Change and Fear

Many of you are eager to get to the “stuff” part of self-reliance. Before we do that we need to spend a bit more time on the ”why” part.

In a prior blog post I shared the Rule of Three’s or Four’s from Cody Lundin. I repeat it below for convenience. The priorities with the associated critical time to survival are:

Panic 3-4 seconds

Air and blood 3-4 minutes

Shelter; body temperature 3-4 hours

Water 3-4 days

Food 3-4 weeks

Companionship and community 3-4 months

Most people, when considering the topic of self-reliance, immediately start to think about food storage. But I would like to take the information from the above table and normalize it to rank importance compared to food. For this comparison, I will ignore the need for companionship because it makes the comparison even more unwieldy. If food has a priority level of 1 and increasing values are higher priorities for successful survival, then

Food 1

Water 7

Shelter 168

Oxygen 10,080

Panic 604,800

The combination of these two tables is intended to convince you that food is important but, in reality, you are much more likely to die from something other than starvation in a real, long-term emergency.

Because panic will cause your demise much more quickly than anything else, I want to spend a bit of time on that topic. Panic is the result of uncontrolled fear. Fear is the result of having a need to make a transition and being unprepared for the need. Change happens in our lives all the time; our transitional response is a different issue. In his book, Managing Transitions, author William Bridges states,

“It isn’t the changes that do you in, it’s the transitions. Change is not the same as transition. Change is situational. Transition is the psychological process people go through to come to terms with the new situation. Change is external, transition is internal.”

We are surrounded by change. Some changes we ignore. Some changes we respond to. Our response varies based on the type of change and its impact on us. That is where the transition part comes. Our response to change always takes time and effort. Some of the effort involves acceptance and some involves changes to our life patterns. Transition requires letting go of something, accepting something else, and then moving to that new something. The first step is admitting that there has been an end. This can be very hard. Many people simply cannot accept an “end”. They do not want to admit that something has ended so they stay in the old way, something which no longer exists. Accepting an end means we have to admit that something we trusted to always be true is no longer true. This part of transition will usually cause significant damage to a person’s faith.

We are all people of faith. The question is not “whether you have faith”, but rather “what do you have faith in”. Change will often impact something that we had faith in. To really be serious about self-reliance, you must first decide “in what or who do you have faith”. For each thing in which you have faith, what will happen to you when that thing, in which you had faith, fails?

What happens to your faith, when the technology in which you trusted is no longer workable? In this case, technology includes at least the following items.

  • Internet

  • Computers

  • Automobiles

  • Distribution systems (groceries and hard goods)

  • Energy and Utilities systems

  • Health systems

  • Public safety systems

  • Government

  • Money

Having studied human response to change and the transitions they choose, I can tell you that most people will not easily accept the reality of significant change to any of these items. In this case, "most people" includes you. I know this because by experience I know it also includes me; it includes all of us. This avoidance will lead either to analysis paralysis or uncontrollable fear (panic). In panic mode, even if you have resources to adapt to the new condition, you will probably not make the transition successfully; you will be part of the casualty statistics. Numerous studies and real-world experience has shown in panic mode you really lack the mental and physical capacity do the things that are required to survive.

I guarantee you will have fear when these changes happen. The question is not whether you have fear, but how you manage the fear and the transition that follows. The longer it takes for you to overcome the fear, the more likely you will not survive, even if you have plenty of supplies at your disposal.

The lesson from this is to decide now “in what or who do you have faith”? People of religious faith, those who trust God, are much more likely to successfully cope with these types of structural changes because they have already decided to trust God first and always, regardless of other externalities. They know their personal well-being is not dependent upon these externals, in which today we all typically place such great faith.

So decide, “in whom or what do I have faith” and then start immediately to live that way, every day. My recommendation is to have faith in God and to have faith in Jesus Christ. Christ is the source of light and knowledge. I have chosen to trust Him and have learned than when I make a sincere effort to follow Him to the best of our present knowledge and ability, He will provide the necessary help to make it through every trial. Having made that choice, I have not always enjoyed the events and experiences through which I have had to pass. Making this choice does not bring a life without trouble or trial. But I have come to know that I can trust Him and that my faith in Him is well placed.

In order to start this blog, I had to come to the point that I would accept that I could not have faith in any of the people or systems that make my life easy. I had to give up my faith in everything in the prior list. That is not easy and it leads to some very uncomfortable discussions, with myself, with my sweetheart wife and with God. It continues to be the source of mental difficulties and some physical trials. But I am convinced that it is the path I need to follow and the path which God requires of me at this time.

In addition to trusting God and Christ, I have had to decide which friends and neighbors do I trust? Who are the people in my religious community that I trust? Even, do I trust my instincts and insights about that which is most important? For me, this has included trusting that God will guide me in the things that matter most at this time. My lists of those in whom I have faith and those in whom I do not have faith are both significant in size. You need similar lists.

Once you make this decision, it will affect all of your other self-reliance decisions. For some readers, it will cause you to abandon your interest in this blog. If you keep any item on the list, you will eventually find that I have gone a step too far and abandon the effort. That is okay with me, I didn’t start this effort to be popular, just to sound the warning and hopefully provide some help to those who share the concerns and want to become self-reliant. Making these decisions now with accomplish four very beneficial results.

  1. Focus your self-reliance efforts on things that matter most to you

  2. Reduce you fear when things fail in which you chose not to have faith.

  3. Cause you to be able to act in the face of devastating change and extremely difficult transitions.

  4. Help you build your community of self-reliant people in whom you trust.

Your assignment this week is to decide in what or who do you have faith. This means that you also have to identify the what ‘s and the who’s in which you choose not to have faith. This exercise will shape your life so take time to seriously consider the matter and make the decisions. It may be difficult now, but it will greatly simplify your life later.

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