I get it.

So how do we hold on to the reality of Jeremiah 29.11 in the midst of what surely is hell here on Earth?

I don’t know for sure.  But I know this.  Today, I spent 30 minutes talking with my wife about dreams for the future.  It’s a practice that used to be a regular date for us.  And I cannot remember the last time we looked at the future with anything but worry, dread, and question.  And after she left the room, I cried a little.  It felt like a pinpoint of sunlight shining in our storm cellar.

So I don’t know of any ‘a – b – c’ points that help us navigate survival mode – but I know that dreaming about what emerges from the storm cellar has to be part of it.  God does have plans for the future….plans that supersede the storm.  Finding that streaming light – seeing the sun break from behind the clouds, even for just a second – knowing that the Plan extends beyond the immediate – has to be part of the prescription surviving survival mode.

I know the cellar is dank, dark, and probably full of critters.  Don’t let them crowd out your sunlight….

Author: Darren Sutton

I've been in student ministry nearly 30 years…which generally just confirms how much I still don't know. Some days I'm the pizza-eating, over-responding, teaching-on-the-fly, desperate-for-volunteers, frustrated-with-co-workers youth leader that we all are. And sometimes…I knock it out of the park. I'm everywhere on social media that you are!

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