Be urgent; be confident - but don't panic.
5 Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “Peace and safety,”destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
I Thessalonians Chapter 5: 5-10
Panic - fear beyond our control; involuntary fear response; a defense mechanism of the human body triggered by various threat perceptions.
So if we look at a few of these definitions of the word panic here, it's safe to say that confidence can help us avoid panic. Confidence can take away fear, and fear is the driving force of panic. Why is this important?
In law enforcement, or military, or firefighting, or emergency care, incidents can happen at any time that cause someone in those fields to fear. The people who must act in these times must be urgent in their actions. They have to address the problem then. It's how we perform in those times that determine the outcomes of some of those heat-of-the-moment situations. In order for an officer or soldier to perform better, even if they are afraid, they have to be confident. The less confidence, the more the fear effects them and their senses. If a person gives way to panic, they lose control of many of their skills and decision making abilities; their vision changes and their sense of awareness forces them to focus on the wrong things; their hearing is dampened. If they give in to fear too much, their thoughts even hinder their actions, causing them to hesitate or even freeze, thus increasing the chance of injury - or worse.
But if they slow their breathing, talk themselves through it, or even have a partner there with them to get them to focus and be confident - then they can perform better, more decisively, and in many cases even more safely. Also, if they pre-plan for those worst-case scenarios, they will have more confidence in making decisions for their next steps.
So what's a synonym for confidence?
If we believe in ourselves, we have confidence, but that confidence, though evident through actions, is not concrete; not something we can see and touch. Faith is believing in that which we cannot see. So let's make our synonym for the purposes of this blog post... FAITH.
For those that believe in Jesus, it's important that we apply this to our mission. If we believe in our mission, then when we encounter someone who does not believe, it is easier to talk to those people without fear of what they might think about us just because we ARE believers. If we have faith in what Jesus told us, we know He will return one day. We also know that the Holy Spirit is the one that changes people's hearts; not us.
But the urgency should still be there. Why?
To be frank, it's because nobody is promised tomorrow. None of us are guaranteed a second or third meeting or conversation with someone. Until Jesus returns, this world is filled with death, and darkness; a truth that makes many people uncomfortable. But it's truth nonetheless. If our faith is solid, we control our fear, and perform even under those conditions. There are principalities fighting each other; there is a world we cannot see. If there weren't, then why would Heaven or Hell ever be mentioned in ancient texts? If we believe in Jesus and His teachings, we have to believe in the whole Bible. Therefore, some of the scary things that nobody wants to talk about? Yeah, that stuff exists - and we're not performing well if we don't acknowledge it.
But just because we know that time here on Earth is finite, and that there will be a tribulation, doesn't mean we need to panic. Once again, Jesus will return at an unknown instant. We can be prepared, but running around like Chicken Little will force others to panic. They will miss the message that lies at the heart of it all - that God loves us, and He gave us ALL hope. But we have to choose to accept that. It's our urgent duty to tell that good news, and take our mission to do so seriously. Jesus asked us all to go and make disciples of all nations. He gave us different ways to do that, and the Holy Spirit gives believers various gifts they can use to make progress in the mission.
One more thing I forgot to mention is that when officers want to have to think less under stress, since cognitive ability is effected - they TRAIN. We believers should train. We should train our minds spiritually by reading scripture. We should train ourselves in our actions by practicing good modeling behavior. We should practice having spiritual discussions, so that we can talk to the non-believers. And the more practice we get, the more natural it all becomes. The less fear we have in those situations, thus setting us up for completing the mission.
It's an urgent mission, but there is no need to panic. SO who's with me? Are you willing to start training today? If so, be urgent, because none of us are promised tomorrow. But you never know whose souls you will touch if you never put the training to use.
God bless anyone who reads this, and may we all find a way to spread the good news.