Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Survival of the Faithful

My heart was gripped with fear. My body turned cold from the inside out. I had made a potentially fatal mistake. 

I didn't realize what I had done until I pulled into the commissary parking lot and wondered WHY on what I thought was a random Saturday the place was SO packed. 

It was not just any Saturday. But it was the Saturday after army families everywhere got paid. What had started as a quick errand to get eggs, milk, crackers and dog food was now a battle for my life. 

Safety side note: There are just some places some people should never, ever, EVER attempt to go on or directly after the general population's payday. Examples: Wal-Mart, anywhere Black Friday (exception to the payday rule-- but it's still dangerous) and any military post commissary around the 1st or 15th. 

Survival will be sketchy at best. 

Unfortunately for me (but fortunately for this blog post topic) I found myself in this battle of life and death. I had a choice. Lock my car door, throw Ladybug into reverse and peel it home... Or boldly risk my life for my small dinner party that was scheduled for that evening. (Another side note: I had all of the ingredients to make the food... but realized after the chili was already in the Crockpot that we were out of crackers. See grocery list above.) 

It chose the latter option. Oh, and I literally prayed before I got out of the car. 

I (obviously) survived. But it was touch and go there for awhile.  

In the midst of dozens of people, endless lists and screaming toddlers, I mentally created some survival techniques for making it out of your determined location post-pay day... with your goods. 

And maybe even your sanity. 

So next time you are forced to brave the crowds, follow my fool-proof survival techniques. 

1. Don't do it. 

There. That was easy. 

Ok, but seriously. 
1. Force yourself not to be in a hurry. 
2. Remember to breathe. 
3. Be prepared to dodge, duck and dive. 
4. Apologize profusely to those of you who you are trying to maneuver around. 
5. A smile won't hurt. 
6. Have a plan. Have your list in hand and if possible, know where to look for your items. 
7. Try not to laugh (ok, guffaw) out loud at the random husband that is clearly on the phone with his wife, walking at a brisk pace yelling "I CAN'T FIND THE STUPID TORTILLAS!" You will just make it awkward. 
8. Have less than 20 items in your basket... You can use a quicker line. Everything else can wait til a random Wednesday. 
9. Pray. Endlessly. Then check out. 
10. Do a victory dance when you arrive back at your vehicle.  

I learned A LOT about myself (and others) during this quest for survival. But believe it or not, I was able to look at the whole experience in a Godly way. Somehow, the two apples I put in my cart weren't the only fruit I had that day. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." (Galatians 5:22-23) It was totally a God thing because He helped me get in and get out non-stressed with a smile still on my face. 
Let God be your survival tool... He is the giver of
the "Fruit" of our Spirit!
My actions to be patient, controlled, love others and be kind were very intentional and I couldn't have done it without inviting Him to help me "survive" this experience. God cares about our everyday obstacles and life experiences. So won't you invite Him to walk with you everywhere you go? He will accompany you to the commissary, Wal-Mart and even the bank at 5:00pm on a Friday afternoon if you ask Him to come along. 

God doesn't embrace the survival of the fittest... but He will ensure the survival of the faithful!

With Him always by my side, 

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” --Joshua 1:9

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