I have an annoying feature on my IPhone which I will figure out how to remove. When a CNN news update comes in, the tone is the same as for a message from a friend. Each morning the daily CNN report makes this seemingly welcome sound to bring me what news it thinks I should know. It is not welcome.

This morning I awoke to this: “Immigration situation worsens. U.S. withdraws from energy pact. Dozens die in ferry wreck.”

Great way to start the day??!! Not!

Our days are framed by and filled with our choices. Even the difficult situations that arise can be made better or worsened by how we choose to react to and handle them. I can turn my phone off before bed, throw it against a wall, figure out how to stop this annoyance, or be inspired to share an insight through a Shabbat encouragement. Not to mention the decisions we undertake to co-create our environment that affect us and those around us as our actions often set the stage for choices to be made by others. Our home feels very peaceful now as I write this message as opposed to how it may have felt had I had an angry outburst over the annoying message, or been stricken with sadness. I did not allow myself to be sucked into the negativity of those headlines first thing in the morning. I will enter into challenging events, but not before I’m prepared to do so.

So my day is about to start. Will I be in a better place by thanking HaShem for restoring my soul in me, followed up with more time with Him, or by starting my day right off with the typical CNN blurb? Not that we should hide from the harsh realities of our lives, but rather, is it not better to arm ourselves first as we read Ephesians 6:10-20 before setting forth: “. . . Put on the full armor of God, . . . for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against . . . the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. . . “

As I push out from my spirit that which wants to drag me down, how much better equipped to handle what lies ahead.

It is easy to fall into the trap of letting the forces at work get the better of us. I have been struggling with a nagging stress headache on and off for the past two weeks. And I usually don’t get headaches. It really doesn’t matter how self-aware I am. My mind can be totally getting it but emotionally I’m still succumbing to all the negativity that is part of our days – too much to do, financial concerns, challenges with friends and loved ones, ridiculously negative world events, too many stories of suffering. The fact that our rational brains can’t make it feel better, that we actually develop physical symptoms proves that we, as humans, no matter how enlightened and in touch with our inner selves, need our Abba. Only by wrapping ourselves in His strength can we live well.

So it will be a beautiful day. Yes, I am starting it with puppy snuggles. But more importantly I am reminding myself that today I will spend it with Him. And the more I remember that as I make each decision, the better my day will be. I’m off for a morning jog to Steve McConnell’s “Sim Shalom”, the time when most of my Shabbat encouragements are given, during the space I have made to hear Him. HaShem has created this body in His image so I am motivated to make healthy eating choices. I can’t control what people say and do around me, but I can try to do what Yeshua would do in each case – act lovingly and with kindness, put myself in their shoes, try to forgive. How much we are loved that He came among us through Yeshua to help us know what those decisions look like here on earth. And this evening as I lie down to sleep, I will choose to be reminded of His closeness. Thank you, Stacele, for the beautiful book Box of Butterflies written by one of the “Touched by an Angel” actors, that I’ve been enjoying each night as I drift off to sleep.

May you make choices this week that remind you of His closeness, on this spiritual battlefield. For if you do, even here on earth, you will feel touched by an angel.

Shabbat shalom.

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