Greetings! In this post you will find one of the stories in Life’s Lessons, Chapter Five of the book I published last year entitled My Soul Sings for You—Spiritual Peace in the Life and Times of Now. The story below is on page 151 in the paperback version and, while I read excerpts from it in my video book reading, it is written here in entirety as was published in 2019.
During these unsettling times of battling the ramifications of this virus Covid-19 on human health and the world economy, millions of people across the globe are feeling stressed, confused and troubled. I understand. The unknown is always scary, but I want to encourage you to take heart. Have hope. Turn fear into faith. Our country is strong. We’re uniting and pulling together. Look for something positive in your current situation. Make a gratitude list! Believe that you and your loved ones will come through this. I pray you feel a sense of peace amid the chaos. A living, loving and powerful God is working it all out. Good things will emerge from all this.
Here is an optimistic thought for you. With so many countries in lock down and people staying home in an effort to slow the spread of this virus, many find for the first time in years, the noise and clatter of busyness has given way to quiet moments to think. They have extra time to be with their family—time to be still. Time to read and space in their life to search the soul, which is always helpful. I hope you enjoy this story and that you will come back often to read other entries in my blog. If you enjoy what I write please share antheatripp.com with your friends.
The Life and Times of Now
We live in an era of rapid economic, cultural, and social change, and we also live in a world constantly evolving and revolving at what feels like breakneck speed. Many people tell me their lives have become so demanding, fast-paced, and fragmented that they feel as though they’re spinning out of control. They feel like they’re on a merry-go-round that flies off its axis and hurtles into space. Do you sometimes feel giddy from life’s twists and turns and the pace at which we live? Our schedules are so full that we never have enough time in the day. Our days pass like hours, weeks like days, and months like weeks. Time appears to accelerate exponentially. It’s almost as if it’s gaining on itself, causing us to wonder if God has increased the speed of time.
Welcome to modern life.
The world of today requires us to stretch ourselves in many directions, including thinking above and beyond the norm. To survive and thrive in the shifting state of our current age and to defend ourselves from the social, cultural, and spiritual attacks hurled at us like sharp arrows with ever-increasing frequency and intensity, it behooves us to be intentional about the way we think, who we’re becoming, what we’re doing, and where we’re going. How will we manage all that life deals us?
Independent thinking is a must!
Transition is sweeping this great nation and other countries around the globe. If you glance at any newspaper or tune in to any form of media, you are bombarded with newsworthy information on a variety of topics from world news to health to politics and what my dad always referred to as the three Ds—death, disaster, and destruction. You’ll hear it all in a matter of minutes, reported from every corner of the globe accompanied by graphic images within seconds of the occurrence. More information is fed to you than you ever desired to know or could ever digest.
Thanks to technology, we can now track unfolding world events firsthand from the comfort of our living rooms. We’re all interconnected and affected by these events, good or evil, over which we seem to have little or no say. At times we feel powerless as individuals to make our voices heard over all the noise from the many devices at our disposal. Media sources bombard us with widespread problems, social and cultural challenges, and political ideology. Everyone has a strong opinion on every single topic. Often their views differ from our own. Everything seems to be topsy-turvy. Right is wrong, and wrong is right. It’s as if our world has flipped upside down. It feels illogical and confusing, and that’s troubling.
To survive in the life and times of now, it takes discernment and independent thinking! With that in mind, please understand that I do not intend to force-feed you what to think, feel, and believe, although I have strong opinions on worldly and spiritual matters. Instead I hope to inspire you to think independently. Don’t just go along with the flow of rhetoric you see and hear on TV, radio talk shows, and newspaper articles. If we’re fed the same information or misinformation long enough, we tend to accept it, and whatever we accept, we begin to believe as truth. Please don’t be misled.
Here’s the big challenge! Many of us don’t think at all. And some people don’t care what’s going on so long as they’re not personally affected, so it doesn’t warrant their time to think about. Others are overloaded and so preoccupied with the overwhelming stresses of daily life that they have no time to contemplate and appraise the state of the world in which they live, how it’s affecting them personally, what’s behind it all, and ultimately, where it will lead them, their country, and humanity!
Heaven forbid that anyone invests time to examine their spirituality or ponder the existence of unseen forces in the spiritual world where an ongoing battle is raging and where evil is working diligently to present lies as truths. We’re in a world where the devil is intent on capturing unsuspecting individuals and only too happy to profess wrong as right and right as wrong, all the while employing distractions that are hidden in seductive wrappings to lull and lure vulnerable souls into complacency and deception, all leading to a path of destruction.
I am blown away at the widespread naiveté regarding the existence of evil forces. Satan is alive and plotting destruction. He hates God. He hates anything that reminds him of God, especially those created in the likeness of God. Yes, my friends, that means you and me! The evil one is prowling the earth, devouring souls, and using any tactic available to him and his fallen cohorts. Be aware that we all have an enemy bent on destroying us, deceiving us, hiding from us, and attempting to convince us he’s not even there. He’s a master at cunning and deception.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion,
walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
—1 Peter 5:8 (KJV)
I am convinced that we must learn to be discerning, independent thinkers.
I’m not speaking of a passing thought here and there about something you see or hear on social media, TV, or the news. I’m not suggesting a cursory glance at the newspaper. The thinking I refer to is deep, soul-searching, independent thoughtfulness and consideration as to where you are going, where you are leading your family, and the direction in which our country and the world are heading.
The present times require that you examine where you stand in today’s world. Ask yourself these questions and others. Think seriously about your answers. Activate independent thinking. Be deliberate. Be purposeful in your thought process.
- What thoughts dominate your life?
- How easily are you influenced?
- Can you discern truth from lies?
- Do you believe everything you see and hear in the media?
- Do you believe there are good and evil forces at work (and at war) in the world?
- Do you think an evil force can fool, seduce, convince, deceive, and influence even those who are intelligent and well-educated people with good intentions?
- Are you able to define the set of values to which you ascribe?
- Which freedoms would you defend with your life?
These are important things to think about for the future of you and your family. But there’s even more at stake. There’s your community, your country, and the world. Today we need empowered people who can discern the truth, people who can think for themselves and influence others to do likewise.
As you read this, you may wonder where you can find enough time to sit and think. I urge you to make room. Creating space requires you to stop the busyness of your life for longer than five minutes. Schedule a time. Make it a priority. I believe there is an urgency facing the world today. There’s something more significant at stake than what we each see in our separate lives.
What is independent thinking?
- It’s a process learned over time.
- It’s learning to make sense of the world around you by employing your observations and experiences instead of relying on words and opinions of others.
- It’s taking action, not just reacting.
- It’s the ability to trust your judgment, even if that judgment disagrees with what others say or believe.
- Independent thinking means acting by what you believe.
- It’s detecting flaws in arguments and questioning unsubstantiated claims.
- It’s diligently discerning the truth supported by relevant evidence.
- It’s seeking to be informed. It’s researching based on proven facts.
- It’s evaluating, looking at things from different angles and perspectives.
- It’s drilling down behind the words, delving into the legitimacy of inferences.
As a race, we humans have become complacent and lazy where reasoning is concerned. It takes time, effort, and rationalization to cultivate independent thinking, but it’s worth developing. It’s a desirable skill for you and a gift to the world. People who know their values and have strong beliefs will always stand for something, and they know the reason they stand for it. Those who stand for nothing will fall for anything. They may also fall prey to those who would lead them into destructive ideologies and behaviors.
Think about it! Your time is here to step up. If you’re an independent thinker, you will transcend the economic, political, and cultural shifts, and you will lead and influence others. You will own the ability to reason, to solve problems, and make sound judgments. Lies will not deceive you. You will recognize and expose those who would lead you astray.
Employing these critical thinking skills will ensure you’re grounded in your values. A reliable belief system guides you and equips you to withstand challenges, whether they are economic, cultural, social, or spiritual.
The life and times of now are here. Are you prepared for the challenge?
Beware the barrenness of a busy life.