Avoiding panicked Spiritual 9-1-1 Calls
1. The first rule is not to panic. Panicking makes you spend money that may prove to be a waste. Panicking also causes your prayers to be more like a 9-1-1 call. “I need help now” “Come quick.” In other words, you are totally caught up in the moment and if you haven’t prepared, you have no sight for the “bigger picture.”
2. Go through mental exercises to decide what you really can’t do without. (I found I had to be brutally honest in this exercise!) I have extra toothpaste and tooth brushes, soap for bathing and of course, M&Ms!
2 a. I cannot stress how important the mental exercises are. What I started to tell you is that you need to gather your wits about you and develop some mental toughness about what you “think” you need versus what you really do need. I decided I need some light at night, definitely want to be as warm as possible, and I don’t want to go hungry. Personal needs are also a consideration, so I try not to “want” too much for myself. I can’t tell you how many times I have the conversation in my head when I shop about needing something. “Is it really necessary?” Of course, you can talk your way into everything if you want to, but the reality is, as you said, you can really do without a lot less. If you practice living with less in your mind, then when you “have” to live with less, you are at least a bit ahead of your friends. (Of course, I know you are modest, so this shouldn’t be too much of a difficult exercise for you.) But, there is room for all of us to grow.
One reason my house isn’t overly decorated is because I can’t stand having things that serve no purpose, (not that I don’t have any!) But the other reason is that I want the money to use for things that are useful and decorative. Hurricane Lamps will hold candles and because of the glass, the candle burns slower… People get rid of old, big thick candles all the time at the thrift store. I buy those at a fraction of the price and store them on top of my kitchen cupboards and other high places no one sees. Aladdin lamps give off great light, but also double for heat if you need it too. These are expensive, but because they serve two functions, they become worth the price. Don’t forget spare oil for these.
3. The Spiritual aspect. You have to be proactive with your relationship with God…When crisis hits, you do not want to have to dial 9-1-1 to heaven and find that you get no reception because you don’t know how to speak the language or you just have left it off as “I’ll get to it someday.” Of course, even though I feel I am a pretty good “praying person,” I still try to envision what I will do and how I will react if I am really pushed to the edge of my comfort zone. Will I have the faith I need to endure the trial? Will I trust that God does know and is aware? The answers to these and many more questions is no and yes…No because we just don’t know how we will react in a crisis, (this is why mental fire drills are important) and yes, because we work to develop that relationship every day. For me, a key scripture to remember in my daily comings and goings is in the first chapter of Job. He loses everything…and what does he do? He rents his coat, puts on sack cloth and praises God as the giver of all good gifts. I ask myself…am I there? Do I praise God no matter what my circumstances? How did Job get that way? It says that he had a perfect heart, right before God. He wasn’t born that way. I am sure he had to work on it…he was born with an innate goodness, but so are we all. The difference is how he chose to live his life doing right, serving others and worshiping God. Time and time and time again, he made choices that strengthened him so that when things got bad, there was no question in his mind how he needed to be. He continued to worship, because God makes the rain to fall on the good and the evil.
Interestingly, we have grown very complacent in our self-indulgence, thinking we need this or that or we deserve this or that because we are who we are…but the reality is that we are all children of God…none of us is better than another…the problem is, is that we think we are because of our “station” in life and we let that guide how we will be in life. But, it really goes deeper than that, as you know. It is what is in our hearts that makes the difference in our lives. And, when troubles come, and they will, what is in our hearts and minds, will determine how we will be able to endure the day. That is what makes the difference between someone whose life is focused on stuff that really matters versus someone else who thinks they are beyond the effects of what is going on.
4. Last thing for now. Remember that the bigger picture is that all the things happening now are part of what has been foretold for centuries by the prophets in the Bible. As far as the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, it is coming, but before it gets here, there will be all kinds of things happen. It is too deep of a subject to go into here and if you like I can refer you to some wonderful books about it. I can tell you that sometimes I get scared…Scared that I won’t be able to stay true to God. That I won’t stay faithful…that I will give up…that I will be homeless and cold and hungry and that I won’t remember to “rent my coat and praise God, saying, the Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away, Blessed be the name of the Lord.” More than anything else, I want to stay faithful. I want to be found with His Name emblazoned on my heart no matter what circumstance I find myself in. Truthfully, this is something I am not sure about myself and so for me, it is the most important part of my preparation. I can’t take anything else with me except my faith and integrity…That’s why, in the end, nothing else matters…
Sorry, I got sidetracked. The Second Coming…I have read, panicked, studied and prayed and I am now confident that God is aware of all that is happening. He promised to return and He will. I am not panicked like I used to be. I am a lot calmer, but I have had to work to get here and that is what I mentioned earlier. The most important thing we can be doing is preparing our hearts and minds for the Second Coming. With our faith in place, it is my belief that we can call on God, and because of our righteousness, He will hear and answer our prayers in extraordinary ways.
Look at the parable of the 10 virgins. (Matt 25:1-13,) 5 were prepared and had their lamps full of oil, trimmed and burning. The other 5 also had oil and their lamps were trimmed. The problem is, they forgot that sometimes the bridegroom is late, very late, and they forgot to have extra oil on hand for their lamps…so that when the bridegroom finally did appear, their lamps had gone out, but the virgins thought to ask their “sister virgins” for help, who said, in essence, “Not so, lest there not be enough for us and thee…” Those foolish, (or unprepared) virgins had to “run into town” to get more oil, and when they did, the bridegroom came and went into the wedding feast and the door was shut. The 5 virgins returned only to find they were locked out…and could gain no entry.
I have pondered over this parable. How do we become a “wise” virgin? Ready when the Bridegroom comes? We prepare and fill our vessels of light with oil “drop by drop” Acts of service…a drop of oil; going to church…a drop of oil; reading the Bible…a drop of oil; Humbling ourselves…a drop of oil…Prayer…a drop of oil…There are many ways to keep our lamps “trimmed and burning,” but we must be going about it on a daily basis….9-1-1 behavior at the last moment will keep us out of the feast because we are not prepared…
In Mormon scripture, this parable is explained saying about the virgins, that, those who are wise, and have received the Spirit of truth and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide and have not been deceived…shall stand in the last day. This is my goal for this year, to live closer to the Spirit and learn to listen better to the counsel given for my life. I can always improve in this, but I am really trying to make the effort this year to make it more of a reality.
I think, that we are all one of the wise virgins to one degree or another… kind service to a mother in law; taking care of your children, bringing meals to others, going to Church every day/week, frequent, heartfelt prayer…these are just some of the things you may do, but I know that many of you do many more that I am unaware of. There are always ways we can improve and that is what we need to ponder and discover.