Mental Preparations for Survival, by jc

Wednesday, Aug 1, 2007

For many people preparing to survive has become an obsession; a pursuit placed above all else in their lives. Others feel as if survival prep should be more of a priority if they could only afford to do more. Still others feel as if they may have already gone overboard in their preparations. Preparing for survival after TEOTWAWKI can make you feel overwhelmed, under-supplied, overspent, under-funded, over-your-head, or under-the-gun (no pun intended).
There are those who have the ability to purchase a retreat, stock it with supplies and equipment for a year or more, and have enough to share with those in need at will. They expect to support parents, siblings and spouses, nieces and nephews, grandkids, and several families of friends, and have already stocked their retreat with all the food, water, and supplies for all of them to start completely over. Most of us, however, fall far short of that ability, and hope that we can simply prepare for ourselves and our immediate family.
Please understand, I am not criticizing those who are able to prepare in this way. That’s what this country is all about – the chance to make and keep your fortunes. As Christians we don’t believe in luck, but we do believe in hard work and good fortune. We can only hope that most, many, or all of these fortunate people have the Christian outlook of sharing with those in need.
Whether you are a preparedness guru (PG) or a “newbie” (NP – for New Preparer), getting prepared to survive after any disaster, or even a total collapse, seems like a daunting task. PGs know just how expensive and time consuming preparing can be, and many NP’s have become discouraged as they begin to realize what they are facing. It is for that reason that mental preparedness (MP) is so important.
Mental Preparedness involves many aspects and the first and foremost of these is an individual’s Spiritual preparation. Are you a Christian? Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Are you ready to die if that’s what God’s will for you is? Christianity – that is, evangelical Christianity (Christians who believe that Jesus died for their sins, was buried, and rose again as a living Savior sitting at the right hand of God) offers living hope for our future. We worship a living Savior, one Who has gone before us to prepare a place for us in heaven.
If you have not already done so, accept Jesus into your life as Lord and Savior. It’s so easy to do. Any good Christian can help you or go to www.sbc.net and click on the small green link at the top of the page “I want to know Jesus.” Until you make Christ real in your life the rest of the preparations are just going through the motions.
Once you are Spiritually prepared, the next step is prayer. Ask God to guide you in your preparation, to give you insight into the survival mindset, to lead you to the resources you need to get your mind ready for the preparation task, and to guide and help you in the decisions that must be made to prepare yourself and your family for survival. Ask Him how you can become a better Christian and person through this process – He will show you if you are open to receiving the answers. Finally, ask the Lord help you communicate the urgency and necessity to others to prepare to survive.
Is there Biblical mandate for survival? For preparation? Yes, God has given us instructions in His Word for survival and preparation. Following is a list of Scriptures for you to look up for yourself rather than quoting them here for brevity, but please take the time to look up each one and understand what God is trying to tell us, tell you, about being prepared and surviving.
Proverbs 6:6–11 – tells us that we are responsible to do the work of preparation while we are able.
2 Thessalonians 3:10 – basically says that if you don’t work, you don’t eat. Of course that does not include the sick or the aged; those should be taken care of by family or Christian charity. It plainly teaches that indolence or laziness should not be rewarded. In other words, if we could have prepared for the crisis but we didn't, we can’t expect anyone else to take care of us. It is a principle that applies in every-day-life or in crisis situations.
1 John 3:17 – 18 – exhorts us to help others in need. Yet, you can not help someone who is in need if you haven’t prepared for or can't help yourself. If we are to obey this verse then some sort of preparation is not only called for, but required.
Some great thoughts from another (unknown) Christian author:
“ With regard to fleeing from life-threatening situations - what one brother sarcastically refers to as ‘hidey hole’ theology - Both Peter and Paul escaped from life-threatening situations. Peter fled from Jerusalem after his miraculous deliverance from prison by the angel. Paul was let down over the walls of Damascus when a plot against his life was uncovered. Both of these were escapes from the physical persecution that arose against them because of their testimony and preaching of the Gospel. Are we supposed to believe that God is only interested in preserving His people if they are in danger as a result of their following Jesus? That if the shortsightedness or greed of the world, places Christians in danger, that somehow that is not sufficient reason to escape in order to continue to serve, worship and love God and those around us? I can't speak for others, but I know my purpose in preparing for eventualities. It is not merely to save my hide; it's not worth that much anyway; but to do what Christians have done throughout the centuries, namely to maintain a living witness to the redemptive love of God in Christ, and to continue nurturing the Church which God has called me.
Some Christians believe that it is wrong to leave your urban or suburban home to find a rural setting where survival would be more likely. Again, this is called, ‘hidey hole’ theology. Yet, after the stoning of Stephen much of the Church in Jerusalem dispersed precisely to preserve their lives, to continue to care for each other and spread the Gospel in the new surroundings. God called Stephen to martyrdom, but not the whole Church. The Church in Rome met in the catacombs. Some lived in the catacombs. Was that ‘hidey-hole’ theology? When Jesus began his ministry He read from Isaiah in the synagogue, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me....This day the Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’ They wanted to kill Him, but He ‘passed through them.’ He escaped. Was that ‘hidey-hole’ theology?
In 1 Kings 17:8 - 16, Elijah instructed the widow of Zarephath to give him her last cup of flour and last bit of oil. He told her don't be afraid, God will provide. God caused there to be a daily miracle provision of flour and oil for her survival. But another widow and her son in 2 Kings 4: 1 - 7, were instructed by Elisha to gather many containers, for God was about to provide for her needs. There was an immediate miracle of multiplication of the oil, part of which she was told to pay off her debts with, but the remainder she was to store. Thus, there was preparation, provision, and then storage in order for this woman and her son to survive. Sure, the provision was miraculous; but her use of God's provision was quite normal and mundane. Nor did Elisha criticize her for storing her oil for her family’s future needs. [This author adds: it could be that your provisions may be provided in an equally miraculous fashion.]
Am I stupid, sinful and unbiblical because I want to see that my family survives? Am I supposed to believe that God doesn't want me to do anything about the survival of those whom I love, whom He has given to me? Have I no responsibility? Do I just stand with my eyes scrunched closed and say, ‘OK God, you take care of me and mine?’ Survival is not the ultimate value or goal for me or my family. It never was or will be. ‘Glorifying God and enjoying Him forever’ is. If God wants me and mine dead, so be it, and may He be praised forever. But I don't see that glorifying God and staying alive are mutually exclusive, especially when He seems to be graciously giving us advanced warning precisely so that we may continue to survive, so that we may serve Him and others.
And you, O mortal, do not be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns surround you and you live among scorpions; do not be afraid of their words, and do not be dismayed at their looks. Ezekiel 2:6
The clever see danger and hide; but the simple go on, and suffer for it. - Proverbs 22:3.
A closing thought (on Spiritual Preparedness): "When Noah built the ark, it wasn't raining.”
Get your life right with God and prepare for tomorrow.

Many other aspects of survival require mental preparation as well. Too many people believe that because they witnessed some depravity that man had wrought on an individual, or on others, that they are now prepared to go through the hard times a severe crisis or even TEOTWAWKI can bring. Witnessing a tragic car accident, a shooting or murder, a knife fight in a bar, a shootout with the police, or even trying to help a rape victim can not begin to prepare you for the mental anguish of long-term crises. For the few who have had to kill in self-defense or seen the starvation and disease in some Third World country first hand as a missionary, these only begin to understand. If you served in combat – Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, Vietnam, or WWII – and you had to kill or be killed, you had to care for a wounded and dying fellow soldier, or you had to survive as a prisoner of war, you understand some of what will be faced in an end of the world situation. Many of you may have loved ones or know someone who suffered with or still suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and can understand the mental stressors the individual endures. Unless you have been through it too you can’t really comprehend all that this individual, these individuals, is/are going through.
So how do we prepare ourselves for what is to come? Everything starts with planning! And, it all hinges on organization. If you’re a NP, start a list of preparations that need to be made. Do research on the Internet to find lists of the things you will need to do and what you will need to have on hand. Don’t be overwhelmed by the lists of supplies – all of these things can be obtained one item at a time. Remember, if you start today you’re still ahead of the majority of people. Continue to remind yourself that whatever you do today to prepare, won’t be a need tomorrow.
Prepare your mind through the research you do. Read everything you can get your hands on about preparedness and survival, but read with a “grain of salt” so that you can discern good advice from bad. Read books and articles that are recommended by friends or reliable sources. Even other people who are preparedness minded can get and give bad advice – proceed with caution, but proceed.
One reliable and trusted Internet resource is www.SurvivalBlog.com, written and maintained by Jim Rawles. He is also the author of one of the best survival preparedness books on the market called Patriots – Surviving the Coming Collapse. While the book is a novel, there are many, many good references and teachings throughout. He has numerous other resources of his own and others on the web site.
To continue mental preparations for survival the NP must understand that they are basically on their own. Of course, they may have a supportive spouse, other family members, or a friend or two who understands survival prep, but beyond that you won’t find individuals who are willing to open up their homes or retreats and say, “come see how I’ve done it.” Because of the secretive nature of our preparations for ourselves and our families, and because we want to protect those preps from those that would steal them or want to show up at our front gate when TSHTF, we just don’t let others know what we’ve got. Thus, we are on our own. It is a very difficult position to be in when a best friend refuses to recognize the importance and urgency or preparation. PGs understand this and have developed techniques and questions to discern how a person feels about preparedness and survival without really asking. Only time, practice, and mental preparedness can help in this area.
Preparing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that outline what every family member will do in a crisis will ease your mental state as your preps continue. SOPs are nothing more than written directions to cover every contingency for every person. Make sure you have instructions written for all members who will be with you in a disaster situation. Different situations call for different SOPs – try to cover all the bases for at least 72 hours. This is not something you will accomplish overnight or even in the first few weeks. As you study and prepare you will continue to rewrite and edit your SOPs. Some may take years to finish while others may never be done.
Once your lists are in order you should begin putting together a BoB (Bug-out-Bag). This is a bag – a backpack, a duffel bag, a pillow case (although I think you will discover that a pillow case just isn’t big enough) with everything in it you’ll need to survive for three days to one week (or more). Every family member should have his/her own BoB, even children (as long as they are big enough to carry it). Weight for each BoB is obviously determined by each individual’s size and ability. When you know everyone has the things they need to survive for several days, your mind is much more at ease.
The BoBs are like everything else involved with prep and survival – they will evolve through shrinking and growing for months before you are satisfied with all the preps for them. Only you can determine what is best for you to carry in the end, but there are literally 100’s of list suggestions for BoBs on the Internet. Again, be prepared to sift through and decide what is best for you.
By prioritizing your purchases you can buy a little at a time – in fact, you can buy one item at a time if that is all your budget (or your wife [I’ll address this issue further down] will allow). For instance, water must be a top priority for everyone in preparing for disaster. You can go for days without food but only hours (in comparison) without water. If you have a free-flowing spring in your yard then you are obviously covered, but for most of us water is something we must prepare for. Do we try to store enough bottled water for our family? Do we depend on our neighbors? (I think we know the answer to that one – remember, we depend on no one but ourselves) Storing bottled water is impractical for long-term preparedness. Water is needed at the rate of at least one gallon per person per day. In hot or humid conditions or if you are working outside strenuously, you will need more – maybe even twice that amount. So, a water filter, with extra filters, is an obvious priority. You may have to save for a couple of weeks or more to buy one, but since it is an important item it will clearly be worth it.
Food is a relatively easy category to begin to fill out your supply of. If you will make a list of items that you and your family regularly eat (in dry or canned items) and then begin to buy one or two extra items each time you go to the grocery store, you will find that your food supply will grow quickly. Don’t forget things like toilet paper, tissues, baby items, feminine products, and the like; if you will buy these two at a time when you need them – one goes on the shelf to be used and the other goes in the prep closet or tub. These type products will also add to your stash quickly. P. S. You can never have enough toilet paper if TSHTF (no pun intended).
Continue to move down your Priority List is similar fashion and you will suddenly find yourself short of space to store things and your mental attitude eased by the fact that you are becoming prepared much quicker than you ever thought possible. Remember, organization is the key. Once you begin to buy items for prep or survival you must be organized. Lists are required, and keeping up with them is paramount for making sure you get what is necessary. It is very easy to buy things twice (or even more) if you are trying to keep up with your purchases by memory, or to think you bought something and miss the chance to buy it. Use lists!
Lists and organization are important to your MP in other ways as well. If you have your mind cluttered with mental lists, past or future purchases, and trying to keep up with all of your preps, family, work, etc., your going to be stressed beyond belief. Good MP calls for good organization.
I mentioned above that I would address the problem of a spouse who is a non-believer in preparedness or survival. When you want to talk about prep or survival all they do is change the subject or patronize you quickly and then dismiss it as unnecessary. They don’t want to waste money on it.
Many spouses believe there’s plenty of time to get what’s needed if an emergency comes up later. Some will say that God will provide for us, so we don’t have to do that. And, the excuses and objections goes on . . .
My own wife is one of those, or was one of those types. I went ahead with some small purchases a few years ago and she would question them, but I never hid my purchases from her, lied to her about them, or dismissed her inquisitions. I simply explained that I had bought the item so we would be prepared in case of an emergency and what it was for. I would try to talk to her about it each time SHE brought something up, but she always changed the subject or said we’d talk about it another time. I never forced the issue. Whenever she would hear a news story about some crisis situation (hurricane, tornado, lost hiker, violent robbery or home invasion) I would take the opportunity to point out the lack of preparation on the part of the individuals involved or what they needed instead of what they had, and I would say, “You know, I think I’ll get one of those (whatever was mentioned that someone else needed) for us next time I get a chance so we won’t be caught unprepared.” She would usually agree we needed it, and the next day (or even that very day) I would buy whatever it was and add it to my supplies. She never questioned those purchases and eventually became (a little) more interested in our preps. I’m now trying to get her interested in a piece of retreat property by explaining the exact things I’m looking for (wooded acreage with room for house, barn & garden, a spring or free-flowing creek, isolated, defensible, etc.) and why. It has caused a few arguments (of course, the making up is fun), and she still won’t read "Patriots" or any of the other books I’ve bought on the subject, but our (my) prep supplies are steadily growing and she’s beginning to understand slowly. I’m still open to new suggestions in this area if anyone has any, but I know this has worked for me so far.
Mental preparedness for survival is very important if you are to ever feel like you’re well on the way to being prepared. I’m one of those who believes that you can never be 100 percent prepared, but you can be well prepared. You can get to a point of calling yourself prepared and feeling good about your preps as long as you continue to monitor expiration dates, rotate fuel supplies, grow and can your own crops, and have all the things needed for starting over after TEOTWAWKI. A survival mindset is the first step. Making lists, prioritizing those lists for purchase or acquisition, and organizing the lists and acquisitions will help to keep you mentally prepared for survival.


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