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Living In Survival Mode

Updated on October 23, 2015

Isaiah 40:29-31 KJV

29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.

30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:

31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

We've all found ourselves in a place or a season of time that our mental and emotional well being was severely threatened. Maybe a chain of events or one giant blow left us reeling until we couldn't discern which end was up.

No one ever wants to find themselves in this state and it's even harder to embark on the journey of living life when we do wind up here. We must do what it takes to get by, even at the expense of what we enjoy the most if we're going conserve enough energy to survive.

When our strength begins to deplete over the various grating circumstances of our lives, we must make choices. We must decide how and where we will use the energy that we have left and use it wisely. If we make the wrong choice it could be detrimental. We could exhaust all of our resources beyond the point of survival.

So how do we use our resources? We too often shift into a position where life has no true vitality and our spirit is less than eager. We usually spend the most part of our zest in creating facades to dwell behind, each with their own distinct designation. We use a broad smile to greet people in the grocery store. We show the strength of steel when we walk into our local place of worship and hide behind the tears as we lift our hands in praise. Others look on us and think we have it all together and that is exactly how we want it. We listen intently when others share with us their trials and heartaches and they never even suspect that we ourselves are cracking at the joints and bearing more pain than they would ever imagine.


We hold it together pretty well until we're out of the sight of our peers and then we begin to crumble. Sometimes those who love us the most are the only ones that see that awful side of us as we break and collapse under the pressure. Sometimes, if we're really fortunate, the facade will stand until we're all alone, by ourselves.

When we are all alone, with only our thoughts, that's when the self loathing begins. The hate talk, the sabotage and blame game with which we resort to beating ourselves up. We silently scream to ourselves what failures we are and somehow convince ourselves that everything bad that has happened is somehow our own fault. I wasn't friendly enough. I should've tried harder. I knew that I should've eaten healthier! I should've prayed harder or fasted another day. We begin to treat ourselves as we would never dare treat another human being; not even our worst enemies! This action alone depletes almost every ounce of remaining life energy out of us and we have no other option but to cling to hope of survival.

Let's face it. Life has its challenges. Maybe health issues are preventing you from living out your deepest dreams and desires or you're watching a loved one suffer. Maybe you're feeling the heat of new circumstances,whether as a parent, in your marriage or on the job. Perhaps you've been talked about behind your back and have become a victim of unfair judgement, gossip or even lied about and people who you thought were your friends gobbled up the information like a hungry beast without ever giving you the opportunity to explain, defend or give your side of the story. Maybe your pain runs even deeper than all of those things with a hurt that's so raw and so deep that you would never dare tell another soul and God alone only knows the extent of your agony and sorrow. You fear that if you were ever to open up the broken pieces of your heart that your anguish would only magnify and increase a hundredfold.

So what do we do when life becomes too much? Sometimes it seems unavoidable and necessary to resort to survival mode.

Maybe you've seen the video games that run on digital energy. When that energy runs out, you die. So, if you want to keep playing the game you must descend into survival mode. Suddenly, you begin to limit almost all activity, doing only what's necessary to keep playing. Hopefully, you'll reach a point of emergency energy that can hold you until the time provided where you can receive an energy refill. If this doesn't happen, it's game over.

Sadly, this also happens in reality more than any of us want to admit. If you're going to survive this season of life some areas are going to be lacking, because honestly, you just don't have the strength to do it all. You begin to prioritize. You dejectedly choose to continue to build facades and walls to protect yourself. Then, you do only what it takes to stay alive and it's at the expense of your joy, ambitions, and even your health and relationships. It's the best you can do for now until a miracle happens where you can get another dose of emergency strength. You'll take whatever you can get in survival mode.

One day there comes a moment when you look back at your circumstances and wonder how you even made it. You realize that your energy should've been depleted long ago, even in survival mode! You look back and see progress that is unmistakable yet cannot be explained. You have survived.

Now, it all becomes clear. You see the times that God Himself had strategically placed emergency doses of energy at the points where you needed it most. Whether it was a song, a sermon or a random Facebook post. He knew what you needed and when you needed it. You now fully understand that God has never left you and it wasn't your energy at all that has kept you going but rather God's strength and sufficient grace.

Survival mode seemed necessary for those times but it's not His plan for you to stay there. He has kept you and enabled you while in survival mode but now He plans to lift you up by His exceeding strength and cause you to excel to heights that you've only dreamed that you could go. His grace has always been sufficient, but now He wants to do exceedingly and abundantly above what you can ask or think.

You've endured boot camp, survived the wilderness, and now it's time to enjoy the blessings of Canaan's land. So take flight, weary pilgrim! Allow the winds of God's Spirit raise you up on high where the view is clearer and broader than you've ever seen. Be renewed and restored by the love He gives because when you are weak then you are strong. You are strong because you're not dependent upon your own strength, but the strength of the One who is Almighty and all power!

Run to Restoration

When life overwhelms you to the point of breaking

And hope seems to be growing thin

As your heart becomes accustomed to the familiar aching

Of the endless trial you're in

You hear a voice say, I love you, but it's not just any voice

You feel a touch soothing your wounded soul

But it's not just any touch

You have a trust beyond believing and a faith without seeing

Because of His record of faithfulness

Once again you can look up in your hour of pain

With a heart of true gratefulness

He binds the wounds, He comforts the soul

He speaks peace and reminds you he's still in control

Who else but God can do such things?

The Creator alone can fix what is broken

He'll raise you up as with eagles wings

Through the precious words he has spoken

Don't resist his work, be filled with joy

There is a reason that you were born

You can wake up to a brand new day

AlThough through the night you have mourned

So stand upright, lift up your head

Let the Creator embrace his creation

Return to him the love He deserves

And rejoice with great anticipation

That the hour will come when your strength is renewed

And you'll run with an unexplained duration.

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    • blessedmommy profile imageAUTHOR

      Carisa Gourley 

      2 years ago from Oklahoma City Metro, Oklahoma

      Thanks, Venkatachari M! I appreciate your comment!

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Awesome! Very intellectual approach, taking the help and faith of God, to overcome problems and miseries of life through survival mode. Thanks for this wonderful post.

    • blessedmommy profile imageAUTHOR

      Carisa Gourley 

      2 years ago from Oklahoma City Metro, Oklahoma

      Thank you. None of us could make it without God. I'm glad that he's my friend.

    • singingmommy profile image

      Candace Green 

      2 years ago from OKLAHOMA

      Wonderful!!!!! I can relate to so much. My health issues is often covered up as much as a can, I try to do everything with a smile. It's rewarding to just keep going and not slow down, but sometimes when I get behind the scenes I just have a real good cry.....that is rewarding too :) So glad God knows our struggles. Great job!!!!

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