I am not sure where or when I heard this phrase. It could have been a podcast or video or in a book. I just don’t remember. I do very clearly remember hearing this phrase and it cutting me like a knife.
We are not supposed to live our life in survival mode.
When I think of survival mode, I think of those especially difficult first couple of weeks after you have your first baby. Life as you know it changes completely. It does not matter what you have planned or how many books you have read. Nothing can really prepare you for this phase of life, except going through it. It’s a day by day, hour by hour kind of existence. The baby is happy and fed right now, so lets enjoy this time of cooing and smiles. It can flip so quickly and you can spend the next few hours doing everything and anything you can think of to try and get even half of a smile back. Sometimes it seems like the crying and fussiness will never end. You might have plans to venture out as a family and be as put together as you have been since giving birth, one spit up or worse- bad diaper- can send you right back home. It does not matter if you have eaten take out all week or not slept for more than 2 hours or not showered in 3 days. It is all about survival. You are just trying to make it through the day.
It is only a phase. As you adjust and the baby adjusts, you find a rhythm. Sleeping and eating schedules are established. Before you know it, you are feeling good. You’ve got this parenting thing down. You can pack a diaper bag in your sleep and have the necessary supplies in the trunk of your car to handle any situation that could happen. You are prepared.
We all go through unfamiliar seasons in our life. Sometimes these times can almost seem scary. The unknown can bring pressure and fear. These times are supposed to be temporary. We are not supposed to go through life in a fog of anxiety and fear. We are supposed to be living life- not barely making it. What kind of life is that? That is certainly not how the Lord intended for us to live life.
One of the oldest songs that I remember singing in church when I was a kid is based on this verse-
Psalm 118:24- This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Think about those words. Do we really rejoice in each day? Do we see potential in each day? Are we just going through the motions?
Survival mode equals stress. I spent too many years stressed out all of the time. I was not stressed by any particular situation or circumstance. I was stressed just from trying to keep up. My hours were crazy and I wasn’t getting proper sleep. I was going through the motions in a daze and no one was getting my best. I was trying to desperately just get through the day. Sadly, that was my mindset pretty much every day. Be careful because days turn into weeks turn into months turn into years. That’s not living. That is certainly not being glad in every day. My to-do lists grew to a unfathomable length as I pushed myself to do better and be everything to everyone. My motto was fake it ’til you make it.
Ecclesiastes 11:8- However many years anyone may live, let them enjoy them all…
I thought that once I quit my job, that my house would be spotless all of the time and laundry would never be backed up again. Boy, was I wrong! One of my big thoughts when I stopped working was that I wanted to improve the atmosphere of our home. Nothing was necessarily wrong with it. My family is amazing. I love them and they love me and they were always understanding of my schedule. I just felt like as a mom, that our home was cluttered and chaotic. I wanted it to be warm and welcoming and peaceful. It is- at least I feel like it leans more towards this than when I was working. However, that does not mean it is always perfect. Life is messy and life is busy. There is a definite difference in being busy and being in survival mode.
You can have a crazy life and still be rejoicing in every day. You do not need a pinterest perfect house to be a wonderful place for your family or friends. You do not need to give yourself a 82 item to-do list every day just to feel like you are keeping up.
Take life as it comes. Seasons do not last forever. No matter how dark or cold the winter might seem, summer will come eventually. Realize that each day is not something to just make it through. Each day is a gift with beautiful possibilities.
John 10:10- The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Is your life full? I don’t mean full of problems and bills and stresses and worries? Is your life full of love and friends and memories and possibilities? Life can be messy and busy and beautiful all at the same time. God wants us to enjoy life as we serve Him and rely on Him for guidance. We do not have to do it all on our own.
He has you. Trade your to-do list for His calling and your stress for His peace. Life is so much better when it is being lived and not just survived.