Message Synopsis: The stressful demands of life can put us into "survival mode," a mindset that is so preoccupied with looming attacks and enemies that it forgets to enjoy life. Survival mode can overtake us when we are going through particularly challenging periods at work or at home, but sooner or later we have to take a deep breath and pause our frantic minds, because God wants our lives to be about much more than just survival. He wants it to be about joy and pleasure.

“If the LORD is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us—a land which flows with milk and honey.” Numbers 14:8 NASB

But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 NLT

Has life ever put you into survival mode? Have you ever felt so concerned with the task of just getting through a difficult period of life that you’ve started to lose sight of life’s joys and pleasures?

Survival mode is a narrow place with little room for reflection on the past or hope for the future. When we’re in this mode, our senses are tied up with concentrating on the immediate task of simply making it through our present troubles. Greater perspective is pretty much nonexistent in survival mode, because our minds are simply focused on walking the challenging path in front of us.

Navigating the world in survival mode can be like walking a narrow trail through an unknown jungle: we are concerned with simply putting one foot in front of the other while avoiding danger. We simply want to live to walk another day, and things such as true joy and pleasure don’t even register on our radar screens.

Has work ever put you into survival mode? Have you ever felt perpetually on guard during workdays, hesitant to enjoy the sights around you and reluctant to look too far off path? Has the securing of provisions such as coffee and snacks ever been among your broadest concerns of a weekday? Have you ever found that you’ve been so focused on surviving the pressures of professional life that you’ve stopped considering any greater spiritual meaning to your life?

Have you ever felt tired of just surviving?

When we are operating with a purely survivalist mindset, we usually end up pushing away much more than just attacks and danger. We usually end up fighting off our wildest hopes and dreams, and ultimately that sort of fighting is exhausting and spiritually deadly.

God didn’t create us to live only for survival. Unlike the millions of organisms that share the planet with us, human beings have tremendous capabilities for higher reasoning and reflection. We are able to engage in lofty planning and romantic dreaming, and we shouldn't ever let the mundane concerns of the daily grind take us away from these things.

Although there might be times in our lives that are about survival and not much else—and maybe you are in the midst of one of those times right now—God will guide us through dull days and difficulties in order to bring us to something greater. God is about Hope. God is about purpose.

When you find yourself trying to survive difficult times, make sure to keep your path close to God so that the stresses don’t harden your spirit or rob you of your faith and capacity to dream. Know that God will sustain your strength during present troubles and bring you to a future place of renewed pleasure and perspective.

Today, pray for God’s protection to keep your path safe. He is walking beside you, and He ultimately has rich rewards in store for you.

Prayer: Dear God, I’m tired of just getting by. I’m sick of plowing through the daily grind without definite purpose and true pleasure, so please clear a new road for me. Please calm my mind, fill my heart with hope, and lead me to Your blessings.

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Michael S. Priebe, Lovely Grind author & web creator

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