Self preservation: by my definition is to shield or safe guard oneself from actual or perceived harm. 

Self preservation is innate. Or is it learned? Young children arrive as tender hearted, trusting, naive and innocent. Over time the cares of life opens the eyes and awakens the soul to the dangers we encounter on life’s open road. The more harm done to an individual the more coarse their heart and mind become. The more scars, the more distant and closed to people we become—we self preserve to ward off future potential injury.

Over time, generation to generation, children raised by emotionally unavailable people become even more emotionally unavailable because this is what has been taught...this is what is known. Like endless layers of paint upon a wall, this becomes the tedious task of carefully peeling back to arrive to foundation of the soul. Healing a human soul takes time, patience and compassionate care.

I took my youngest for a scoop of ice cream yesterday as a reward for something he accomplished. We hadn’t been to the ice cream shop since the whole virus began. They had made modifications, as so many businesses have, complete with face mask requirements and plexiglass between the customer and the employees. When it came time to pay for my sons ice cream I couldn’t hear the young girl tell me the total. Between the plexiglass barrier, the music playing overhead, and her face mask—her voice was extremely muffled and muzzled. I made her repeat herself, apologetically, several times. She just glazed at the eye and nodded her head. I could tell I wasn’t nearly the first person to tell her this. She just as frustrated as most.

The voice of wisdom shows me, tells me, what this kind of preservation from perceived sickness is going to do to society. One more layer of detachment from humanity and community and will lead to less unity. Human touch, human interaction, a human smile are all extremely powerful, therapeutic and needed. All are expressions of care, compassion and love. What will become of us if we completely, over time, stop feeling? Stop understanding love and genuine care? It sounds extreme of me to suggest this is the road we are on, but is it so far fetched?

Wisdom always illuminates and seeks with forward focused eyes. Wisdom doesn’t live in the now, she deliberately looks ahead toward the horizon and the outcome of every choice and decision. Wisdom bases her choices on ultimate outcomes, not the emotion—good or bad—of the moment.
Fear has become stronger than this virus. Take a step back. Seek wisdom. Look upward to the King of Heaven and ask Him to shield you and protect you. We do not abandon common sense, maybe logic and the fruit of these dispositions...but we don’t rely entirely on our own ability to self preserve either.

Are you struggling with fear during this 2020 pandemic? Do you a little bit (or a lot a bit) feel like I’ve struck a chord within? Are you isolating yourself, pulling away from others and afraid to interact? I want to encourage you.

Here are a few things you can do to guard your heart and health at this time without building walls like Fort Knox around yourself:

•Pray—simple prayers can be highly effective at calming and soothing an anxious soul.

•Strike a power pose—Did you know that when you stand with arms lifted up high, torso elongated, and you hold this pose for two minutes you will create a hormonal response in the body that reduces cortisol (stress hormone)? When we praise we raise our hands and worship God, but we are also releasing hormones that calm us! God sure is a multi-tasker! I call this my two minute miracle!

•Interact—Do not avoid human contact. Do not fear contracting the virus. Be smart, but be at peace in knowing this virus mutates and is mutating weaker, not stronger. 

•Practice proper health—

  1. Get 10 minutes of sunlight everyday. vitamin D will be absorbed from the sun and it is a power anti-oxidant (we will call it an anti virus vitamin). 
  2. Exercise. Physical fitness builds your immune system.
  3.  Eat brightly colored fruit and vegetables and eat lean, quality proteins and eat healthy fats like olive oil, avocado, raw nuts, grass-fed butter.

During the time of the Old Testament we read of a man named Nehemiah who was the Kings taste tester. He was officially called the Cup Bearer. His job was to taste the kings food first to make sure it wasn’t poisoned. So we know Nehemiah was a man of courage! The Israelites were in trouble and Nehemiah, being Jewish, heard of this and felt a burden of the Lord to go help the people who had completely let their walls and guard down and had no idea how to self preserve on any level. They were wounded beyond recovery—like so many are within their hearts and minds today. Nehemiah went to the people and took on the role as leader and instructed, equipped and helped the people rebuild the walls of their city. The people were assigned jobs and they worked diligently with one hand and held a weapon with the other.

Those who had been pillaging the people sent threats against them to insight fear.
The same is happening today. It is by far easier to control people who are weak, tired, unhealthy and afraid. I’m not just implying the virus and our media or government—I’m speaking of every situation this bears truth.

Be like Nehemiah. Put on the whole armor of God found in Ephesians chapter 6. Strike a power pose, release some good hormones that relieve stress and anxiety and remind yourself and your God just how incredible and powerful He is! He’s invested far too much into you to allow anything happen to you! Only God knows the day and hour we depart from this earth so let us trust Him fully with every day between now and then. You have tremendous worth! Trust the Lord to protect you and fortify you’re walls! 

Your body is a temple, honor it and in so doing, you honor God who made you and put breath and life into you. Honor him in body with how you treat your body. Good nutrition, proper rest and physical activity. Plenty of sunshine and fresh air. Take slow and deep breathes! We can release good hormones that promote relaxation and remove excessive levels of stress hormones that cause damage to the body over time.
Your body has a beautiful design. Learn to celebrate it instead of criticizing it.

I hope you’ve been encouraged. I want to provide practical and applicable exhortation for your meditation! Today is the day the Lord has made...rejoice! Take heart! Hold steadfast to hope and joy!

—And Shine, Baby, Shine!