Preparation ::: It’s not cheap, nor is it optional

This morning, I went to work frustrated.  This afternoon, I left work frustrated.  What changed?  Well, nothing.  Which was, unfortunately, part of the problem.  Actually, one thing did change.  My feet were frozen, from the single digit temperatures, accounted for windchill.  On the drive home, I got to thinking about the circumstances surrounding my frustration, something I probably do too often, since sometimes it’s hard to see past the obstacle in front of you.  I found myself asking God questions I try to avoid asking.  “Why?”  “What could possibly be gained by stretching…prolonging the solution another two weeks?”…or three weeks…or however much longer it takes, even though I thought for sure this would be resolved by now.

In the process of trying to understand…I gained understanding.  I found myself coming to the perspective that God must having something great, for which there is a whole purpose and plan behind something happening later than when I thought it would or wanted or needed that “thing” to happen.  Wait, wait, and wait some more.  Who knew that doing nothing or not being able to do anything would be mentally exhausting.  “God, what could you possibly have planned, that I would need to be this grounded, this rooted, to be able to stand when this unfolds.  It must be so powerful and miraculous that it will blow my mind”…and more so, if I am not ready by going through this circumstance….this arrangement that was a short-term blessing, now turned a frustrating waiting game.  My mind immediately went to thoughts about how great this will be once the breaking point occurs.  Then, almost just as immediate, thoughts flooded my mind…drastic, destructive…what force could so come against me, that where I to not endure this hardship; this “waiting game”, that I would not be able to stand up against it.

Then, I realized.  When the end of this circumstance comes to fruition, regardless of what happens and when, I will need to be prepared.  This rooting, this grounding…the developing and strengthening of faith that comes from the “I don’t have any other options; I have to place my trust in God…there is just no other way” moments do have a purpose, beyond all reason, comprehension and understanding.  Furthermore, it’s frustrating.  Incredibly frustrating.  Incredibly exhausting.  Incredibly…something.  Or just plain old incredible.

Incredible indeed.  Suddenly, reflection rose within me.  It’s been hard, but have I not always been there?  Yes.  You didn’t like “it” and sometimes didn’t know what I was up to, but didn’t I always provide? Yes.  Do you think I would be so cruel as to fail you?  No.  God is not like us.  We are to be like Him.  The hard and harsh reality is the trust associated with the simple act of breathing and the simple words, “Your ways are not mine, neither are your thoughts.”  He knows what we do not.  He sees what we do not.  He understands what we do not.  Therefore, who is He that we are not?  He simply Is.  We, quite simply, are not.

Preparation.  Like my favorite car or your dream house, it is not cheap.  There is a great cost.  Nor for that matter, it is optional.  It is standard.  It is a must.  Not only is it a requirement, it is a “pre”-requirement.  Life can not be “winged”.  And I’m just now realizing the profoundness of this morning’s commute.  I was listening John Maxwell on leadership.  He said that once or twice, perhaps, you might be able to fool a few.  But around the third or fourth time, eventually people will find out that you are not ready.  He was talking about the value of a leader’s time.  The principle was that you should perform 10 minutes of prep for every 1 minute of time that you will have with your leader.  Using Bill Gates as a man whose time is extremely valuable, you would not want to waste it by not being prepared for the few brief and precious moments you would have an audience with him.  In life and in our faith, so is this principle true.

Life cannot be “winged”.  Neither for that matter, can faith.  Nor marriage.  Nor family, friends or finances.  Certainly not your career.  Unfortunately, so many even try to “wing” their time with God.  Wow.  If only we were prepared for our time with God, as those who desire an audience with people such as Bill Gates.

The ability to advance and move forward is only hindered or progressed by your level of preparedness.  If you are not ready, you will wait.   If you are ready, you will be released.  Take advantage of the waiting.  It is the refining and the perfecting moments that will make you ready to be released.  The word will come:  “Go.”   Your earnest reply, after a deep breath of course:  “Good.  And Thank You.”

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