Cooking a turkey has the potential to be a dance with disaster. I know this to be true, based in years of practice & research. But this year is likely to be different, probably. I say this because of not only years of practice & failures but also because of preparation.
I’m learning that I can avoid lots of disasters with a little bit of preparation. For example, Gideon in the book of Judges, avoided various disasters because he walked a path of preparation with God. Seems to me that God primed Gideon for his massive victory over the Midianites through extensive preparation: angel visitation, tearing down an altar to idolatry, fleece adventures, people screening & even eavesdropping.
I may not always enjoy the preparation process but I certainly like the outcomes better than the results of poor preparation. Let’s be careful not to belittle the process of preparation 🙂
When my kids were very little, they trained me to get better at being prepared. Truth be known, I’ll often get super excited about something & throw preparation out the window for the sheer pleasure of adventure – but with babies & toddlers, this strategy backfires more often than not. A mom with babies & toddlers has to be prepared for all kinds of unexpected twists, most of which you probably don’t want to read about ,)
So my kids have helped me with that whole being prepared concept, mostly.
When it comes to Jesus, it’s also important to be prepared and here are a few helpful thoughts on what that might look like. Be prepared:
to love well – far beyond your natural limits, letting the love of God be poured out in your heart through the work of the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:5)
to give an answer for your faith & belief in Jesus – be that through rationale apologetic defense, philosophical rigor, miracles (1 Cor 2), prayer and / or personal experience (1 Pet 3:15)
to surrender to God’s plans & priorities – Jesus modelled the surrendered life with the Gethsemane prayer, “Not My will but Yours be done.”
to resist temptation – Jesus overcame the devil’s temptations in Matthew 4 & Paul encourages us that God always provides a way of escape in temptations (1 Cor 10:13)
I’m laughing as I write this blog because I might possibly be the least prepared person you’ll ever meet. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found some definite disadvantages to the “leap before you look” approach, having gotten myself into all sorts of challenging situations, especially when you consider all of the variables that can go with any kind of international travel. With all that being said, I’m becoming an ever increasing advocate of being prepared & this also applies to the area of my connection with God.
In my experience, I know that God is altogether gracious with me & far exceeds any of my best efforts & I’m crazy grateful for God’s grace to me everyday! While I totally appreciate God’s grace, I’ve also come to the conclusion that my relationship with God seems to have more depth, gravity and fullness when I maintain a few preparation things:
go to bed early so I can get up early & spend time with God
talk with God throughout the day – more inclusion & less exclusion / isolation
understand that God’s connection with me spans the entire spectrum of uber shallow to depths of which I have yet to explore
fresh forgiveness – super important to keep a clean heart
unified prioritites: seeing all of the various responsibilities that I have within the context of God using them to improve & enhance my relationship with God 🙂
have a prepared mindset that God can do any thing at any time 🙂
In about 2 weeks, we will host a party at our house to thank all of the volunteers at our church for their incredible service & help throughout the past year. So this is a really important party & as such, we make a REALLY MASSIVE effort to be sure that our house is nice, the food is tasty & that we do our best to ensure that everyone feels welcome & appreciated. To that end, we begin our preparation early because it takes a good quantity of work.
Getting ready for this party has caused me to think about what it means to get my heart ready for Jesus’ birth during this holiday season. This kind of makes me think about what it says in Is 40:1-5 about getting ready for Jesus’ arrival. Isaiah talks about 4 things to get ready for Jesus: bring up the low places, bring down the high places, make straight what has been crooked & smooth out the rough spots. So over the next few weeks I’m planning to blog about these items to explore what they can mean & look like in our practical living. Be sure to come along for the ride & watch for Getting Ready #2!!