On Preparedness and Self-Sufficiency – Three Unexpected Ways to be Ready!

My husband, Nic, was reading through the answers I gave Facebook to the personal “About” questions it asks you. He got a kick out of the randomness of it all. If you look to see where I’m from, Facebook will show you a nice little google powered map of the Polynesian island of Yap. Yup, Yap. This isn’t arbitrary or a reference to my wordy tendencies.

In a book written by Marvin K. Mayers and Sherwood G. Lingenfelter, the authors discuss how our culture, upbringing and personality all effect who we are. Therefore we should take those things into consideration when relating to people of other cultures. I took the little quiz they give people to gauge how they relate in certain aspects of life and scored far closer to the islanders in Yap where they were studying than to the average white American. Let’s just say disaster preparedness isn’t naturally a high priority of mine – or any kind of preparedness now that I think about it. Sorry, every teacher I had – ever!

Prepping, preparedness, self-sufficiency, stock up on food fuel and ammo

And yet, everywhere I look I see things about preparing for the worst and being self-sufficient on a single piece of land. For over a decade, I’ve watched this trend take its place in nearly every circle of people.

The farm blogs and Pinterest boards I follow make posts about how to grow everything you need on your plot (saying it’s possible on as little as 1/4 acre!)

We have many a friend and loved one that are proud to be right wing, gun-toting ‘Mericans, who stock up on ammo and canned foods and form response plans for all kinds if fiascos.

And even some of our church people stock up at every rumor of Y2K and blood moons, reasoning that they have to be ready to take care of others.

Nic and I even see slightly different on the issue, though not by much. Let’s just say he doesn’t have an island mentality about it. But at some point, I had to actually think about it; not just wave it off because I don’t like to think about it. What do I believe? So here’s my take:

Should we prepare for disaster and work toward self-sufficient homesteads?

  • We’re supposed to be hard-working. All of the texts handed down to us, from the Bible to ancient Chinese, Buddhist to the Mayan, tell us that work is not just good; it’s absolutely necessary for a pleasant life. In fact, our western culture is the first in history to expect sun-kissed skin & hair, tones muscled and strong lungs without ever stepping outside to work. Americans are considered rich when we can hire someone to grow (even cook) our food, mow our lawn, rake our leaves, clean our pools, build us a home and deliver our water. Why? So we can also pay to use the gym, tanning beds and have a stylist make it look like the sun has bleached our hair and the the ocean water left it with a perfect wave. I have to give Wendell Berry credit for much of this, but he’s totally right. It takes a lot of discipline, but we need to change our outlook on wealth. I definitely don’t believe we should do nothing about having bread tomorrow and the next day. We sacrifice much when we do so.
  • That being said, we’re not supposed to do it all. Humans are not solitary beings. In farm terms, we’re herd animals. In church terms, we were made for community. Whatever your angle, mankind could only ever function healthily in the give and take relationships that occur with other humans. In fact, the farther we get from needing and even knowing one another, the more we as a culture struggle with mental health, addiction, inability to cope and failed relationships. Our marriages, children, bodies, minds and spirits need for us to depend on others. Making sure I can protect and feed my own in case of emergency puts up defensive walls toward others. When in actuality, drawing those people in would be mutually beneficial. I’m sad to see that this mindset is also prevalent in many churches today, to their downfall. But I’ll get to that in a moment.

Faith in community is he best way to be be prepared for disaster.

  • Preparedness is a lie. Unless you’re an atheist, you must feel that there is something outside yourself; someone that holds it all together. I certainly don’t believe that it’s pure coincidence that I not only live and move and breathe, but the things I need most are provided. Don’t get me wrong, I fill my pantry every fall. And I have a savings account. But if we start thinking that our efforts are what sustains us, we do ourselves (and God) a great injustice. Stocking up canned goods, heirloom seeds or ammunition would have some temporal value in an emergency, but it will not add one moment to your life. In fact, stressing about it might even shorten it!

Our culture will continue to be what it is. But you and I can do better. I definitely think the western church has allowed our culture’s over-independent mindset to effect what we believe about God. Look around: we generally don’t live out a faith for others to see that represents our God as a loving Father who provides for His children. What would happen if we took his words seriously? What kind of amazing things would we experience if we (myself included!) gave our last penny to those who needed it and let God replenish what we need? What about connecting with people of whom we tend to think don’t need us and vice versa? I think if we started working, playing and believing what we believe side-by-side, we would find ourselves quite rich, and as prepared as necessary for unfortunate events.

I want to leave you with scripture to meditate on rather than my scattered thoughts. I thought about cutting it down some but I just couldn’t! After all, it’s more powerful than anything I could have typed away at this morning! I hope you take some time to think about this over the week.

And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them.  Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.

“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.  Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Luke 12:22-34

Until next time, peace ✌🏻. I’ll meet you back here for a lighter gardening chat in a few days.

Leave a Reply