2016 has let me in on the biggest secret of life: I now know how to be prepared for anything.
I’m a Planner. (No shock, I know.) I like to plan and prepare and organize… and control. Sure, I claim to know I’m not in control, but my actions tell a different story.
I’m also a mom, so everything I seek to do is based around a central theme of comfort and convenience. Is it safe? Is it a good decision for us? Will it meet our needs? Will it bring stability? “I just want to make wise decisions,” I say, but ultimately it really doesn’t matter if I have answers to those questions or not. My wisdom only affects so much.
Life has a way of happening, regardless.
I can plan and prepare and save, but in the end my efforts have zero control over what happens. Yes, my preparations may ease a few tensions along the way, but they will not stop those tensions from arising. Life will still happen.
Unforeseen events are just that– Unforeseen. Even if I’m the world’s greatest planner or prepper, I have no way of knowing exactly what to plan or prep for.
A hardworking, active daddy could fall asleep peacefully and not wake up. A healthy young husband could have a life-threatening heart attack relaxing in his recliner. An honest businessman could show up for his secure job only to be told it’s no longer his. Life insurance policies can fall through. Unknown taxes can arise. Successful businesses can take a deadly downward turn.
No warnings. No prepping. No control. This life is not ours.
I know I sound like Negative Nancy but that’s truly not my intent. Just learning to accept my newfound freedom. I’m finally free from keeping all the balls in the air because I finally see that I can’t, even if I try! And when I insist on planning and fretting for control, I’m only torturing myself.
I’m done torturing myself.
God gets to be God. He alone sees the parade simultaneously from all vantage points: He’s at the start, while watching from the sidewalk midway through, while standing at the end and hovering above in a helicopter. He sees every float from every view in real time. I can only see what passes in front of me as I look through a tiny hole in the fence.
And that’s all I need to see. It’s all I really want to see. Life as it unfolds. I don’t need to have all the answers and solutions in place because He does. I don’t have to worry how I will handle “X” situation because it may never happen anyway. And if it does, I now know He will give me the strength and wisdom and answers and provision I need when I need them. Not before.
Therein lies the secret.
There is only thing I have to do in order to be prepared for anything: I must be faithful to Jesus. And not just on Sundays. I have to actually read His words–daily. I have to talk to Him every day–really talk to Him. And I have to listen for Him every day–like, actually focus on hearing from Him. Then I have to love Him by showing love to others–I have to live it. I have to put my efforts into Him, not my earthly work and planning.
Time with Jesus is the only preparation for whatever life will throw at me and here’s why:
I may not know what tomorrow holds, but I know Who holds tomorrow.
If I know Him, I know His presence. If I know His presence, I know His peace. I know His power and position of authority to help me.
And ironically, I am the only one who controls how well I know Him.
So, 2016 has taught me to throw in the towel when it comes to controlling my circumstances and outcomes. I’ll spend my time instead throwing myself into Jesus’ presence, waiting for His strength, resting in His provision and enjoying His peace.
And He will prepare me for the Parade of 2017.
“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.”
2 Corinthians 4:7 NLT
P.S. Momma has long known this secret and has kept this saying on display for as long as I can remember. Wish I could’ve gotten its message sooner.