Are you in Godly First Responder Training? I am.
What is a First Responder?
Definition: Someone trained to respond to an emergency or problem.
It always seems like some curveball comes sailing over the dreamy, only-in my-mind, white-picket fence of my life and disrupts my ideals or shatters my expectations. Many of my first responses to life’s challenges have been ineffective at best, damaging at worst.
My Ineffective First Responses to Life’s Bumps, Bruises, and Challenges Include:
•Whining/Raised Voice/Crying (Insert any other tone of voice but pleasant)
A couple of weeks ago, three waves of understanding collided and kicked my spiritual butt into action.
Forrest and I were asked to substitute teach for our church’s marriage class. Our class is studying from a Bible study written by Gary Thomas called, Sacred Marriage. The theme of the study is- What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy? You can imagine; it’s been a challenging study. Forrest and I taught session three and explored the differences between being a mate who is self-centered, spouse-centered, or God-centered. We had a wonderful large group discussion about how each paradigm plays out in marriage. The study really challenged me personally about my day-to-day responses not only in my marriage but in all areas of my life. My sometimes knee-jerk emotion-filled reaction reveals my lack of discipline. Through the study, I realized that my first responses to life’s bumps, bruises, and challenges are in need of additional training.
We barely arrived at our local skatepark when a young man (18 years old without a helmet) slipped on his skateboard and hit the back of his head. He immediately lost consciousness and began to seize for the next five minutes. My RN and First Responder training kicked into gear: 911 called, safety assessed and provided, A-Airway, B-Breathing, C-Circulation. My actions were as automatic as breathing in-and-out even though it had set foot in a hospital setting for 18 years. Untrained bystanders had all the wrong responses. They attempted to move the injured young man and place something in his mouth. They stood by and watch his head hit the cement as he seized. All of these untrained responses could have caused the injured man even more harm. When the paramedics arrived, I gave a concise account, noting his vitals and the timeline. The young man, still unconscious, received an expensive helicopter ride he probably won’t remember. (Free additional lesson: ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET!). When it was all over, my six-year-old granddaughter asked me, “Nana, how did you know what to do? I responded, “I did what I was trained to do.” I thought of my answer and recognized that in moments of crisis, I will only do what I am trained to do.
The same week, I caught a few moments with my girlfriend and fellow co-op mom, who I hadn’t seen in awhile. We reminisced about Here to Help Learning’s beginnings eight years ago. Her first born was one of the first students at HTHL and is now in high school. It didn’t seem possible that her two younger daughters, who use to be tiny munchkins running around co-op were now in the 4th and 6th grade and were old enough to help out with a filming segment for in HTHL’s new literature series. We laughed and smiled together as we shared memories. And then she asked me, “At the time, did you ever think all of the early years of HTHL would lead to what you are doing today?” I had to admit, I could never have dreamed that all those skills from HTHL’s early days would culminate into HTHL’s filmed instruction. I reflected how God used all that training and all those skills to prepare me for the plans He designed.
These three waves of understanding crashed together:
•My first responses to life’s bumps, bruises, and challenges are in need of additional training.
•I will only do what I am trained to do.
•God uses all training to prepare me for the plans He designed.
As the crashing waves subsided, my desire to be a Godly First Responder has filled up my journal. “Train me Lord” has been my number one prayer request. Here are some thoughts from my journal pages:
My problems have a purpose. They are not random. They are ordered for God’s purposes. My untrained responses to ongoing trials reveal a lack of training. I found myself praising God (I mean REALLY praising God) for His patience towards me.
As you can read at the top of this post. My attitude regarding daily problems didn’t have a pretty bow on it! Knowledge is great, but it’s the application of knowledge that determines success. In our culture, we celebrate the college degree and often forget it is what you DO with the degree that matters. There is a push back on training across the land. Most adult workers roll their eyes at additional training. Let’s face it. Training is hard work. I don’t want to roll my eyes at the training God has for me. I want to be a Godly Trained First Responder!
5 Ways a Godly Trained First Responder Reacts to Life’s Bumps, Bruises, and Challenges
FIRST RESPONDER TRAINED RESPONSE #1 : Problems are an opportunity to train and learn new skills.
I’m learning this is an important paradigm shift! I’m in an apprenticeship that includes book learning (God’s Word) and hands-on experience with the Lord as my Master and Mentor. Certain skill sets are required to negotiate life’s problems, and God is willing to train me!
God is an honorable coach. He trains with love and passion. He shouts and encourages, “Love harder, forgive easier, you can do it! I’ve given you the strength dear daughter. Yes, you can do it with little sleep and exhaustion! All right, now I want you to be patient when your feelings are hurt. You got this girl!” He trains because He has a specific purpose in mind, and he doesn’t do it by coddling.
But like any good coach, he allows times of rest. In fact, he promises He will lead me beside still waters. However, in the midst of trials there are skills to be learned and responses to be trained!
FIRST RESPONDER TRAINED RESPONSE #2: Love your training center!
My personal training center is my marriage, my parenting, my family, my service to the church, my friendships, and my work at Here to Help Learning. This is where I receive my spiritual OJT (On the Job Training). It’s where I have the opportunity to train and practice. It is a beautiful training center! And it was designed by God just for me! God has a special training center for you too!
FIRST RESPONDER TRAINED RESPONSE #3: Implement strategic steps.
When I helped that young man at the skatepark, my First Responder training was very strategic and automatic. I must implement strategic steps to solving a problem too! And the more I train, the more automatic it will become.
1. Gather information
2. Pray and seek guidance
3. Plan and Implement
5. Repeat steps until problem is solved.
It seems so unemotional doesn’t it? But trained First Responders leave emotions out of the decision-making process. Trained Godly First Responders will do the same. I haven’t found a scripture yet that says lean on your emotions. I see scriptures where I am instructed to lean on God, his Word, and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. So what do I do with my heap of emotions? God’s Word has an amazing action word to apply to my emotions; it’s the word, CAST.
Cast: (verb) to throw or move (something) in a forceful way, to send or direct (something) in the direction of someone or something.
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7
The “ing” on the end of the word “casting” tells me to not only do it, but to keep on doing it!
This too is part of my training. I just need to spend more time on my Abba/Daddy’s lap, learning how much He cares for me.
FIRST RESPONDER TRAINED RESPONSE #4: Face problems with a can-do spirit.
Do I, with my conversation market the drudgery of household work and mothering, or do I speak with pride the skills I am learning and mastering with the Lord’s help? Do I spend time unionizing my negative thoughts that undermines or works against the training that God is providing?
My first response to problems also influences and instructs those around me. Have you noticed, panic breeds panic? Anxiety breeds anxiety. Hopelessness breeds hopelessness. Conversely, it’s hard to be negative when someone is positive, filled with joy, and has a can-do attitude. Believe me, I’ve tried and failed. My husband is one of the most “positive” persons I know. I can’t last long in Grumpy Town with him around! That is REAL leadership!
FIRST RESPONDER TRAINED RESPONSE #5: Know that your training will open doors!
There’s a cozy relationship between the training one receives and the opportunities that open up! In the Parable of the Talents, Jesus points out that what you do with what you have matters.
“You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.”
I look at Jesus’ life. He too submitted to training.
*He was obedient (trained to respond) at home growing up.
*He was obedient (trained to respond) to the evil-one in the desert with God’s Word.
*He was obedient (trained to respond) in prayer.
*He was obedient (trained to respond) to his Father’s request to wash Judas’ feet.
*He was obedient (trained to respond) to death on a cross.
Therefore the Father highly exalted Him.
I have to ask myself…
•What if my relationships (marriage, parenting, friendships) weren’t designed to make me happy but holy?
•What if all those problems I encounter during my day (big and small) are just part of my training so that I can be useful for the master?
•What if all those problems I encounter during my day are to teach and train others by my example?
•What if God could use my first response to problems (big or small) to change the world?
My prayer: Lord help me be an excellent Godly First Responder.
Train me for your purposes.
“All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” Hebrews 12:11
From Our Home to Yours,
Are you on the same journey as me? Have you ever looked at problems as an opportunity to train? What are your thoughts?