Prepared and Protected

wisdom.sm

I wonder if I’ll get a few good pictures at this renaissance fair.

Photography is my hobby. All my cares disappear when I’m involved in a photo shoot. It’s my escape. I get so focused on the next image to capture that I can ignore everything. Once, I was oblivious to the fact that mosquitoes were biting me. The breathtaking sunset seemed to activate only my visual senses. That outing yielded stunning pictures, and two armfuls of mosquito bites!

Whenever I go on a photo shoot, I’m excited if it yields just one fantastic photograph. However, the renaissance fair didn’t hold much promise. I entered the fairgrounds and disappointment hit. At first glance, nothing seemed snapshot-worthy. No good Kodak moments presented themselves. But, I wandered around snapping pictures anyway.

Nothing really excited me. Until I came upon the birds of prey. A thin rope surrounded three birds, each tethered to a perch on the ground. The owl grabbed my attention. I’d never been so close to a live owl. Inches separated me from the gorgeous bird. I could have reached out and touched it. But, I resisted the temptation.

Suddenly, loud clanging sounds pierced the silence. Behind me, two costumed men were having a sword fight. Each time their swords clashed, the owl spun its head around. The huge eyes stared in my direction. I stood mesmerized. Suddenly, I jolted to my sense, set my camera on the sports function, and snapped away.

Humans do something similar when on high alert. Someone shouts, “Heads us!” and we duck. A ball is thrown in our direction and we automatically protect ourselves. If only we can hold that picture in our mind as a symbol of what to do with mental illness (MI). At the first indication that more challenges are being hurled our way, the best thing to do would be to lower our head in prayer.

Our reflexes protect us from physical injury due to an incoming ball. Can we likewise learn to respond with instant prayer to incoming trials? Can we get better at responding quicker with spiritual protection? When we see our child slipping, can our immediate response be to bow our heads in prayer?

That’s not always my immediate reaction. Here’s an admission: initially my emotions drive my reactions. Worries come. Tears flow. Problem-solving thoughts swirl in my head. It’s not my automatic response to seek God’s help.

So here’s my resolve: When sorrow is heading to my heart, I’ll strive to get better at seeking God’s protection—FIRST.

By the way…isn’t the phrase, “heads up” the wrong thing to scream? Shouldn’t we instead shout, “Heads down?” While contemplating those words of misdirection, I considered using them for spiritual protection. If I can keep my spiritual “heads up”, with my heart lifted to God, I just bet I could face the next trial with more of His peace. Make sense?

Here’s my plan. The next time I sense things are shaky with Chris, I’ll repeat to myself, “Heads up … Heads up … Heads up …” That’ll remind me to turn my heart heavenward, bow my head in prayer, and trust Him. I know He’ll remind me of His faithfulness. And that He’ll provide the peace and protection needed. In addition, He’ll help me prepare for whatever by giving me His wisdom.

Most of us have a first aid kit. We’re prepared for any physical injury or illness. In our heart, we can have a MI first aid kit: prayer and God’s Word. That’s a kit which will keep us prepared, protected, and at peace.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5).

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