I love Bear Grylls. Do you love Bear Grylls? A lot of people love Bear Grylls.
David and I have watched LOTS of his shows about survival in all kinds of conditions. How to catch a skunk, how to eat things you catch (including a skunk), how to sanitize your own urine to drink (ick!), how to start a fire, how to make a knot to wrap around a rock or a tree and then a slight tug will untie it for you, how to build shelter with whatever you can find, etc. etc. etc.
One of the survival tips that has always fascinated me is how to most effectively cross a river. Whether it’s a quick-flowing river with rapids, or a freezing cold river, there are things you must do to get across without dying. Always a good goal.
No matter what kind of river it is, the main thing he always makes sure we know is to…undress. Now (and maybe it’s just for TV) he doesn’t strip down to his birthday suit. He strips down to his skivvies. The idea here is to take off as much of your clothes (including shoes and socks) as you possibly can, stuff them into your backpack (hopefully waterproof/resistant) and start crossing…the less clothes you have on, the easier it will be.
If you’ve ever been pushed into a lake or a pool with your clothes one, or caught in a pouring Texas rainstorm, you know how heavy clothes can get when they are soaked. Not only will the extra weight of wet clothes slow you down, but just the resistance in the water isn’t conducive to making good time.
Crossing bodies of water is nothing new with Bear Grylls (thanks Captain Obvious).
Friends, we have stepped into this raging river of Covid-19. We’re starting the trek across this wide, uncertain river…from this side of it to the other. This isn’t going to be an easy crossing…mainly because we humans don’t know how to act being all quarantined and alone, with nothing to do, nowhere to be. We’re used to being able to come and go as we please: hang with friends, go to WalMart, eat at our favorite restaurants, go to the gym, go to church. I mean, we’re Americans, for crying out loud!
Whether you agree with having to stay put in your home or not, this is a reality. So what do we need to remember as we cross this river? Let’s take a few clues from Bear Grylls.
Bear’s suggestion is that we take off anything that slows us down or hinders our progress. But the write of Hebrews had the same advice.
“We should remove from our lives anything that would get in the way. And we should remove the sin that so easily catches us.”
What gets in the way and slows us down?
All of us face fear at times. All of us! Even though Bear Grylls has crossed a buncha rivers in his time, I’m sure there’s a tiny sense of fear that he feels when he’s about to jump into that cold water. But he couldn’t let fear stop him…he had places to go. He suppressed his feelings and jumped in! (I’ll talk more about fear in my next post.)
When we’re faced with a situation that is out of our control, it is so easy to blame others. I’ve read things online and heard things in the news of people blaming the government, blaming other countries, blaming the health system. As my pastor (also my husband) says, “To blame is to ‘be-lame’”! That’s true. Blaming never solved anything and never helped anyone. Even if we knew exactly who or what to blame, it would change nothing!
One of the main distractions in this present circumstance is getting too much information. I urge you to turn off the news shows, no matter which source it is. Turn them on long enough to get the latest updates, and then either turn the TV off completely or change the channel.
Instead of focusing on the distractions, focus on some attractions. Watch one of your favorite movies, play a game with your kids, write a letter (with your human hand and paper and a pen) to an old friend or family member, finally clean out that hall closet, exercise. There are lots of good positive things that are a whole lot more attractive than the droning news!
What are you angry about? There are some legit reasons: some of you may have been laid off from your job, or lost it all together. Some of you may be angry that you have to work at home instead of escaping to your personal cubicle with no interruptions. Some may be angry that people are being stupid and insensitive and buying all the eggs and bacon at your local store.
Don’t be angry. After all, not unlike blame, it does no good except to raise your blood pressure. Anger affects you and the people around you, and it changes nothing about the situation. Accept the circumstances and adjust your attitude. It’s as simple as that (although far from easy!)
The only flaw in this idea is this: don’t pick these up again. When Bear Grylls reaches the other side of the river, he puts his clothes, socks and shoes back on. When you reach the other side of this river, leave these things where you left them. There’s never a reason to pick these up again. Granted, they may creep back in at times, but lay them aside every time they do.
God knows all of these things you’re dealing with and wants to help. If you’re finding it hard to pray right now, here’s a prayer that I found that can give you words:
“God, I find myself so fearful about; distracted by; angry about _____________. I don’t know what is going to happen, but I know that You are not surprised, and You are working all things together for good.
“God, help me trust You more fully today. Increase my faith today. I ask for Your peace. Thank you for freely giving us peace of mind no matter what happens around us.
“In Jesus, name, amen.”
Remember these things:
Instead of fear, God gives us power: we can face anything because we are safe in His hands.
God gives us love: we can go in Jesus’ name and love and serve other.
God gives us clear thinking: insouciance, if you remember that from our Ruth study; a calm, self-controlled mind, instead of panic and confusion.
Hang in there! We’re gonna get through this!