The Reluctant Survivalist

The Reluctant Survivalist

The word “survivalist” often conjures up pictures of a man with a long beard living in a small cabin in the middle of nowhere living on weeds and bear meat, and who has little trust for anyone, especially anyone who belongs to the mainstream culture.

Being rather counter-cultural myself, I can understand this. My main problem is that so many survivalists cling to the idea that the end of the world is coming at any moment, and/or that they are completely independent of the need for anyone else, including God.

But lately I’ve been wondering, does part of a healthy lifestyle include being a survivalist?

Let me explain.

If you set all the stereotypes and extremists aside, survivalism simply refers to living with a preparedness mindset. You realize that you don’t know what tomorrow may bring, and so you prepare for the worst as best you can: you have a store of food, water and medicine (a-hem, preferably natural remedies); you have something for self-defense; you have an alternative source of energy; you have extras of all your personal hygiene needs; etc.

As a follower of Jesus, I used to think that survivalism was a lack of trust in God. After all, doesn’t God look out for and protect His own? Then I began to realize what a hypocrite I was. If that were so, then why am I so careful about what I eat? I should be able to eat whatever processed food I want all day long and still be healthy and live long, because God is looking out for me, right?

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The Reluctant Survivalist

Shortly after waking up to this hypocrisy, I had my survivalism wake-up call. First, we had an entire week here in north central Texas when everything was shut down. Specifically, the food co-op trucks were three days late getting out and we got low on fresh produce.

Now, I usually have at least two months of food stored up at any time, because I buy in bulk, but two months of seeds, nuts, beans and quinoa and nothing else would get boring awfully quick. Let alone not be well-varied in nutritional value.

When I finally got the food, I wondered, “What if the truck hadn’t made it, and what if the ice and snow had lasted for two weeks instead of five days?” We would have run out of more than produce. We counted ourselves lucky that half of our heating system didn’t go out, as did my in-laws’.

I decided to get serious about stocking up on a variety of dried food.

About the same time, I read a letter to the editor in Mother Earth News. The man was writing to tell of how he had to fend people off at gunpoint on his homestead the year before during a regional natural disaster. Why? His family had food stored up, as well as a large garden and goats; his neighbors did not.

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(I suggested to my husband we start looking into buying a gun.)

Then there is the Japan disaster. I have an uncle living in Japan. An uncle with a strong belief in God. Although he and his wife’s family were not directly affected by the earthquake, they suddenly found themselves without water.

Rain comes to both the just and the unjust. Even so, I decided we need to have at least a couple months store of purified water on hand.

I believe in homesteading. Furthermore, I believe it is one of the healthiest lifestyle choices a person can make. All homesteaders also believe in self-sufficiency and preparedness. Which means, we believe in being ready to survive any disaster that may befall us.

Ready to survive. Making us survivalists.

Making me a survivalist.

And meaning, that at some level, survivalism is healthy.

I still cringe at the term, not wanting to be lumped in with the crazy people who are convinced the world will end tomorrow, or with those who want nothing to do with modern civilization.

But I have to admit it: however reluctantly I take on the label, I am a survivalist.